Their bodily proportions insured that their nakedness aroused little in the way of public indignation. They were about as sexy as the Macy’s balloons, and their seemingly inflated blandness lent them the cheerful and benign look one associates with upscale folk art. The sculptures were a shade less ingratiating, a shade more dangerous than one of Walt Disney’s creations, but in no way serious enough to call for critical scrutiny. Though transparently modern, Botero’s style is admired mainly by those outside the art world. Inside the art world, critic Rosalind Krauss spoke for many of us when she dismissed Botero as “pathetic.”
The Body in Pain:
This review of Botero’s latest show fascinates me because of the critical views. I frequently wonder if the goal ultimately, in art, is to gain approval from the art world at large, or the regular populace? can you have one without the other? and if we were to choose one, which should it be?
Approval from the art world opens doors to museum collections and critical acclaim. Approval from the Common Man ™ paves the way to sales and people’s hearts. One could argue that by capturing the attention of the populace you can gain critical recognition, but the argument could also be made that by playing to the crowd you are eliminating the chance to be critically acclaimed.
I think there is a strong philosophy that art must be complex, deep and obscure to be appreciated by critics and conversely that non-artophiles should have difficulty comprehending the enormity of works. Both are complete bosh in my most humble opinion. I think an artwork can have beauty, strength, complexity and depth and should be able to stand on each leg on it’s own, thus giving something to everyone. Art should be accessible for everyone, whether they hold a PHD in art appreciation or walked in off the street and have a velvet elvis on their wall. There should be something in it for everyone – even if it is just boobies 😉