Gone are the days when a pile of bricks in the Tate could cause uproar. Now mass murderers and dead animals adorn our gallery walls, and a model of Fred West's Gloucester killing ground goes on display in Scotland. Have modern artists gone too far?
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l)l'.\'Bl.A.\'li PRIMARY S(‘ll()()l. (iym. where sixteen children and a teacher were murdered on 13 March 19% and which was demolished in April of that year. has been recreated as a model. exhibited in an
lidinburgh art gallery. A collage of the killer
Thomas llamilton. created entirely from spent cartridges will hang at London's Royal Academy as part of the 'Shock! l-lorror!‘ exhibition this spring.
Relax. .\'one of this is happening. but it might. llip young paint-slingers on the
contemporary art scene are bursting their
frames in the i‘ush to infamy. \N'e‘ye had blood
Lindsey Orr and Once More With Feeling
12 THE LIST 6—‘9 1998
heads and piss christs. rotting sheep and dying butterflies. fuck sculptures and kids with dicks for noses. The young artists haye wrapped extremism in the linion Jack flares of New! Swinging! Britain! Nothing‘s shocking. liyerything is gt'om‘y. Damien isjust .m darkly humorous. daahling.
\Vhen Marcus llaryey‘s monolithic portrait of Myra Hindley. constructed from a child's handprints. was giyen star billing at ‘Sensation‘. 1997‘s Brit Art celebration in London. it was notable for two reasons. [1 represented the dusty art establishment’s acceptance of shock tactics. and it saved the Royal Academy‘s poor flat-broke account. lixactly 285.737 punters paid £7 each to gaze slack-jawed at such exhibits as Tracey Iimin‘s Ift‘t'rynm' I Have liver Slept ll'iI/I [963-1995. a blue tent appliqued with the names of everyone who eyer shared her bed — family members. sexual partners and the foetus she aborted. You don't know much about art. but you know what makes you gasp.
This fascination with the macabre is not restricted to the trendy clubs and snugs of London. lidinburgh’s (‘ollectiye (iallery is showing ()II('(’ More ll'iI/r I’ve/me a miniature model of 25 (‘romwell Street. (iloucester. This is the ‘Housc Of Horrors‘ front a thousand tabloid headlines. the innocuotts three-storey lidwardian semi-detached where l’red and
Rosemary West raped and killed nine young women including their own daughter lleather. The three-storey torture-chainber was in l‘)9() razed. ground to dust and disposed of in secret locations to deter souyenir-seekers.
Lindsey ()rr. the 25-year-old (ilasgow School of Art graduate and natiye of (iloucestershire who created ()II('(’ More ll'iI/t I’ve/mg. is keen to distance her work from 'Sensation‘.
‘They are trying to shock.' she says. ‘They‘re real publicists and that's what they're out to do: make a name for themselyes and all the financial side as well. What I‘m doing is yery different. In (ilasgow there’s no market for art. so you don't need to consider that side of things as much.‘
()r't“s piece treads the same bloody ground