Saturday, January 17, 2015

FLAG Art's DISTURBING INNOCENCE: Art or [Pre]Teen Bestiality?

I viewed the Disturbing Innocence exhibition at the The FLAG Art Foundation in Chelsea. The group exhibition was curated by artist Eric Fischl. Here's the description of the exhibit from the foundation's website:
Disturbing Innocence features over 50 historical and contemporary artists whose use of dolls, toys, mannequins, robots, and other surrogates forms a deep and powerfully expressive genre. The exhibition poses profound questions surrounding social constructs of youth, beauty, transformation, violence, sexuality, gender, identity, and loneliness. Inspired by Fischl’s own childhood in suburban Long Island, NY, and his early career as an artist working in New York City in the 1980’s, Disturbing Innocence presents a subversive and escapist world at odds with the values and pretensions of polite society.
At least three of the pieces in the exhibition are most relevant to this blog: Richard Prince's Spiritual America (1983), John Wesley's Caryn and Robin (1968), and Steve Gianakos' The Farm Had Been Rescinded Just A Month Earlier (2011). 

Richard Prince's Spiritual America (1983)

I wrote about Prince's nude photograph of 10-year-old Brooke Shields in The Allure of Nymphets. Prince's photograph of the nude pre-teen Shields was previously on display in Prince’s Spiritual America exhibit at the prestigious Guggenheim Museum. Interestingly,  Brooke’s mothers sold the photograph to Playboy Press for a whopping $450.

John Wesley's Caryn and Robin (1968)

John Wesley is a 86-year-old pop artist, and his piece shows two prepubescent girls in a lipstick lesbian erotic pose. 

Steve Gianakos' 
The Farm Had Been Rescinded Just A Month Earlier (2011)

And Gianakos is a 74-year-old artist who has other very provocative pieces of nymphets. Chris Bors of Art Voices wrote that this piece: 
"[...] depicts a girl with Kewpie doll style eyes reverse straddling a line of pigs that are eating out of a trough, while getting stimulated by one of their tails as a bird, cat and rooster look on." 
Clearly and possibly unfairly, the authorities have sided with art in the "Is it art or (child) pornography?" debate as it pertains to these pieces. 

Disturbing Innocence is on view on FLAG’s 9th and 10th floors until January 31, 2015.

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