It makes me tremble.
Once I realized that the art can be not only beautiful and splendid, that there are a lot of scandalous forms of art. One day I discovered art that exist not for art’s sake as it was back to the 19th century, back to the ideas of Theophile Gautier. Art can be disgusting and repulsive, terrible and detestable. And obviously nowadays this kind of art is just OK, it is trendy actually. The initial conception of art, scandals around it are just much more captivating and attractive than the piece of art itself. How come? I don’t know. We live in postmodernism era so it is supposed to be a rule. So visiting the Metropolitan Art Museum don’t surprise to see a shark in formaldehyde displayed along with more traditional forms of art such as paintings and sculptures. I have seen too much of it and nowadays nothing can surprise and shock me. Maybe ten years ago I could be astonished at Young British Artists or Charles Saatchi collection. But today I’m pretty bored and tired to see mere simulacra of postmodernism. So the Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living by Damien Hirst is nice today. I even would say that this so called art is pleasant. Why not?
Well, OK I’m cunning. There are several works that still make me tremble. So few words about one of them and about the outrageous artist who created it.
Myra (1995) by Marcus Harvey can be compared to a movie based on true events. It can be Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Jack the Ripper: terrible and beastly. The huge painting depicts zoomed face of Myra Hindley which is made of tiny infant’s hands. The style reminds Chuck Close’s works. The point is that the Myra Hindley was a serial killer who murdered innocent and helpless kids aged between 10 and 17. All these atrocities happened in the 1960s. She tortured and murdered kids along with her lover Ian Brady. Myra Harvey is supposed to be “the most evil woman in Britain” and her photograph taken after the arrest is recognized in Britain even today.
Public as well as mass media didn’t take Marcus Harvey’s painting warmly. He touched on painful and unpleasant topic of British society exploiting theme of dead kids. By the way bodies of some of them are still remaining missing.
Laterthe painting was vandalized several times by artists and by public. Strangely enough but even Myra Hidley disapproved the painting and sent a letter from prison asking her portrait was removed from the display explaining it as a “a sole disregard not only for the emotional pain and trauma that would inevitably be experienced by the families of the Moors victims but also the families of any child victim”. This request implies the notion that she had realized her guilt. Despite the several protests and Hidley’s note this painting has been exhibited around the world.
As for Myra Hidley she was sentenced to life imprisonments in 1966 and was never released despite her confessions and claims that she had changed and become absolutely different. Myra Hindley died in 2002, she was 60-years-old.