TERM 1 WEEK 5
The challenging of institutions within the art world
“Artworks are designed to challenge institutions and test the limits of tolerance,” (John A Walker) as they challenge the historical context of traditional institutions, such as conventions, government and religious views, by viewing works. Through the post-modern frame (examining how artists and artworks challenge traditional bounds and rules, and conventions in art including concepts of originality and authenticity), artists in contemporary societies have started to use non-conventional, appropriated techniques to create new meaning within their works- shocking audiences and challenging institutional tolerance, ‘limits of tolerance’ (John A Walker) often being assessed through audiences reaction, censorship and the banning of exhibitions. The Sensation Exhibition is a collection by Charles Saatchi opened in 1997 to attempt to define a generation of artists, shocking the world with their controversial themes and medias. Three works within this exhibition that challenge the institution and tested the boundaries of their tolerance were The Holy Virgin Mary (1996) by Chris Ofili which explores the hypocrisy of Catholicism, The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Something Living (1991) by Damien Hirst which deals with the cycle of life and death and My Bed (1999) by Tracey Emin which explores the most brutal times in Emin’s life. Each of these works tests the boundaries of tolerance for institutional galleries, religion, society and morality, challenging and confronting the way they are viewed within each institution.
The Sensation Exhibition, lead to an up roar by members of society, including aspects of the art world Chris Ofili’s, The Holy Virgin Mary was a leading cause of controversy in the Sensation Exhibition due to the potent mixture of themes such as purity, pornography and excrement. On two lumps of dried, varnished elephant dung, sits Ofili’s work of an...
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