Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Orville that ends well

Maybe I’ve got a heart of congealed kitty-litter, but I really can’t find it in me to get offended by the news that Dutch artist Bart Jansen has turned his late cat into a remote-controlled helicopter. It’s not as if Jansen slaughtered Orville for the purpose: the luckless moggy was hit by a car. And the artist actually knew and loved Orville when he was alive, which distinguishes the relationship from that between Damien Hirst and the various anonymous beasts that he’s dismembered and pickled over the years. Orville loved watching birds and that’s why his friend decided this was a good way to commemorate him. I find the whole thing quite touching, to be honest.

I seem to be in a minority though, as Jansen puts himself on a collision course with three quintessentially modern attitudes: squeamishness about death; sentimentality about animals; and disdain for the supposed excesses of contemporary art. But art has always concerned itself with death; think of the countless Crucifixions and Pietà in galleries around the world. And all art has been modern at some point, and most of it has annoyed someone at some point. Furthermore, if you’re really concerned about the sacred dignity of animals, take a look at this:

In Japan, meanwhile, artists have to push a little harder if they want people’s shock bulbs to light up, as we see in the case of Mao Sugiyama, who served up his own genitals (with Italian parsley and button mushrooms) to five lucky diners in a Tokyo restaurant last month. Which makes poor old Orville seem positively earthbound.


Rog said...

Must get one of those pirate suits!

Are you sure you didn't mix up Mao Sugiyama with Nick Clegg?

Unknown said...

Quite wonderful - I think..