On Friday, we had snow, freezing rain, hail, incredibly highspeed wind, and lots of sunshine. All of that in one day! Welcome to spring in New Brunswick? On Thursday we entered the realm of installation art, and in addition to this, controversies in art. I was especially interested in this because for a different art history class, we have to make a piece of art inspired by a movement between the 1940s and 1970s. So I’m going to spoil the surprise for any readers who go to Mount Allison. On Monday, March 21, there is going to be an installation piece on campus! It’s called “Rubbish in Bloom” and will be set up the night before (stealthily) by myself and my friend Emily-Jean. However, because Mount Allison has so many eco-conscious people, we are worried that the interpretation of our work may be negative. We are planning to clean it up afterwards, but we know that some people may initially be unimpressed.
I suppose that is a risk you have to take with your work. If you tried to ensure that everything you ever created didn’t offend people, then art would not exist. There will always be people who do not like what you have created for whatever reason. It is impossible to be universally liked. But there are some works that result in being more controversial than others. Vanitas: Flesh Dress for an Albino Anorectic by Jana Sterbak was a piece like this. I found this piece interesting because I had heard of another meat dress before this class, and it caused the same type of controversy. Lady Gaga wore a dress made of beef to the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards.
The designer of this dress (with matching shoes that look like roasts?) is Frank Fernandez. His design was called hideous and offensive by people everywhere, and Lady Gaga, who is known for her unique fashion choices was seen as finally taking her outfits one step too far. When I first saw the pictures of Gaga’s meat dress online, my initial reaction was “oh for heaven’s sake…” Because of her history of odd clothing choices, I interpreted as her just trying to shock people. However, like anything that shocks people or takes them by surprise, the reasons for Gaga’s dress were more indepth than her just trying to make a scene or try to get attention. When she went on the Ellen DeGeneres show after the awards show, she explained some of the reasons behind her choice of the meat dress. While not everyone liked the meat dress, explaining the inspiration and reasons behind it certainly helped people to at least attempt to understand the why behind this fashion choice. I wonder if Fernandez was inspired by Sterbak?