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  1. #11

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    Wait...


    Isn't that what art is supposed to be all about...what gets a response in US, the artists, first, and then the rest of the world as a happy coincidence? If it's what moves him, it's art.

    dgh

    David G Hall

  2. #12

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Jorge @ Feb 7 2003, 03:38 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> I have to disagree with this, there should be a basic respect to humanity if not for the dead people at least for the relatives still living who considered this person a valuable one in their lives.

    On another plane, Michelangelo&#39;s and DaVinici&#39;s actions were motivated by a desire to learn and know how the human body worked, lets remember that DaVinci was also what we would call today a gifted engineer. I seriously doubt that Witkin wanted to learn anything. </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    So, da Vinci and Michelangelo sneaking in to cut apart corpses showed respect? Did the desire to learn make it any less of a disrespect to the dead? Their relatives?

    You say that their actions are justified by what they accomplished. At the time they would have been killed had anybody found out what they were doing. Michelangelo created scandals by sculpting and painting nudes. His work was considered by many at the time, and for centuries later, to be obscene. The Sistine Chapel was so objectionable that later popes ordered that clothing be added to the nudes.

    While I don&#39;t condone what ANY of these people, modern or renesaince...(sorry, I never have been able to spell that word)...have done, I&#39;m not necessarily sure that I am able to judge their work fairly. It is often centuries before the full import of an artist&#39;s body of work becomes apparent. Maybe in 100 years Adams will be relegated to the dustbin while Witkin will be revered as a visionary. I can&#39;t tell that from the present.

  3. #13

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    So, da Vinci and Michelangelo sneaking in to cut apart corpses showed respect? Did the desire to learn make it any less of a disrespect to the dead? Their relatives?

    No, as I said two wrongs do not make a right.


    You say that their actions are justified by what they accomplished. At the time they would have been killed had anybody found out what they were doing. Michelangelo created scandals by sculpting and painting nudes.

    I did not say they were justifiable, only understandable. To the point they risked their lives. What did Witkin risk?...a few bucks.

    I think the motivation is different. While Michelangelo and DaVinci had a genuine curiosity, Witkin shows us the basic purient curiosity we all have when we see these parts and mishapen bodies. He tries to say he is showing us the the darker part of us, but I dont buy it. I was exposed to his work back in 96 and after the shock wore of....well I never gave the guy a second thought until now. He has been called a genious and a visionary by some, when I heard this I asked myself why? and I could not come up with an answer, what he has done is nothing more that what many people did back in the 19th century by showing "freaks" in circuses, and the reactions are exactly the same, base curiosity, shock, shame in us for being curious, and then...well people went home and forgot about it.

    Although as you said Michelangelo created scandals and the pope asked the figures to be covered, he in essence recognized the beauty of the work and did not have it removed. besides Michelangelo also produced many other pieces with great beauty which were not controversial. Witkin&#39;s work is repetitive and concerned with only one thing, to cause shock.

    As to how history will judge, well now that you have been exposed to Witkin&#39;s work, I bet the next time you hear of him you will say.."yeah I have seen his work", while if by some miracle someone found AA prints never before seen I would think you at least would be curious and want to see them, even though I am sure you have also seen his work. At least that is my reaction, someone tells me there is a new Witkin exhibition my reaction is.....so?

    As I said is one thing to keep an open mind and give those artists who push the boundaries of good taste and socitie&#39;s moral bounds their freedom and space to express their ideas through their art, it is another to condone the desecration of bodies in the name of "art" and beacuse the "masters" did it before. As I said, two wrongs do not make a right&#33;




  4. #14

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    This is one of those threads where we will never have a final answer. I can only speak for me. I believe art should NOT be controlled or regulated (usually). That would be enforced mediocrity, and it would be enforced by bureaucrats and "do-gooders" with their own personal agendas and mental hangups. I say "usually" because where do you say ENOUGH? Years ago, there were a lot of stories about "snuff" movies. I still don&#39;t know if they were true or just urban legend. So, if the guy doing that called it art, would that make it OK to commit and film a real murder? Nope. On the other hand, any "artist" should have at least a touch of common sense and respect for their subject. To me, robbing graves and buying bodies as if they were car parts from a junk yard is just wrong. I enforce "my personal law" by not buying any of it. Even if the prints were only 50 cents apiece, I would not buy any. For someone trying to deliberately offend us, while trying to make money off us, that is the kiss of death. Supply and demand. Let the market place decide.

  5. #15

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    Personally, the thing that really offends me about Witkin is the fact that he exploited a group of people to his own ends.

    The bodies he snatched were, according to him, those that had not been claimed by relatives. Therefore he concluded that they were "unwanted" and he could do as he pleased.

    In other words, if nobody claims your body, nobody would mind if it was abused a bit.

    The amount of insensitivity this shows is appalling.

    First off, the bodies were mostly taken from large city morgues. Mexico is a very poor nation. As a result many people travel to find work. It is not unusual for someone from say Chiapas to travel all the way to Sonora looking for work. Many times they will cross the border into the U.S. Where I live this is a daily reality. Every summer the desert claims dozens of immigrant lives here.

    Now, if you die while traveling, chances are your family may never know what happened to you. Unless you can be ID&#39;d effectively, they will have no idea of what happened. I am sure there are many families in Mexico who have no idea what happened to their relatives who went "norte" to look for work and never returned. It happens in the U.S. too. Morgues get the usual flow of "Does". Many are never identified. In a poor nation IDing a body is even harder.

    That does not mean these people are simply "disposable" though as Witkin thinks they are. How many of his "subjects" had families who wondered what happened to them? Witkin seems to think none did because the bodies were never claimed. A convient assumption for him.

    Add to that a total ignorance and lack of respect for local attitudes towards death and you have a heinous crime.

    I&#39;m sure Jorge can provide more illumination into this, but living near Mexico, I have become aware of Mexican attitudes towards death, They appear to be pretty different in some ways from the attitudes we see in the U.S. I have no idea of what taboos and traditions exist in Mexico regarding dead bodies specifically, but I am pretty damn sure the "do what you want with the body" attitude is not prevelant&#33; Especially when you see families making pilgimages to the grave sites of their relatives for Dios de Muertes. The amount of cultural insensitivity exhibited by Witkin is extreme. It borders on imperialism. "Well, I am an American, so I can just buy bodies down in Mexico. No harm done."

    Then, when someone buys these works, they end up reinforcing and rewarding this behavior. Why would Witkin stop when he can command thousands of dollars per image? If you reward a dog for biting the mailman, he won&#39;t stop. Same principle here. I find it disgusting that Witkin has in any way been rewarded for his ghoulish acts.
    Official Photo.net Villain
    ----------------------
    [FONT=Comic Sans MS]DaVinci never wrote an artist's statement...[/FONT]

  6. #16

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    Very well said Robert&#33; I have nothing to add to your thoughtful comment. Although I was thinking from the art point of view I failed to dig deeper into his actions as to the procurement of his "props", but you have put it very well.

    Respect for the death is a very serious matter and I think is not solely a mexican traditon. As said before if it was any of our relatives I think Witkin would not still be around to enjoy his fame.


  7. #17
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  8. #18
    lee
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    very well said Robert. I look forward to meeting in Az in a couple of weeks.

    lee&#092;c

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