On Art and Excrement
Destroy, create. Consume, produce. Eat, defecate. In this culture where we continually feed off our environment, who is hungrier than the starving artist?
The artist’s jaws bite, chew and break down the world, tasting and interpreting culture with sensitive palettes. In an act of cannibalism, the artist devours art, subsequently producing new art through digestive processes. Taking form through the bowels of imagination, fresh art is cast upon the world in a creative discharge. The inside comes out.
Like defecation, creating art has been a persistent human process. Art stains a space and time in celebration of human will and in affirmation of human existence: I lived! I shat! Art shapes in relation to our culture and what we ingest.
All art is shit. Great art clogs the toilet, bursts the plumbing, and flows free from the sanitation system. Art must not be kept enclosed in the private domain of a lavatory. Swing open the stall door! Fling art upon the world in steaming piles of human expression!
Art stinks up the room, rouses the senses, stimulates and inspires. Art turns noses and attracts flies. Beauty and art are not synonymous!
Shit is shocking. Poo is taboo. A history of bringing the restroom into the gallery reeks with controversy. Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain (a urinal turned on its side) was “misplaced” at an avante-garde art show in 1917. In 1961 Piero Manzoni sold his canned feces as art. Three years later artist Robert Arneson’s John with Art was removed from an exhibition. In 1996 a showing of Chris Ofili’s The Holy Virgin Mary provoked former NYC mayor Rudolph Giuliani to threaten withdrawing funds to the art museum because Ofili’s collage included elephant dung as a medium.
The coprophobic ignoramus who tries to sterilize art only fertilizes its growth. Let us not flush offensive art without first taking a long whiff. Fear not the body and its excretions!
Dig beneath the crusted surface of our culture to expose the rich, active under-layers. Consider what we are spoon-fed; what we passively consume. We must carefully recognize and deconstruct what we ingest so, in the future, we do not suffer from cultural constipation.