Monday, February 12, 2007

He Turns Skin Into Art

Andre Krasnow's exhibit "Of the Flesh" continues at ADM Project in Hollywood. A disturbing show -- for its use of human skin. An American of Jewish descent with "a tragically bizarre family history" [as Artillery magazine writes in its December 2006 issue], Krasnow "confronts the stigma [of using human skin] head on. He acknowledges the political history of scalping, branding, and Nazi lighting décor, but stakes out his own territory that appears to be motivated more by a passionate scientific and aesthetic curiosity than by sensationalistic desire."

The show's press release adds that "Krasnow's work recognizes inevitable associations with the holocaust. In the past, he has expressed his own fears about clinical distance, the ability of audiences to overcome repulsion and the process of dehumanization that this kind of art making requires. However, while the work does raise the ethical question of making human skin into art, it also deconstructs the predication of prejudice and hatred upon skin-deep identity, assessing sources of cruelty, legend, and mythmaking.

Krasnow claims that the skins he uses have no identifiable traits. "When pressed about how he actually obtains the skins," the Artillery writes, "he will only say that they are obtained through 'legal and simple means' but will then cryptically add that the content of each piece is consistent with the method of acquisition." [sic!]

Bottom line? This is just another example of highly questionable art.