The image is a mosaic of human beings plummeting to the ground from the Twin Towers on 9-11-01.
Some folks are repulsed, others defend the work.
And it is a work. Of art. Someone assembled those images in exactly that way to evoke an emotional or intellectual reaction from you. Just because the topic is one so personal and the images so familiar, doesn't make it anything else. It's been constructed for you.
In my opinion, the artist is trying to shock and repulse us, to grind our noses in the brutality and inhumanity of the acts performed by 19 sociopaths. To not only force us to remember the day, but to experience it in the horror of the subjects' final moments.
Do I like the piece? No. I hate it.
And I'm repulsed.
Am I offended? Well, yes.
I don't care for 9-11 being repackaged as art (visual or music or theater) for public consumption. Which doesn't make it wrong. These are my feelings.
I respect the right and freedom of anyone to create the art they choose. And to display it.
I (GA) had my own personal experience producing a piece of 'art'- a political graphic, branded 'offensive' for which I was pilloried. You know what I mean.
The image I created was supposed to be repulsive as both pun and metaphor for some really bad ideas espoused by a slate of School Board candidates. Well, it was pulled out of context off this site by a rabid political partisan to damage my reputation and score a political hit, but in fact ... he put GA on the map. So to speak.
Such is the power of offensive art.
But what is offensive? And offensive to whom?
It is completely subjective.
As food for thought, here are a few pieces of art labeled 'offensive' for your viewing displeasure.
Information noted as available.
Behold an actual dying person. On the floor of an art gallery. From ArtCulture.com:
Currently, he’s seeking already-dying volunteers to lay in an art gallery, alone, in view of uneasily curious onlookers who anticipate nothing more than for the subject to take his or her last breath, so Schneider can simply capture what he calls, “the beauty in death.”
Here we have a representation of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein floating in a tank of formaldehyde. From ArtCulture.com:
David created this art with his philosophical belief in the “impossibility of death in the minds of something living.” Which only strikes one thought within me which is: is he really trying to keep Saddam alive? At any rate, Shark is a realistic depiction of that despotic dictator we all have grown to know and view in obscurity so well.
Another piece by the same artist:
A divine Angelina Jolie with her children hover over a checkout line at Walmart. I found this piece on on a blog where the blogger muses on the nature of offensive art.
What makes a work of art offensive? What causes thousands to lash out against one work of art while praising another? Are people offended for what they feel the work portrays- or are they offended because it reveals the inner workings of their own lives... their psychological fears and frailties.
Good questions. I suppose one answer does not fit all.
On the topic of religion,I found a collection of works deemed "offensive religious art" but won't post them here. Because...
OK, one more:
How do you like this table? Does it go with your decor?
Well, there are thousands of examples of so-called 'offensive' works of art available online if the subject interests you.
Now, if you ask me, "what is offensive art?" I'd answer, "I'll know it when I see it."
Though you may not agree.