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Controversial or not?

19 July 2008 40 comments

The Biennale of Sydney

is an international festival of contemporary art, held every two years in Sydney, Australia. It is the largest and best-attended contemporary visual arts event in the country. Since 1973, the Biennale of Sydney has presented 15 critically acclaimed, popular and large-scale exhibitions featuring the work of over 1300 International and Australian artists.
The 16th Biennale of Sydney is taking place from 18 June to 7 September 2008 with leading international curator and writer Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev as Artistic Director.

Confronting but some take dead horse in their stride

Controversial art festival the Biennale of Sydney, which sparked complaints to the RSPCA and a visit from police, opened today with mixed responses from visitors.
Leon Ferrari's piece Western Christian Civilisation and Maurizio Cattelan's work titled Novecento, a stuffed horse suspended from the ceiling by leather slings, at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Revolutions: Forms That Turn
IF, DURING their Youth Week perambulations, any of the church leaders made a pit stop to see the Biennale - themed Revolutions: Forms That Turn - at the Museum of Contemporary Art, would they be peeved at Leon Ferrari's famous 1965 sculpture of Christ crucified on a US fighter jet?

Controversy hangs around Biennale poster
Police called to the Biennale of Sydney for a second time after a complaint about a poster.
Warning: chicken beheading within

THE Biennale of Sydney has amended the warning sign outside a controversial exhibition by the Australian artist Mike Parr following a request on Tuesday from police.


Essentially documentary in nature, this is an exhibition of funny, carnal, sometimes sad photographs.

Blood On The Streets (2006), by Australian photographer David Griggs.

I will be taking a break from blogging 20th July to 27th July..

Leave a comment on my last post to enter the random draw
Winner will receive 4,000 ECs
Winner to be announced 28th July
Have a great week everyone !!


40 comments: to “ Controversial or not? so far...

  • Diane 19.7.08

    Ooh, that sounds like a wonderful event. I'd love to see that.
    There will always be some artists who are or are trying to be, controversial ....and there will always be people who will get offended at innocuous (or otherwise) art. At least it sparks debate and public interest which can only be a good thing.

    If it makes people who wouldn't otherwise visit art exhibitions and galleries pitch up to see what all the fuss is about and in the process they see art that they love, then I'm fine with controversy :-)

  • Anonymous 19.7.08

    Pooh. My comment got posted before I changed the drop down menu option....My computer is a little frisky to day :)

  • fastfastlane 19.7.08

    Well I for one find the dead horse offensive, but you know what an animal lover I am :-)

    And I'm sure that there will be many that have something to say for the works of Christ strapped to a fighter plane.

    Will you be going?

  • Kim 19.7.08

    hi Diane..
    I agree...
    there seems to quite a lot of art that is out to shock this year... going on the reviews...
    haha... a frisky computer.. that's better than a slow one... :)

    I don't know if I'll get to this one...Deborah..
    I am taking a break next catch up on some painting.. :)
    thanks for the stumble review :)

  • Frantic Home Cook 20.7.08

    Offensive is relative but they're sure trying hard, aren't they?

  • Anonymous 20.7.08

    I not quite sure here but I have kind of an urge to say ( like in politics): I don't like it personally, but I will fight for your rights to express yourself as long as it is art.

    Btw: I so much remember when I was in Sidney and visited The museum of contemporary art - it was amazing .... and: coming out from the museum, we got the view of the Opera House right on the other side of the water - beautiful.

  • Unknown 20.7.08

    Well - as usual it depends on the event makers what they are looking for. The discussion about what art is and what not will not result in a final "clue" due to very subjective opinions and views of the observer. Additionally there will always be a differentiation between the professional (such as art critic, teacher, gallerist etc.) and the regular audience. As long as a definition of art per se is driven by personal opinions and views there won't be a definition really.
    The question regarding the event you are describing (besides seeing art that is "attractive") is rather how strong people are fascinated by ugly/controversial things which make them cringe rather than looking at something that is beautiful. I compare this with all the sensation seekers who'd like to see as much "blood" as possible in these times because other sensations do not touch the senses any more. Therefore I very much doubt that it is for the controversial discussion but rather the shock effect and nothing else.
    But that's only my personal opinion.

    Kim - have a great week!!!
    Greetings, Petra

  • Lynda Lehmann 20.7.08

    This post brings out the BIG question of "what is art?" While I believe in freedom of speech and creative freedom, I don't like stuff that is deigned/intended to shock. Not that art has to be beautiful in a conventional sense of the word, but uglification or irreverence for the sake of it, seems to me to be an immature kind of art. Five-year-old children try to shock or scare their siblings or once in a while, scare the heck out of mom! But that doesn't make it art. But this conversation about the nature of art has so many ramifications--more than can be addressed here.

    I was invited to the Florence Biennale by their jury committee, but didn't go because of the expense. I spoke to at least five USA artists who had attended and they all said it was a "wonderful experience," but I've read a lot of opinions that say or imply that it's mostly a gigantic money-maker for the people who run it.

    Which taps into my feelings about shock art: that there is something inherently contrived and fraudulent about art that seeks to upset the apple cart. But who am I to judge? It's just my opinion. (I'll bet it's creators will say they are trying to raise consciousness about various issues, but I think there are better ways of doing it.)

    Have a wonderful, relaxed non-blogging week, Kim!

  • Amy Lilley Designs 20.7.08

    Well, you've certainly showed me some amazing artwork from Australia, which I am certain I would never have caught a glimpse you said, controversial...a dead horse hanging, Christ on a jet...also hanging...someone just posted a video from youtube about people on their way to work, being pushed like sardines into a train by the 'train police', and I found it horrifying..I read the comments and people thought it was hysterically thoughts went other to the controversial work is everywhere...people see things w/ such different sets of eyes and hearts....

    Kim, have a FABULOUS week catching up..can't wait to see what you come up with!!!!

  • Anonymous 20.7.08

    May be this festival is to create controversies and become popular. There must be no other reason to create any art form which will then create controversies. Art is something which is soothing. It should not be used to hurt.

  • Amy Lilley Designs 21.7.08

    ps. I just wanted to say that I wasn't clear in my previous comment about the amazing and beautiful art work from, your top 10 favs, YOUR art, etc.....again, a productive and computer free week...FABULOUS!!!

  • Anonymous 21.7.08

    I get tired of people being offended by ART - I love controversial art, it makes me think and feel things I wouldn't feel otherwise.

  • John M. Mora 21.7.08

    i just try to make pictures that exult despite all the porblems this world offers us daily - I did once take a phtotograph of a dead bloated dog that I found in a junklyard where I used to phtograph rust on cars and I was amazed how upset a co-worker got when I showed it to her.

    It was not a great photo and I was not exp[loiting the dog....just a slide in a box.

    Over tiem I found it dangerous to photograph rusty cars in Quees, New York, since some might have ben stolen ....a rough guy once let me photograph in his car junk yard but said no photos of license plates....

    Hope you enjoy your days off. I should do the best.

  • Felix Noir 21.7.08

    The picture down below is kind of creepy.

  • Sherry Go Sharing 21.7.08

    this is my first time on your blog and its my first comment too. You have a good break. See ya..

  • BlueWorkhorse 21.7.08

    People are always going to try to draw attention through controversy in an attempt to get noticed by more people.

  • Anonymous 21.7.08

    is that living horse..?
    i think this one is make controversy..

  • Anonymous 21.7.08

    Art is frequently confrontational and offensive. It's hard to tell whether it's done for the sake of being confrontational and offensive or whether it's truly done for art's sake. My inner voice tends to think it's more often a call to 'look at me'.

  • Laurie Roskam 22.7.08

    This is a wonderful site! I am heading over to 101 top artists now but wanted to leave my comment to enter for the 4000 credits for Entrecard! Can't wait to see more from this site! With Gratitude, Laurie Beggin

  • Anonymous 22.7.08

    Life is matter of choice not of chance .Lord never provided them with choices so they never got the chance........hehe

  • Speedcat Hollydale 22.7.08

    Ohhh good! I could not comment here anymore with a dial up connection. Something about the way this comment form loaded.

    Chickens ..... wha???

    I am no expert, but this is just strange (curious look on Speedy's face)

    Hi KIm!! :-)

  • Anonymous 22.7.08

    Hi Kim! Oh I'm none too happy with the dead horse too, it doesn't look good! :(

    Have a good blogging break, will you be staying put or off for a mini vacation somewhere nice? :)

  • Unknown 22.7.08

    Wow, it always amazes be that people who go to appreciate art find reason to be offended. I found the pieces provactive, wish I lived over there and could have seen the show myself.

  • Shez 23.7.08

    My thinking is that "shock art" is there just for what it shock you. It's the Art of selling Art. Fantastic advertising for the event, brings in the masses!! I'm not saying the artists of these Arts are doing this, but I'm sure that the organizers, or powers that be, are aware of the value of such art for the event!!

  • Anonymous 23.7.08

    If intent is to shock then it is really not art in my opinion. A dead horse. I'm just not sure.

  • Jarret D. Morrow 23.7.08

    Hi, nice blog skin. I have the same one minus the black background which actually looks much better. Nice widgets from blogbuster too.

  • Jarret D. Morrow 23.7.08

    Not sure if my last comment posted or was submitted to you for approval. Nice customization of your blog skin. Looks like mine somewhat, only yours looks better! Nice widgets too!

  • Anonymous 23.7.08

    Hi, I just happened onto your site via entrecard. I'm going to tell my husband to visit your site. He is an artist too and I'm sure he would love browsing through your artwork.

  • jafabrit 23.7.08

    I don't like the dead horse but why is it any different that what taxidermists do. People have stuffed dead animals stuck on their walls and on pedastels. What is shocking is the context and perhaps that is the point.
    The jesus on the plane is a powerful statement to me of how people use their faith to justify war.
    Making shocking art is easy, but making art that shocks viewers into asking questions and exploring their response is not always easy.

    Anyway that is my initial response not having seen the exhibit, but having a glimpse here.

  • Anonymous 24.7.08

    I'm always amazed at what people call "art." I hope you have a great vacation. I'm going on a vacation in August, and I can NOT wait!

  • Kim 24.7.08

    hi everyone..thanks for all your fabulous comments.. :)

    I'll answer each of your comments personally when I resume blogging on the 28th July... :) :)

    ps Mariuca...I've taken a "painting" break :)

  • Anonymous 24.7.08

    Have a nice time.My best wishes.God bless you and your family.

  • Anonymous 25.7.08

    Art is meant to express oneself, and as long as the infringement, safety or health of others is not of concern, then I think a full artistic license should be granted. How is that stuffed horse any different than a stuffed deer head hanging on someone's wall? In my opinion it's not. That is, however, based on the fact, that the horse was not harmed with the intent to be an art piece. And if that is not the case, then that, perhaps, is better than the stuffed deer head hanging on the wall. The chicken beheading, however, is going a little overboard I think.

  • Anonymous 26.7.08

    There will always be some artists who are or are trying to be, controversial ....and there will always be people who will get offended at innocuous (or otherwise) art

  • Anonymous 26.7.08

    LOL! Well, enjoy ur painting break then and hopefully ul come back refreshed and ready to paint wonders again! It was nice to see ur flag in my chat box today, thanks for updating the list. :)

  • Anonymous 26.7.08

    I'm always amazed at what people call "art." I hope you have a great vacation. Have a nice time. My best wishes. God bless you and your family.

  • Unknown 27.7.08

    I really like the hijacked photo of the kids with Halloween masks. I didn't check out the chicken that is not my cup of tea.

  • Anonymous 27.7.08

    I rather like the dead horse art. I think I need a copy of that for posting on some of the forums I visit. Man, do people like to beat a dead horse at times.

  • Susan Clinkscales 27.7.08

    There will always be artists striving to be controversial. And there will always be those members of the public that find them so.

  • Anonymous 2.8.08

    yes, controversy is part of the art form. If the pic or painting can generate something other than someone looking away its good.

About The Author
Kim Barker is a Visual Artist (Diploma in Art and Graduate Diploma in Education). She is also a fully trained Reading Recovery Teacher. She has taught RAD (Royal Academy of Dancing) and Cecchetti Ballet Syllabii. Kim also manages the Top Artist' Directory and PoeARTica as well as her blog laketrees She lives with her family on the Eastern Central Coast of Australia. Follow Kim at laketrees on Twitter for updates and news