Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Kill All Degenerate Art!

Andres Serrano "A History of Sex (The Kiss)"
Andres Serrano • A History of Sex (The Kiss) • 1996 • Cibachrome, c. 60 x 49 in. reports on the New York Times story of vandals attacking an exhibition of Andres Serrano’s work in Sweden:
    Carol Vogel reports that last Friday afternoon, four vandals wearing black masks stormed the Kulturen Gallery in Lund, Sweden, smashing photographs by Andres Serrano with crowbars and axes while shouting in Swedish, “We don’t support this shit.” A grainy video of the incident set to the strain of thundering death-metal music was posted on YouTube Friday night. The bumpy video, evidently shot with a handheld camera by someone who ran into the gallery with the attackers, intersperses images of the Serrano photographs with lettered commentary in Swedish like “This is art?” before showing the vandals at work. No guards were on duty in the gallery, said Viveca Ohlsson, the show’s curator, although security videos captured much of the incident. By the time the masked men had finished, half the show—seven fifty-by-sixty-inch photographs, worth some two hundred thousand dollars over all—had been destroyed. The men left behind leaflets reading, “Against decadence and for a healthier culture.” The fliers listed no name or organization.
The works on view were from Serrano’s 1997 series History of Sex. The theme of copulation has been the subject of the museum in Lund’s programming for the past year. Various news sources report that the video describes the attackers as “National Socialists” which was the name of Adolph Hitler’s party. In fact the word “Nazi” derives from the first two syllables of Nationalsozialisten (according to Wikipedia). Reports also note the police suspect the attackers are tied to a local Neo Nazi gang. National Socialism is one brand of Nazism alive and well around the world today. Including the U.S.

Nationalists Action Against Degenerate Art
Screen capture of the video on YouTube. Wow, 5 stars. The video was promptly removed by YouTube administrators.

Art or Idiocy? looked into this, and one person who approves and endorses such action is WRFlorida, a White Power Youtube poster who put up the video earlier this week with the title “Nationalists Action Against Degenerate ‘Art’” and explicitly noted Serrano’s ethnicity. "Degenerate Art," or "Entartete Kunst" is a Nazi-era phrase used to describe pretty much any art that wasn’t strictly romantic figurative and realistic. After all Hitler was first a failed academy artist. We also must remember the recent faux pas of Cardinal Joachim Meisner, Archbishop of Cologne using the phrase to decry contemporary art. His press office later apologized for the “mix up” but is there much difference between calling art degenerate because it does not glorify religion and calling it degenerate because it does not glorify a national identity? Basically attitudes about art and culture from a dark time in human history are still held the world over.

Andres Serrano • Klansman (Great Titan of The Invisible Empire VII) • 1992 • 152 x 115 cm • Edition of 4
Courtesy : Andres Serrano and Yvon Lambert

Other videos posted on YoutTube by WRFlorida center around such right wing extremist greatest hits as The Government is Going to Take Our Guns and Freedom Away and White People are the Victims of Racist Blacks. This would be funny if these weren’t beliefs held by people who also own guns and “...will live by the United States Constitution till the day I die. They will not get my guns while I am alive to protect them and myself.” (comment posted on Youtube.)

Screen shot of the attack from Boing Boing

Most odd is the link on WRFlorida’s YouTube page to a site for a 2 hour internet documentary movie titled Zeitgeist. Which sets out to debunk Christianity as merely aping other pagan gods, unveil who the real 911 terrorists are, and reveal the plans of the New World Order to rule the Earth through one megabank and giant nation-state. This movie, which was officially released this summer on Google Video, as if that counts as any sort of official release of anything, has gotten a lot of buzz. Indeed, you could even say it has tapped into the zeitgeist. Anyway, it got enough random momentum that Boing had an expert review it. It is fucking weird, and totally catchy, so much so that you find it hard to pull yourself away. Like The Da Vinci Code, Zeitgeist has a lot of shocking “revelations” that really aren’t that new or profound. Or are selectively edited to further the agenda of the film. In fact, the idea of a group of mega elite people planning to overthrow the world’s governments and start The New World Order is so mainstream that there is a song by Ministry of that title, and in the late 90s the WWF had a gang of characters who were members of the N.W.O., kind of like Cobra on G.I. Joe, or the Decepticons on Transformers.

> If you don't have an login, you probably can't read this
> Boing Boing's Review of Zeitgeist
> Story on Cardinal Joachim Meisner's comment
> You know you want to see Zeitgeist

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

excellent post. this is what art is all about.