My thoughts on a recent art show.
[Text of the above audio. Best if read in a thick German accent.]
This weekend, I attended the rather large Armory Art Show in New York, and I found myself pondering the same question that critics and art historians have been asking for decades. Yes, it is beautiful. Yes, it hangs on the wall. But, is it a vagina?
I know, I know, it is the most subjective of questions. I assume many of you have settled on the classic answer: “I know a vagina when I see it.” But, especially in the world of contemporary art, I think it is an uncertainty that demands further study.
Anyone can look at the established, canonical artists like Egon Schiele or Georgia O’Keeffe and see that, yes, this is clearly a vagina. But, what of the work of Jeff Koons or Takashi Murakami, pieces that mix artistic technique with brazen commercialism? Are these still vaginas? (In the latter’s case, I believe it to be a mix. Some work is vaginal, while other pieces are something else completely.)
Can a pile of spilt sesame seeds be a vagina? Is a statue of Scrooge McDuck a vagina? What about a video installation of man hitting his penis with a belt? Surely, we can agree that this is a vagina.
Some of you might scoff, “Tut tut, my five-year-old can glue a triangle of shag carpet to an American flag. That doesn’t make it a vagina.” Well, I think this brings up further questions rather than easy answers. Is the scenario, itself, a sort of meta-discussion on the role of vaginas and their place in our daily lives? Can anything be a vagina when seen through the perspective of an artist?
I don’t believe we can come up with a so-called “answer,” but the topic deserves deep, penetrative analysis. Every day, we must strive to dive face-first into our basic precepts of what is and what is not a vagina.