“Police seize painting of Putin and Medvedev in women’s underwear from a gallery in St Petersburg saying that the satirical display had broken unspecified laws. Russia has a law about insulting authorities, an offence that carries a maximum one year prison sentence.“ – Daily Telegraph August 2013
Art causes many controversies, whether it is in relation to political, social or economical issues. Even in the last few years, the art world has had its fair share of stories.
Damien Hirst’s exhibition in the Tate Modern, named his most successful solo show and the most popular in the Tate’s history, was said by critics to be perfect to accompany the 2012 London Olympics. However, not all agreed with this view many complained about the lack of talent on display. It was branded ‘meaningless’, ‘repetitive’ and ‘a dismal let down.’ The exhibition included some of his most famous pieces: spot paintings, pillbox collections and the diamond encrusted skull. Living animals were also included and caused controversy as flies were left to die in one of his pieces. Although, despite this negative feedback from some, nearly half a million people visited the exhibition, showing it was a great success, even if the outcome for some was an unfavourable response.
Michael Landy’s controversial attitude to art caused turbulence when he systematically destroyed all of his possessions apart from the clothes he was wearing by putting them on a conveyor belt to be crushed to dust in 2001. His work ‘Break Down’ was intended to free himself from his physical restraints. He gave none of his possessions to charity and it seems as if the only thing he achieved was self-destruction. People were appalled that he wasted all of his things when they could have been given away to help others. Also, another factor making Landy a disputed artist is that he claimed to never have visited a gallery and is not a painter or sculptor. Despite this, he has become well known and recognised for his controversial work and therefore has succeeded in being an artist that is talked about.
Half of the excitement of art and exhibiting work is that people have different opinions on it and whilst some may find works offensive or meaningless, others may appreciate it. This makes for great discussion and, I think, if an artist has managed to get a response, of any kind, they have succeeded in creating something special.