On the CCP-Politeismo-CBCP outrage

Because I'm an arts and culture blogger, I've had the utmost temptation all week to add my comment to the ongoing cacophony on Mideo Cruz's Kulo Exhibit installation, but I'm reserving my energy for an upcoming TNGG Arts and Entertainment section post on the issue I'm about to contribute.

The Cultural Center of the Philippines by dawn. Photo by Juan Tan Kwon
As a loyal follower of better columnists, writers and journalists, I recommend an article written by Philippine Daily Inquirer Lifestyle section's Art and Books editor Lito B. Zulueta headlined "Shock for shock's sake." It explains what the exhibit aims to do, but how it also falls short. I'd also like to mention that what he has written here is similar to and more eloquent than what I've had in mind the past few days.

The furor over Mideo M. Cruz’s “Polytheism” is understandable. In the true spirit of contemporary art, the work is calculated to be offensive; it is blasphemous and sacrilegious.
If modern art has the shock of the new, contemporary art has the jolt of the jugular. If modern art is art for art’s sake, contemporary art is shocking for shock’s sake.
Now we can’t get over the shock. And if “Polytheisms” is to be faulted at all, it is that its shock value has largely detracted the public from the larger picture of the exhibit, “Kulo.” 
Curated by multimedia artist Jaime Pacena and Fine Arts professor Jocelyn Tullao-Calubayan, “Kulo,” ongoing at the Bulwagang Juan Luna (Main Gallery) of the Cultural Center of The Philippines (CCP), gathers artists and writers who have studied at the University of Santo Tomas, the cradle of modern art in the Philippines. 

But may I also add that I think shock value in art is already too cliché and too passé to even be used over and over again. We've already gone through an entire era of modern art that cinches on the absurd and the appalling. Can we redefine and revolutionize art as we've known it? And I do believe that particular artwork and the curatorial decision involved in this recent Cultural Center of the Philippines exhibit are not bound to. If we ought to uplift and promote Filipino art, we can't rely on an exhibit that divides a nation and insults its faithful to push toward the same goal.

Read my take on it » #

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