Subscribe Today!

The joke’s on who? or religious tyranny in a PC world


komarandmelamid1Imagine my surprise when master ironists and art-world iconoclasts Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid get taken seriously.

My surprise grew out of an article in today’s paper reporting that the two bad boys had a show in honor of Chanukka at a local synagogue. The show, based on their series called Symbols of the Big Bang, is being billed as a mixture of science and mysticism, as K&M find all the world’s religions and at once and create earnest little images that draw on mandalas, yin and yang, stars of david, and every other religious symbol.

Uh, I don’t think so (I’m sorry if I got this one wrong, but I don’t think leopards change their spots). Am I the only one who thinks this is funny?

I think the work is really a satire of abstract painting with spiritual aspirations. Unh. Take that, Rothko. Unh. Unh. Feel that punch, Agnes Martin.

komarandmelamid2What may in fact be the case is that these two very funny Russian emigres created parodies that no one laughed at. Their subject cut too close to religion and wasn’t pointed enough in its parody of art. But parody of religion is downright Anti-American. So K&M quick found themselves in the non-ironic spiritual paintings market. And being Capitalists, they adjusted.

So how come no one laughed this time? My bet is, it’s not PC to parody spirituality. At the moment, this culture is too bought in to Zen, Catholicism, Scientology, Kaballa, and too ashamed to mock it. That’s how George Bush gets away with his born-again stuff. In fact, as a culture, we just lap it up.

I just wonder if K&M are sitting at home laughing or sitting at home crying.