Controversial Art Essays

1814 Words Sep 8th, 2008 8 Pages

As values have changed with modern and postmodern thought, artists have set to create more shocking and confronting work to distinguish themselves from the rest. Marcel Duchamp was perhaps the first to push the boundaries with his Fountain, a urinal in an art gallery, which was voted the most influential artwork of the 20th Century by 500 artists and forced his audience to think for themselves. Many artists have followed Duchamp, but have had to go to more and more extreme measures to get noticed, hence Chris Burden's Shoot and so on. If Xiao Yu had have put his dead female fetus head in an artwork forty years ago he would have been arrested immediately.
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Thus we see Burden's Shoot in which he was shot in his left arm by an assistant from a distance of about five meters. Burden was taken to a psychiatrist after this piece. Yes, Burden was trying to confront his audience with the dichotomy of helping him or not, and thus thinking for themsleves, like Duchamp, but one must remember, that were it not for Shoot and the like, Burden would never have became who he was on the art scene. So while, Duchamp may have had pure motive, in that he wished to challenge thought, there is the chance that Burden was doing this to on one part get big.

Several of Burden's other performance pieces were considered somewhat controversial at the time: another "danger piece" was Doomed, in which Burden lay motionless in a museum gallery under a slanted sheet of glass, with a clock running nearby. Unbeknownst to the museum owners, the concept of Doomed was that Chris was prepared to remain in that position until someone from the museum staff interfered in some way with the piece. Forty-five hours later, a museum guard placed a pitcher of water next to Burden, thus ending the piece. This artworked moved like few others into the concept of audience and agency responsibility, if Burden really was willing to stay under there until someone interfered, then he may have dehydrated, starved or whatever else. This and Shoot confronted the audience to take their ethical standard if they felt obliged.

Ruan by Chinese artist

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