Saturday, October 14, 2006

Beauty is Skin Deep

Andrew Krasnow's "OF THE FLESH: SKIN WORKS 1990 - 2005" will be on display on LA. His artist statement says, "Of the Flesh: Skin Works 1990 - 2005 is a survey of Andrew Krasnow's works in human skin. His interest in the political history of skin scalping, branding, Buchenwald and its use for propaganda purposes... While Krasnow's work nearly always garners controversial attention, this is not the reason the artist chooses to work in humanity's first and most basic material. In American Skin, an Installation, Andrew Krasnow has transformed the skin of white Americans into works that examine the issues of dehumanization, iconography and taboo, arranged to engage spectators in an exploration of America's political process and its fixation upon the externally manifest identity of its citizens...In recent years Krasnow has worked in private, developing highly crafted works in human skin and allowing himself to be more organic in his approach." It was linked on Boing Boing by Xeni Jardin and I agree about the squick.

I have two questions: how can an artist become more organic than using actual skin? And, where does he get it?

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ok, I'll let this one go...only 'cause it's Halloween though. Gross!

Elizabeth Prata said...

I agree, gross. It got me thinking about free speech and expression, and as a newspaper person who defended it and still defends it wholeheartedly, that free expression includes art made out of skin...too...and then I got to thinking about 'what is art' ... but then I decided just to make a cup of tea instead since I wasn't going to solve these age old problems in one afternoon of blog searching.

Anonymous said...

I assume it is tattooing and/or piercing ... ?

Elizabeth Prata said...

If you click on Andrew Krasnow's name it is a link which takes you to the artist site. The artist statement says that he 'transforms the skin of white Americans' into art. I am more than concerned with this. And more than grossed out. Art such as this puts to the test, for me, the tenet free expression and protection of same.

Anonymous said...

Yup.

Your new web page has tiny tiny type and I didnt see it was a link.

Intriguing idea. A little repulsive to imagine hanging on the living room wall, but the point of art isn't always to look good. Makes us think.
Ayuh.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, tattoos don't go so well with the couch, lol.

Jeanne said...

Here's where the skin comes from...... this is a web entry about the exhibit


leather to die for

The show of shows; the Bombdiggity of installations. This one at the Stephen Stux Gallery. Many New York galleries have installed project rooms, where they often exhibit the most avant garde work. The entrance was down a hallway and in relative darkness...

There was a raised wooden platform approximately 9' X 12'. Around the platform there was a mahogany stained railing. Above a dais supporting a Bible flew a half dozen strange leather beings. Several leather collages were on the walls. The overall impression was a surrealistic jury docket from the 1920's. The tension in the room was disconcerting. I wanted out as quickly as I entered. I left the room and bumped into a sculpture pedestal with a wallet sized effigy of a wallet made of the same leather on the walls. It wasn't quite right. I read the legend outside the door to discover that the leather was human skin and the artist Andrew Krasnow used his own skin to make his art. Suddenly a door flung open and a small man came forth holding a photographer's portfolio. He handed it to me and said, "Here. Look. Very weird." I stood there holding the book. Inside were photographs of the artist in a doctor's office having strips of skin removed from his body. I fought back nausea.

Elizabeth Prata said...

His OWN skin?! Ah. Brings new meaning to 'suffering for your art".

Thanks for the background research, frankly I was too squeamish to investigate!