A Boycott of Beauty Part Two / by Chris Hall

Christopher Hall, I Feel Pretty, 2007

Christopher Hall, I Feel Pretty, 2007

Illegitimi non carborundum (Don't let the bastards grind you down).

Per aspera ad astra (Through hardship, to the stars).

When I wrote the blog “A Boycott of Beauty” a few days ago, I was wondering what would happen to the world if all artists decided to make only Bad and Ugly Art.  I had thought that if artists were to fill the world with works such as Mana Lisa (a recent acquisition to Boston's Museum of Bad Art, by anonymous), the world would capitulate, beg for mercy, and treat artists with more respect.  But even works such as Mana Lisa provoke pleasure, as they are humorous.  For a "Boycott of Beauty" to really work, artists would have to make truly awful, nasty works of art.  The art would have to be brutish, cruel, cold, violent, and depraved.  They would have to be hateful, spiteful works.  They would have no redeeming value whatsoever . . . and I just don't think I have it in me to make that kind of art . . . I have too much heart in me.  

It is true that I do make a kind of Bad Art, particularly in my drawing practice.  But I temper the Badness with humor.  I have to do this for myself, first and foremost.  Humor is how I make sense of the world.  Humor helps me digest life's injustices and ugliness.  Humor helps with the pain.  And, if my art is meant to be critical, to educate and enlighten, humor helps the world digest its medicine, too.