Is This the Moment ‘Cancel Culture’ Comes for the YBAs? Tom Whyman, δημοσίευση στο ArtReview [6/1/2023]Marilena Pateraki
How online conspiracy theorists are drawing a line from Balenciaga’s bondage-themed photoshoot to the art of the Chapman Brothers
Can you cancel the Chapman Brothers? Towards the end of last year, we were treated to the spectacle of certain conspiracy-minded social-media influencers attempting just that, as part of the fallout from the controversy surrounding Balenciaga’s now notorious bondage-themed child photoshoot.
The Chapmans’ work has been sold for years via Christie’s, which is owned by Groupe Artémis, the holding company for the investments of François-Henri Pinault, the multibillionaire husband of Salma Hayek. Pinault also happens to be CEO and chairman of Kering, the multinational corporation (founded by his father) specialising in luxury goods, whose brands include Balenciaga.
Many online rightwing conspiracy theories (think Pizzagate, QAnon) circulate around the theory that the world’s (liberal) elites are a) all secretly paedophiles, and b) all mocking us by hiding this fact in plain sight. And now look. Christie’s auction catalogues tell us everything we need to know. Not only are they dressing up teddy bears in bondage gear. Those very same people are selling each other these weird dolls with adult genitalia glued to their heads! ‘The CEO of Balenciaga’s parent company sells sickening child sex mannequins,’ the truthers write. ‘Let’s make him viral.’
But of course. When the Balenciaga scandal broke, both brand and creators were extremely contrite: amidst condemnation from the likes of Kim Kardashian, both photographer Gabriele Galimberti and Balenciaga creative director Demna apologised and distanced themselves from it. By contrast, as far as I know, the only meaningful response anyone has made to the attempt to cancel the Chapmans is just to point out that, well, this is the Chapmans. Yes, they’ve spent decades making this Brass Eye paedophile special-ass artwork, and yes, you probably don’t like it. It’s weird, it’s crass, it’s ugly. It’s unsettling, but not in a way that seems to open up a space where anything new or beautiful can emerge. But, you know. That’s just the sort of Nathan Barley shit we’re dealing with here. You not liking it is mostly the point.
Η συνέχεια εδώ.