Last year I made a series of collages using bodily fluids. One included a grainy image if a dying Colonel Qaddafi covered in semen. Yesterday I discovered the late New York artist Dash Snow did a similar piece but featuring Saddam Hussein. The idea itself might seem controversial, but its not. The confusion generated by the two components is literally the only thing the piece has to offer. I didn’t consider it a good enough idea so never published it. Today I read an article in which Snow’s piece was explicitly mentioned in a way that suggested you take his work seriously. When an artist dies - especially ones that die so young (he died aged 27) - some critics over-romanticize the body of work, as if feeling a guilt for not truly “getting it” when the artist was alive. They look for easter eggs within the work that might portend the eventual doom. A legacy is born. It’s as if they are yelling ”Here, have some enigma!”. The Saddam Hussein piece was highlighted to suggest exactly that to the reader - who is already inclined to feel solace and sympathy given the nature of the article. What is the meaning behind a cum-splattered Saddam Hussein? As an artist I am an advocate of meaningless art. It’s natural for us to seek meaning. We are are question-asking species. Seeking meaning in things is probably the only reason why religion is still so prevalent. Artistic ideas don’t have to always mean something.
Concerning the art itself, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Ideas that I consider to be not worthy for publication because they are so shit (and I have published some pretty shitty stuff) are venerated by others and emphasized to bewilder. I don’t know whether this speaks more to my standards of artistic decency or the art world’s obsession for mystifying departed brilliance.
People got butthurt (again) over something Richard Dawkins said the other day.
Essentially he said if he were a woman he would abort if given a positive screening for Down’s syndrome.
People mistakenly thought his views were targeted towards people with Down’s syndrome, they weren’t. They were targeted towards the parents ignoring rational, moralistic advice, thus choosing to bring a child into the world with severe (preventable) disabilities.
But those who were offended by that took it to mean that all people living with Down’s should have been aborted long ago. There is a massive moral difference here. Nobody is saying a child born with Down’s syndrome is incapable of being loved or is going to be only a negative influence on the people around them. And it’s perfectly natural for a parent to look out for their child’s best interests. But in the first half of a pregnancy what you have isn’t a child. It’s a set of instructions to build one, half-complete. If you knowingly dismiss preventative advice for the sake of religious fidelity you are prioritizing yourself and your own interests over the well-being of your future child.
Of course, not all women decide to abort in light of the fact that their child has a strong possibility of being Down’s (although most do). While almost all of the diehard pro-lifers are religiously motivated - some women have been trying to conceive for years and are willing to raise a Down’s child. Nobody would criticize those women for wanting to go through with a pregnancy.
This isn’t eugenic, however. Nobody selects the Down’s syndrome box when imagining their future children. What is so wrong about wanting a child without a life-determining disability?