Blood for Art’s Sake

Is meat the new bacon? In the past few years, bacon has become culturally ubiquitous, a kind of shorthand for manly decadence. But with artifacts like Meatpaper magazine and accessories like the beefy iPod cover, it looks as if meat is poised to steal bacon’s cultural crown.

Now comes “Meat After Meat Joy,” an exhibit at Cambridge, Massachusetts’s Pierre Menard Gallery. According to the Boston Globe review, the title references (and the exhibit includes) Carolee Schneemann’s avant-garde performance piece Meat Joy (warning: Link not safe for work or children), a 1964 exploration of meat and abandon.

Other pieces in the exhibit include Zhang Huan’s My New York, another performance piece in which the artist wears “a suit of red meat that mimics the bulging muscles of a superhero,” according to the Globe, and described by the gallery as “Both amusing and terrifying; beautiful and nauseating.” You think that’s nauseating, you should see Betty Hirst’s meat-and-skin genitalia sculptures.

Taken together, the works are a meaty commentary on what gets under our skin.