Left: Damien Hirst, "The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living," 1991. Right: Jill Greenberg, from her series "End Times," 2006.
Shark Week 2014 is nearing to an end (tear, sniffle). I've been watching this program since it premiered in 1988 (you could call me the ultimate fan), and I've often noticed interesting similarities between well-known artworks and famous Shark Week visuals. I'm not surprised that the mind-boggling imagery of a Great White chomping down on a seal has launched artists into a creative frenzy.
I'm super curious, however, about the origination of Shark Week. Discovery channel claims the program to be the "longest running cable television programming event in television history"! And yet, 1988 doesn't seem to date back far enough to account for the number of artists who were CLEARLY influenced by famous episodes of the popular show. A few examples:
John Singleton Copley, "Watson and the Shark," 1778. Courtesy of the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
Hmm, 1988? Let's try 1778. Because clearly Copley caught an episode of "Ocean of Fear", the story of the men overboard the USS Indianapolis in shark-infested waters.
Attributed to Alexandros of Antioch, Venus de Milo, c. 100 BCE. Courtesy of Musee du Louvre.
It's becoming clearer to me that the Venus de Milo's missing limbs weren't damaged over time, but were likely intentionally severed by the artist himself as an ode to Alexandros of Antioch's favorite episode, "I Survived: Top 10 Shark Attacks".
Left: Scary white shark! Right: Constantin Brancusi, "Bird in Space," 1928. Courtesy of the Guggenheim Museum.
Bird In Space? OR, Air Jaws???
Andres Serrano, Blood Stream, 1987.
Serrano's photograph, "Blood Stream" almost certainly inspired the episode "Blood In The Water".
Leandro Erlich, Swimming Pool, installation 2008, MoMA PS1.
I didn't think too much about the shark week reference here until I entered the bottom portion of Erlich's installation. Suddenly you are under the pool's surface. Is this not entirely about a shark's point of view?!? And extra points to the artist for touching on my most primal fear: a shark in a POOL.
Lygia Clark, "Abyssal mask with eye-patch," 1968. Photo Sergio Gerardo Zalis, 1986. Courtesy of MoMA.
Are the connections looking clearer? Artists, don't be afraid to admit that you're Shark Week fans. We all see what's going on. Shark Week Obsession: it happens to the best of us. Most especially, me.
My delay in blogging about Shark Week is due to the fact that I'm already in mourning....missing my favorite week of the year...overcome by the fact that I have to wait over 350 days until the next shark week. It's too much to handle.
But today is finally the day to wrap it all up. In addition to reconfirming my absolute fear of Great Whites, I learned the following:
Just in time for Shark Week, Culture Craverdraws attention to Jeila Gueramian's underwater scene in the Mixed Greens' windows. Check it out now! On view at 531 West 26th Street (viewable from the street) through August 16th!
Chuka's been busy working on some video footage of Leah Tinari's current show. This shot was from our interview with Tinari earlier this week. Stay tuned for some interviews with artists from our UPCOMINGCrossing the Line exhibition, opening July 11th.
In the meantime, you can check out some of our other videos here.
Guess who's back in town??! You got that right--your very own blogging fiend is back in NYC and ready to keep you up to date on art news, chelsea happenings, shark stuff, and everything Mixed Greens. I'm still a teensy bit upset about missing Shark Week 2012 (they don't have Shark Week in Italy), so this video is currently quenching my thirst for shark news.
Just a little reminder for all of you out there that we are rapidly approaching Shark Week 2012. I will unfortunately still be out of the country, so I'm counting on the fans to catch me up on "Air Jaws" and "I Survived" episodes when I return to NYC. You can follow the "Unofficial Official Countdown" here.
SHOUT OUT to Joseph ("Joey"???) Lawrence for emailing The Pit with some improved Shark Facts:
"Not only can sharks not stop suddenly. They can not stop at all. To stay alive, sharks must swim continually to keep a flow of water going through their gills. They don't actually have true "gills" like other fish. By the way sharks are not considered fish either because they lack a true skeleton. Their skeleton is made up of cartilage. How do I know this? Must have studied sharks at some time in grade school."
We love shark snobs around here. Sharks are pretty cool. How do I know this? Must have watched Shark Week for 25 years.