Art should be controversial; it should divide opinion and stimulate discussion. The works discussed in this article have all certainly been the cause of debate. But are they art? You decide.
A banana duct taped to a wall by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan managed to cause so much commotion amongst collectors and buyers at Art Basel Miami that he sold it for a staggering $120,000. A second edition sold for the same amount. A third edition seemed like a good idea, and the price was raised to $150,000 and donated to a museum. Each was called ‘comedian’… someone’s certainly laughing!
Then there’s Jens Haaning’s who decided to deliver two empty frames as works of art whilst pocketing Kunsten Museum’s €70,000+ loan splitting opinion on the ethics of it, and whether it met what we think of as art. The money was provided by the museum to be part of his artwork, but Jens decided to keep the money and call his work ‘Take the money and run’ explaining that returning the money is “not going to happen. The work is that I have taken their money.” It’s hard to imagine, but this surely has less of a visual impact than the bananas.
Then there’s the Turner prize winner Tracey Emin with my bed which the general public voted with an emphatic no… but the critics obviously loved it, and the Turner prize nominee Anthea Hamilton who produced “Project for a door”, a very large pair of buttocks for us all to enjoy, and walk through.
Perhaps it’s rather fitting to end on Marcel Duchamp’s ‘Fountain’ which being a urinal, quite literally was a piece fit for a toilet.
All have been termed “art” so therefore it must be fair to say that the meaning is boundless, and as long as it appeals to someone, then who can really judge it as otherwise?