Friday, December 07, 2012

One Sign of Pathological Self-Absorption... when you steal ashes from a concentration camp crematorium to make paint for your art. The real kicker, though, is the response of the art gallery showing the piece:

The British newspaper reported that despite the scandal surrounding the painting, the Lund gallery owner Martin Bryder defended the decision to exhibit the work of art, telling the Polish News Agency, "Please come to the gallery, see the painting and judge for yourselves whether it's controversial."

Yes, come and give publicity and support to my art gallery by taking the trouble to see the painting partly made from murdered Jews before you judge whether it's controversial. I am not a huge advocate of these sorts of measures, but at this point I am thinking that if someone were to burn down the Lund Gallery over this they wouldn't be entirely unjustified. Then at least we could use the ashes of the gallery to make paint and tell Mr. Bryder that he should wait to see the paintings before he judges the matter. But even that just would not convey the degree of narcissism this artist and this gallery owner must have.


  1. SententiaeDeo7:17 PM

    It's narcissistic not to automatically assume that the ash from those gas chambers came from cremated humans?

  2. MrsDarwin12:06 AM

    But the artist isn't arguing that he doesn't think the ash is actually human remains. Seeing as he said that "the ashes appeared to 'contain the memories and the souls of people: People tormented and murdered by other people in the most viscous (vicious?) war of the 20th Century'", it would seem that his assumption IS that the artistic value of the ash is that it is from cremated humans. And I think that it's pretty uncontroversial to posit extreme narcissism of anyone who thinks it's his artistic right to steal anything, turn it into a work the main merit of which is that it's made from that stolen material, and then claim that it has to be seen to be rejected, especially when the stolen material is ash from a place in which only humans were burned.

  3. chuffly8:16 PM

    Here's another:

    More inane than profane though.

  4. branemrys4:32 PM

    MrsD is quite right, and has said pretty much everything I would say on the subject. I'd only add that art is an area of life in which symbolism is not a minor thing, and even at the purely symbolic level it seems to me to be a sign of narcissism.

  5. branemrys4:35 PM

    Yes, I was amused at the idea that the point of a wedding is to force family and friends to travel from all over to your party and give you gifts, and that it is unfair that one has to get married to do these things.

  6. theofloinn1:36 PM

    Or to hold that art is supposed to make personal political statements in the first place. (So much so that folks have been known to scour the art of the past looking for hidden political messages.) That's what we get for forgetting that artist comes from artisan. Now all the artists want to be transgressive intellectuals rather than artisans and so must hold up for mockery all the pieties of those with whom they already disagree.


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