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bad boy art

On Steve Powers' "The Waterboarding Thrill Ride" at Coney Island

Reposted from my commentary on a thread on Artworld Salon entitled "Arts of Torture?"

Are we witnessing the birth of waterboard chic? Can it be marketed as an XXX-treme sport, with designer face masks, bindings and boards? Might there be a dress code, with teams and uniforms? What would the suspected terrorist wear? or the sartorially correct interrogator? Relevant to this, a T-shirt for sale on a "humorous" conservative website has recently engendered intensely partisan commentary on The Atlantic blog. Humor, not surprisingly, retains a red state/blue state dichotomy.

On "Who's Afraid of Jasper Johns?"

A show conceived by Urs Fischer & Gavin Brown
Tony Shafrazi Gallery, 544 W. 26th Street, NYC

May 9 - July 12, 2008

A comment on a New York Magazine review of the show.

I like art that delivers a "kick in the shins", but reject the thesis that "all art stems from iconoclasm" as simplistic. The bad boy, kill-the-father strain is obvious, audacious, testosterone-induced, and rules the moment (Hirst, Koh, Lowman, Colen), but there is also something to be said for contemplation, stillness, centering and wholeness. These quieter inspirations form a basis for Minimalism, Post-Minimalism, Arte Povera and a number of other historically-labeled schools that provide fodder for contemporary praxis.

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