Viewers to Tacoma Art Museum’s “Hide/Seek” exhibit will be taken aback by some of the images. Just like viewers in the 1800 were offended when they first saw Goya’s unflattering depictions of the Spanish royals, or when they saw Delacroix’s “Odalisque” reclining nude in an ecstatic repose breathing her passionate abandonment. Or what about our beloved impressionists who were not allowed to exhibit in Paris’ prestigious Salon?
Much of art reflects our humanity, our desires, our horrid acts, our wit, our pleasures, our often misplaced idealism with its contradictions.
There is perhaps a way to look at the controversial video by David Wojnarowicz which depicts quick frames of the suffering Christ, sewn-shut mouths, crosses with crawling ants and blood. It’s very disturbing. The Catholic Church in recent years has been shown to have some rot at its core as we keep reading of the many abuse cases. A cross with crawling ants.
In the last 50 years especially, the gay and other gender community has gone through much suffering due to ostracism and the HIV epidemic, before the government and the church wanted to acknowledge this fact. Did Christ not forgive and ask us to aid the outcasts? ” Don’t ask don’t tell” restrictions meant “sew up your lips.”
Artists put into visual images reflections of ourselves, often not how we would like to see ourselves, and that can be disturbing.