When it comes to art, I am not a fan of cheap shocks. Or cheap socks either, for that matter. There is no excuse for poor quality footwear. Neither is there any excuse for art that has no purpose aside from upsetting people. That doesn’t mean I am against any art that contains shocking content. I just prefer it to have a good reason for including that content. For the most part, there seems to be three different categories of art that contains shocking or taboo elements:
- Art that is trying to challenge its audience, or raise questions about important issues.
- Art that just happens to be shocking.
- Art whose only purpose is to shock/disturb its audience.
I have no problem with the first two, as long as they are done well. The third, on the other hand, is something that I cannot stand. It’s juvenile, offensive and just not nice. If type three was a person, it would be the kind of obnoxious douche who shouts all the time, even though they don’t have anything interesting to say. Anyone can provoke. That part is easy- which is probably the reason why so many people try to do it.
Art should not be a victim of censorship, and artists should be allowed to express themselves. But artists are people, and they have to follow the same rules that everybody else has to. First of all, there’s common courtesy and basic decency. While an individual might be allowed to speak their mind, that does not mean they have the right to go up to someone else and start insulting them. The same can be applied to art. If a work of art is deliberately offensive just for the sheer sake of it, that’s not edgy or ground-breaking, it’s just rude. Secondly, being an artist is a job. If you have a job, you’re expected to put some effort into it. An artist without a strong work ethic doesn’t deserve much respect.
Of course, the hilarious thing about most of these so-called shock artists is that they aren’t actually that shocking. Nasty and disgusting, yes, but shocking? They’re too culturally illiterate to generate any long-lasting reaction from their audience. They strive to be progressive, mostly unaware that it’s all been done before, most of the time by people a lot smarter and way more talented than them. Shock art has no subtlety to it, and zero maturity. If you want to be treated as a serious, adult artist then act like one. Shock art is only for self-obsessed teenagers with a bad taste in clothing.