Thursday, December 15, 2011

Anti-Artist's newest anti-art piece: Banksy Sins Again

Cardinal Sin - Banksy 2011.  Squint and see the face...
Banksy's latest controversy is entitled "Cardinal Sin."  The artist obliterated the face of some forgotten nobleman and replaced it with bathroom tiles.  There is an honored tradition of destroying art to create art.  The pinnacle of the arti-art "school" is Rauschenberg's "Erased de Kooning."  In 1953, the Port Arthur, Texas native visited his mentor's studio to ask for one of his drawings.  De Kooning recognized the symbolism of Rauschenberg's request and said to the younger artist, "I want to give you one that I'll miss... I want it to be very hard to erase."  (see Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan's "de Kooning: an American master.")  Rauschenberg accepted the offering and proceeded to meticulously erase de Kooning's drawing.

Erased de Kooning Drawing - Rauschenberg 1953
LHOOQ - Duchamp 1919
A significant difference between Banksy's "Cardinal Sin" and such works as "Erased de Kooning" and Duchamp's "LHOOQ" is the target of the artist's attack.  Rauchenberg and Duchamp (see old post regarding Pinoncelli's "comment" on the "Fountain" by Duchamp) attacked the "institution" of art; they called into question the meaning of art.  Banksy, as a third generation anti-artist, is working from within an institution of "anti-art" and has used his creation to attack a subject external to the art world.  Cardinal Sin was designed as "a response to the child abuse scandal in the Catholic church."

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