My mom is an artist — a painter, specifically, though she works with other mediums — and a talented one at that, so whenever I encounter a news story about some artist who is doing seemingly “controversial” or weird conceptual art that I, frankly, think is pretentious bullshit, I like to check in with her for her opinion. Which is what I did this morning, when I saw this article in the Daily Mail about an artist named Millie Brown, who swallows colorfully dyed soy milk and then vomits it onto canvas. You may recognize Brown from her appearance in a Lady Gaga music video, in which she vomits all over the singer’s dress. EDGY! But what does it all mean?
“It’s very much about timing, I find the whole process fascinating and the long meditative fast can be very inspiring. I often set out with an idea of what I’d like to create but I enjoy the uncontrollable element of my work and just go with it. … I feel my work is an expression of raw human nature, that pushes boundaries mentally and physically to create work that has true beauty.”
I guess I sort of hear what she’s saying about the unexpectedness of what will be created based on not being in complete control of where the paint goes. And yes, her abstract paintings can be very pretty, just as the results of, say, Jackson Pollack’s process were. But I don’t think the simple act of creating art in a way that is different, “crazier,” and, most importantly, SHOCKING for the sake of it makes the art any good beyond a very simple aesthetic appreciation. Brown claims she maintains a “healthy vegan diet” and that her art process, i.e. puking her guts out regularly, isn’t bad for her health, but I have a hard time believing the latter is true. I mean, is bulimic behavior not actually bulimic behavior if the person doing the puking calls it art? And how is the art that’s created different in any sort of substantial, meaningful, and truly daring way — beyond OMG SHE’S PUKING — from what exists already? I fail to see how it is.
But what do I know anyway? Back to my mom! When I asked for her opinion, she wrote back — and I could feel the heavy sigh and eye roll through the computer — “This makes ME want to puke.” Pass the red soy milk! [Daily Mail UK]