Shrigley's "offending" bin Laden image

On May 31, artist David Shrigley tweeted that his gallery, Stephen Friedman, had vetoed the inclusion of a painting at Basel "for fear of offending Americans." Featuring an image of Osama bin Laden, it included the words, "He believed that he was doing the right thing." While Shrigley noted that he didn't "think they would've minded," the tweet appears to have been deleted from Twitter, although a link to it is still on the artist's Facebook page.

1 comment:

acres said...

It's quite likely it would've offended Americans, though I find this response presumptive on several levels. As an American, I have no feeling one way or the other about the painting or its incorporated caption. As a thinking individual, I have a rather more defined response.

Since we cannot know what went through bin Laden's mind, then it is clearly possible that he believed he was doing right. To state that he believed he was doing right assumes provable access to his thoughts, so you understand my rejection of such nonsense.

In any event, art is meant to provoke. Moreover, this statement itself is a rather juvenile way of doing so. Any intelligent person can see the differences I've just pointed out, so unless the artist assumes his audience to be fools or ignorant, it's clear that the statement wasn't written to stimulate debate but simply to annoy.

Such simplistic "art" should be evaluated accordingly. A friend was fond of reminding me of the difference between taste and judgment. The artist has a taste for attention. I have a taste for provocative art. If this painting is indicative of his work, we have nothing in common.