art, Barry Humphries, comedy, cow in formaldehyde, Dame Edna Everage, Damien Hirst, humour, Mike Sivier, mikesivier, Oscar Wilde
‘Herr Gunter Ground [not his real name], aged 41, mislaid the keys to his house and attempted to crawl in through the catflap. Unfortunately he got stuck halfway, and couldn’t get out again. A passing group of students then spotted him and decided to take advantage of the poor man. So they removed his trousers, painted his buttocks bright blue and stuck a daffodil in his bum, and erected a sign saying, “Germany resurgent, an essay in street art – please give generously.”
‘Passers-by were assured that Herr Ground’s screams were all part of the act and he remained stuck there for two days. He was only freed when an old woman called the police. “I kept shouting for help,” said Herr Ground, “but people kept saying, ‘very good, very clever’ and throwing coins at me.”‘
Hasn’t art become a cynical business? The example above is a bit extreme, but it does show how people are prepared to pay for all sorts of things if they show – not necessarily any kind of aesthetic beauty that is otherwise useless (all art is useless, according to Oscar Wilde) but that the artist is clever.
Look at Damien Hirst’s ‘Cow in Formaldehyde’. Lots of people have asked whether that is really art.
However, I’m not one to miss a bandwagon if I can get on it. Noting that Barry Humphries (otherwise known as Dame Edna Everage) has stolen a huge head start on me with his painting of yellow liquid in a pair of Wellingtons – ‘Pus in Boots’ – I have set about creating some artworks of my own.
I’m very proud of one image – an enormous, panoramic view of the starscape above a darkened British horizon, showing a night sky full of colourful nebulae, shooting stars, and other astronomical phenomena, over the shadowy silhouettes of a circle of vehicles, gathered around a couple in the act of physical affection. I call it ‘Dog Star’.
The idea doesn’t have to be saucy, though. Another one I had was of a warrant officer or petty officer in charge of a ship’s rigging, anchors, cables, and deck crew, directing them during a storm, so that only his nametag was visible. I’d call that one ‘Higgs the Bos’n’.
And just recently I thought of a very postmodern idea, of a British policeman accosting the late actor whose real name was Marion Morrison: ‘Constable’s Hey, Wayne’.
There’s only one thing stopping me from putting these ideas onto canvas – the fear that some credulous ‘art connoisseurs’ might actually buy them!
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