Introduction to Fine Art pathway

For the introduction to part 2 of my course I had to find two articles to annotate. In artforum magazine I came across an article by Charlotte Birnbaum on Mary Ann Caws’s ‘Modern Art Cookbook’ and ‘Scene of Production’, an article by Rhea Anastas on a piece by Andrea Fraser. The one I was most interested by was the article on ‘Untitled’ by Andrea Fraser, this piece, as I gathered from the article, has all the connotations of prostitution, but is considered art because that is what the artist has labelled it as. This reminded me of Marcel Duchamp’s work, where he took everyday objects and put them into a gallery space, therefore dictating that they were art. In this case, Fraser labels a video of her having sex with a man commissioning the video itself as ‘art’, directly linking to Duchamp’s statement ‘I am an artist so everything I do is art.’ I feel that Fraser is just trying to shock the audience, but as modern day viewers, who are constantly exposed to sexualised images for the sake of advertisement, I no longer think we can be shocked by this. I don’t think this piece of art is particularly necessary for our culture as all it does is normalise a taboo subject, but I don’t feel that we need to adapt when we are already immune. These ideas of creating shocking art using sexual imagery lead me to look at an article from the guardian titled; ‘Oedipal exposure: Leigh Ledare’s photographs of his mother having sex.’ This article has assembled a number of provocative photographs of mother in his series ‘Pretend You’re Actually Alive.’ Unlike Frasers lack of title this heading gives the piece much more meaning already, it gives the viewer an instant narrative of possibly a lonely woman trying to find comfort in sexual relations with much younger strangers, and this is exactly what the pictures depict.Image

This particular image that I have included feels rather uncomfortable, the young boy sleeping completely unconnected to the remorseful face of his older momentary lover. I feel that this image captures the reflection of his mother, the moments afterward when she asks herself ‘is this actually making me alive?’ Ledare is described as ‘soft spoken’ which somehow makes his work more uncomfortable and taboo, especially when you see the names of his photographs such as ‘Mom fucking in mirror’. I find this piece rather hard to understand or face, and I just feel that although Ledare has been successful in pushing new boundaries within art, there is a reason why these boundaries have never been touched before.