Thanks to L.M. for inspiring this post today!
Meat Dress by Jana Sterbak, 1991.
A sculpture of a dress made of raw meat, hanging at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, has outraged politicians and food-aid agencies. The sculpture, made of 50 pounds of salted flank steak, is a waste of food and taxpayers' money, critics say. But museum curators defend the work, "Vanitas," as a graphic reminder of mortality and the aging process.
"It's a powerful piece," Helen Murphy, a museum spokeswoman, said yesterday. "It can be quite repugnant, even to people who eat meat. People just aren't prepared in some cases to say this is art." (From Snopes.com,and a 1991 article)
The meat dress by Montreal artist Jana Sterbak is on a hanger beside a photo of a woman wearing it. When the meat decomposes after six weeks, it will be replaced with another $260 worth of fresh meat. "Vanitas," on display since March 8, will remain until May 20 before traveling to the United States and Europe.
Thawing Out, sculpture by Mark Prent. 1972.
The fourth Prent piece at 106U, a large-format, highly crafted photo print of 1972’s “Thawing Out,” is of particular resonance. It was originally produced to raise legal-defence funds for Avrom Isaacs, the Toronto gallery owner whose exhibit of Prent’s work led to criminal charges of—get this—“exhibiting a disgusting object.”
“That’s all open to interpretation,” laughs Prent. “Eventually, that was thrown out of court, but at that particular point, Isaacs didn’t know how he was going to raise money to defend the case. In the end, the Art Dealers Association came to the rescue and hired a lawyer themselves. They said, this is going to be a bad precedent—never mind for Mark Prent or the gallery, it could be the end of all kinds of freedom of expression for artists in Canada.”
Review of Mark Prent Exhibit