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Numb to shock-value

I went to the graduate student open day at the Royal College of Art in London recently; the reason I mention this specifically is to contextualize this experience: The RCA is a BIG-WIG university. considered one of the better institutions in England and maybe the world for studying and creating art. I witnessed a performance piece there of a naked man shitting in his own hand than smearing it on the wall. I wasn’t/am not aware of the context or message, but I can assume it was something deeper then, ahem, his butthole… I feel like this type of "shock" approach in modern art is so devalued by other artists doing it first, doing it better, or just doing it in a different context. I guess it provoked in me some thoughts about the art world, but other than that, I’m feeling very unenthralled with the current waves of popular performance art and generally numb to this type of approach. Point being to discuss the progress of modern art with respect to all the movements that have happened in the past… I feel like the performance art world is stalled. DISCUSS!

  • I have to say, Stephanie M., that I don't question whether or not this artist's performance was expressive and meaningful; as an art historian, I fully understand the well-established concept that if someone calls something "art", then it is art. Are you familiar with "Fountain" by Duchamp? Additionally, I fully reject the notion that art needs to be re-classified as a profession of the elites, or those that are "qualified", or standardized to the point where it's easily categorized and understood by everyone. Instead rather, I would agree with you on questioning whether or not this type of expression is "creative", which was my original topic, although perhaps it got muddled in my words... – ssudekum 4 months ago
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  • Is there an upper-limit to shock? Will there always be ways to be shocked or will we reach a ceiling? – jackanapes 1 month ago
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