Looks like we have a spicy artist of the week for week two, Ana Mendieta. It took me a while to think about what I would say about Mendieta, as art is often times subject to criticism due to it’s content. I like to keep an open mind with respect to art. When people look at Jackson Pollock’s work, they might just comment that it’s a bunch of random paint on a canvas, which it most certainly is, but it’s also highlighting how art doesn’t have to be exclusive to those with talent. Mondrian’s work is similar, and his style of work finds it’s way into a large number of contemporary work spaces as it’s unoffensive and unobtrusive.
I had a major problem with Mendieta’s work though, however, as I tried to be objective. It stemmed from mostly the topics she covered. Lets start with this piece, aptly titled Rape Scene.
Objectively, looking at this piece, it is meant to be vulgar and obtrusive. Its function is to illicit an emotional response from its viewer. I have no major concern with that in art. If art did not illicit emotion, then it wouldn’t have its wide spread influence throughout the world. My major concern is making something as serious as rape into art. Why? Why does this need to be done? People know rape is horrible, heinous, nasty, vile, and other synonyms. It does not need to be demonstrated via an artist, especially if it had not happened to the artist herself. It’s disrespectful to actual victims of rape to publicize and monetize rape.
The next work I am going to discuss is Death of a Chicken. Once again I have a hard time being objective with this piece, for similar reasons. Like the Rape Scene, the work is intentionally obtrusive, which is fine. However, I don’t agree with the way the topic was presented in this piece. Taking an animal’s life strictly for the purpose of art is not something that I can tolerate. I don’t like to talk about my view points on animals rights because, as a vegetarian, people dismiss them as though I am a lunatic, so I’ll keep it brief. If it was a dog rather than a chicken in this piece she would likely be sent to prison.
The last piece I will discuss, however, I think hits the obtrusive mark that is common in Mendieta’s work without being immoral in its representation. Tree of Life is similar to body painting, a medium unexplored during the time Mendieta was alive. Tree of Life invokes our connection to nature, as Mendieta becomes one with her medium.
My opinion of Mendieta may not be a popular one, but if I am to review artists, I have to be consistent with my moral code. I believe that I would appreciate her work more if she had not moved into certain taboo topics. Her performing those topics, however, is probably the reason she is being discussed this week.