controversies in the art world
N.B: SOME OF THE WORKS LISTED BELOW ARE OF EXPLICIT NATURE AND MAY BE OFFENSIVE TO SOME VIEWERS!
Olympia- Édouard Manet
When this piece was exhibited in the Salon of France in 1885, it was being considered very provocative in the way the woman was being presented. The public criticized the woman's gaze which gave a prostitution representation and also the very rough brushstrokes which were too vulgar for that era.
Les Demoiselles d’Avignon- Pablo Picasso
This painting shows five prostitutes. Art critics at the time found the painting to be ugly, flat and the geometric figures made the women to be a bit unflattering.
The Guitar Lesson- Balthasar Klossowski de Rola
This painting caused controversy the way the older woman positioned the young girl on her lap like a guitar, one hand pulling her hair and the other next to her exposed genitals.
the holy virgin mary- chris ofili
The Holy Virgin Mary, shows a Black Madonna in the center with pornographic images representing butterflies flying around her and also resin coated elephant feces which were used as a support at the bottom. The painting had to be shielded with a Plexiglas screen even though it was vandalized in December 16th 1999 by Dennis Heiner whom painted over the canvas with while paint.
my bed- tracey emin
Tracey Emin exhibited her personal bed along with other objects; condoms, vodka bottles, stained sheets, menstrual stained underwear and other provocative objects. This bed was representing a sort of confessional of the "Bad Girl" and some critics even stated that Tracey Emin was showing her "sluttish personality".
piss christ- andres serrano
The work above is a photograph, it consists of a photograph of a plastic crucifix placed into a cup full of the artist's urine. “At the time I made Piss Christ, I wasn’t trying to get anything across,” Serrano told the Guardian in 2012. “In hindsight, I’d say Piss Christ is a reflection of my work, not only as an artist, but as a Christian.”
do women have to be naked to get into the met. museum?- guerrilla girls
The Guerrilla Girls are an anonymous group of female artists established in 1984 after the "Painting and Sculpture Survey" at the MOMA in New York stated that there were only 13 women out of 169 artists. This poster is representing the lack of women in the art world.
la nona ora- Maurizio Cattelan
The exhibit above one can see Pope John Paul II being hit my a meteorite and it was considered as a very sacrilegious act towards Christianity and God. The artwork was vandalized in the Zacheta Gallery in Poland.
gone: an historical romance of a civil war as it occurred b'tween the dusky thighs of one young negress and her heart- kara walker
The work above represents the rape and savage life during the American Civil War, the paper silhouette was found to be very shocking and violent to the public.
fountain- marcel duchamp
The urinal that was produced by J.L. Mott Iron Works was then taken by Duchamp, on it he wrote a pseudonym name "R. Mutt 1917" and named the work Fountain. Marcel Duchamp once stated in a 1964 interview in the "Paris-Express"; “I was drawing people’s attention to the fact that art is a mirage. A mirage, exactly like an oasis appears in the desert. It is very beautiful until, of course, you are dying of thirst. But you don’t die in the field of art. The mirage is solid.”
artist's shit- Piero Manzoni
This can makes part of other 90 cans with pieces of the artist's feces. No one knows what the real contents inside are, if they are real feces or plaster but one will never know since opening the can would be ruining the artwork.
dinner party- Judy Chicago
Every plate on this triangular table represents the women's genitalia according to some critics. The artist wanted to give it a crafty appearance but this piece was considered as bad art and poor.
self- marc quinn
The above bust was made out of approximately 4.25 liters of Marc Quinn's blood. His work was always considered as spine-chilling gruesome and disgusting but he still remains one of the best sculptor and bestseller worldwide.
the long awaited- Patricia Piccinini
Piccinini's work was always considered as hyper-realistic and provocative. The work above represents the arising issues of biotechnology and genetic engineering.
The Origin of the World- Gustave Courbet
This painting was produced as a protest by the artist against the Academy which trained students to draw the statues with an ideal and camouflaged bodies but he said that he painted what he saw. Other recent controversies took place in the 21st century, any Facebook account or pages that had this painting was disabled.
Joe, NYC- Robert Mapplethorpe
The photograph above formed part of another 150 photographs in the 1989 exhibition by Robert Mapplethorpe. The controversy took over the nation mainly for the scandalous, pornographic and sexual nature which made it a big issue to censor the work.
Erased de Kooning– Robert Rauschenberg
This work is an erased artwork of Willem de Kooning but Raushenberg being part of the Dada movement (which already made one controversial) claimed that he had been experimenting on erasing his work long before he stumbled on the idea on erasing another person's work which brought up the question; whose art it belonged to now.
The Rape– René Magritte
This painting metaphorically and in the Surrealist style shows the controversy of how men can see women through their eyes which at the time were only interested at how the women look physically.
The Enigma of William Tell- Salvador Dali
This painting represents Vladimir Linen which back then was a Russian Communist Revolutionary, Politician and a Political Theorist. Andre Breton wanted to destroy Dali's work because he felt that he was shaming the Marxists Surrealists but some say that Andre Breton was jealous of Dali's reputation and art.
The Gross Clinic- Thomas Eakins
Thomas Eakins was always considered as a controversial artist but this work shows a lot of controversy mainly how the patient's figure is placed horridly which till this very day no one knows the gender of the patient, also the woman crying on the left side creates more pain to the painting.
The Nude Maja- Francisco Goya
The main controversy for this painting was because of the way the woman was being exposed and it had been rejected by the Spanish Inquisition in 1850. In 1930 two stamps showing "The Nude Maya" were produced and then passed to the Spanish Postal Authorities whom approved these two stamps and published them but when the stamps reached the US government they were barred and sent back to the sender since it was the first time that a postal stamp had a nude figure.
The Trench warfare- Otto Dix
The artist was a German soldier in World War I and after he was wounded he decided to paint his nightmares he had of war. The war paintings he produced were all burned since they were considered too macabre and when the Nazi's took over Germany in WWII, he was banned to produce any offensive paintings.
Sick Bacchus- Caravaggio
This work shows the Greek god Bacchus which is the symbol of sexual liberation in Greek mythology, with a pale face and blue lips representing the disease Syphilis. Caravaggio was representing himself by painting Bacchus since he himself was suffering from Syphilis because of his multiple affairs he had and this is what made the work controversial since he was comparing himself to a god.
Rokeby Venus- Diego Velazquez
Nude paintings were rare during the 1600s but not a lot of controversy was brought us until the 20th century when the painting was attacked violently by Mary Richardson. When asked why she did this act, in March 10th 1914 she stated that she was provoked by the arrest of her partner but that statement later changed completely in 1952 when she stated that she hated how the men visitors gazed at it all day long which clearly showed feminism towards the female nude.
mattress performance, carry that weight- Emma Sulkowicz
This work started off as her thesis project which was a very challenging performance of her having to carry a 23 kg mattress around the New York City's Columbia Campus continuously. She had stated that she would stop this project until her alleged rapist was expelled from the university, he wasn't expelled therefore she also carried the mattress onstage during her graduation ceremony in 2015.
everyone i have ever slept with- tracey emin
This work was considered very misleading from the title, this tent held 102 names of all the people she slept with. Tracey Emin once said, "Some I’d had a shag with in bed or against a wall. Some I had just slept with, like my grandma. I used to lay in her bed and hold her hand. We used to listen to the radio together and nod off to sleep. You don’t do that with someone you don’t love and don’t care about.” This work no longer exists due to an East London warehouse fire which destroyed everything.
artnet News. 2016. The 10 Most Controversial Art Projects of the Last Century. [ONLINE] Available at:https://news.artnet.com/exhibitions/top-10-controversial-art-projects-563213. [Accessed 22 October 2016].
Top 10 outstanding List. 2016. Top 10 controversial paintings in Art History. [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.elist10.com/top-10-controversial-paintings-art-history/. [Accessed 22 October 2016].
TheRichest. 2016. 10 Most Controversial Pieces of Art - TheRichest. [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.therichest.com/rich-list/most-shocking/10-most-controversial-pieces-of-art/. [Accessed 22 October 2016].
Curiator. 2016. Ten of History's Most Controversial Artworks - Curiator Curatorial. [ONLINE] Available at:http://curiator.com/curatorials/lfkx. [Accessed 22 October 2016].
The White Cube Diaries. 2016. Shock Factor: Controversial art throughout history | The White Cube Diaries. [ONLINE] Available at: https://whitecubediaries.wordpress.com/2013/03/09/shock-factor-controversial-art-throughout-history/. [Accessed 22 October 2016].
Michael Owens. 2016. Five of the Most Controversial Paintings of all Time - Michael Owens. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.michaeloart.com/five-of-the-most-controversial-paintings-of-all-time/. [Accessed 22 October 2016].