Chopper Reid uninformed by contemporary thought: Shock!

It’s fun having a few people read what you write because you can get a few irritations off your chest from time to time. Here is an article about criminal Mark Chopper Reid’s forthcoming art exhibition. He’s gone naive. I’m not a fan of Chopper’s past or present deeds, and wouldn’t mind if he were prevented from profiting from his notoriety, but the paintings look OK – particularly one of Ned Kelly with half an arm chopped off and a chook. (You had to see it in the paper I’m afraid).

Anyway, this is what critic Robert Nelson had to say.

I’VE seen worse pictures. These are certainly colourful, if a bit chaotic, and the best have lively compositions. The imagery is cheerfully crude, which could make for an interesting paradox, if only some kind of critical idea could take care of the brutality.

The problem with the show ¢â¬â as with a lot of outsider art ¢â¬â is that the imagery is uninformed by contemporary thought. The raunchy speculations about Ned Kelly belong to the 1940s, except for new levels of indulgence.

The imagery includes naked women spreadeagled (Ned’s big night out or Miss Collingwood) and almost inside out. With telling psychoanalytical detail, the men sometimes sport a penis resembling a harpoon. This off-putting combination could be brilliant if you could construe it as a confession of misogyny; but the pictures don’t do this by themselves. There’s no sense of self-reflection or psychological candour.

So there you go. I’d have to agree that a little more self-reflection and psychological candour could do no harm.

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Evil Pundit
18 years ago

I’d settle for a little self-reflection and psychological candour from wanky arts critics — but I’m not holding my breath.

18 years ago

If Chopper can make a quid from dodgy art or dodgy novels, or even doing dodgy comedy we should be glad – he isn’t bothering anybody who should know better. And we all owe him for the Alan Jones crack.

Much worse has happened, look at Genet or “Belly of the Beast”.