The art world is often associated with being shocking or using shock value to get ones work across and recognized. Also shock value is not all naked body parts and sexual acts of debauchery sometimes it’s just words or even the shear look of something.
So how long has shocking been around? Well since the beginning of time really….. Where do we begin? Lets not go all way back, how about we start with the Victorians. They for one had an air of being tight lipped and conservative on the surface but lets not forget they came up with idea of ginger not being used in cooking (Google it) they also electrified the dildo, watch the movie Hysteria. Then there is Van Gogh who although not exactly shocking work he’s often associated with the shocking act of cutting off his ear. This of course later turned out to be just the lobe, but still shocking all the same.
As time progressed we come up the seventies and the era of punk music, my favorite being the Sex Pistols; a band that definitely shocked and discovered my Malcolm McLaren who also discovered Boy George of the Culture Club. This now brings us up today and social media the era of the many mini Andy Warhol’s as we’re all seeking our very own fifteen minutes, this photographer included. This past summer I was on Facebook and a friend of mine who I associate with being a bit of a “Southern Lady” and that if she was born a hundred years ago I see her saying “I do declare” had posted she was out with her “S.L.U.T.’s”. This of course caught me completely off guard but this group of southern ladies had come up with an acronym for their nights out at the cocktail lounge. So what did this acronym mean? Southern Ladies Unwinding Together, somewhat shocking but also easily explained.
So why do we do this? I have no idea…… It does however get you noticed and gets people talking about what it is you’re doing. I for one do like to shock I like the reaction it gets on peoples faces as they look at my work. I was once told that maybe I do it because of things that have happened in my life that shocked me so all I’m doing is shocking people back.
So the next time you’re shocked by something in the art world enjoy the moment after all it’s your choice to either be offended or understand the message behind it. I say and it has me thinking of those Victorians who were just really being human and living life to the fullest, all be it with a small serving of kink.