Saturday, May 31, 2008

The World's Longest Performance Art Piece Continues, or Various Ways of Ignoring What We Don't Want to See...

My friend called to tell me of A Blessed Art Thou sighting. From it, I learned there are rumors that Angelina Jolie has given birth, so we are having another go round of BAT posts on the web. The fact that the bottom of the painting
is almost universally omitted by these gossip sites before they co-opt the image is priceless: I simply don't know what to say.

My job: to make sure it all gets credited properly, and be sure I don't read ANYTHING that is posted in the comments: I find the experience to be as stomach-churning as wading in a sewer. Last night, we inadvertently ended up watching a provocative, too-close-to-reality-to-be-funny movie called Idiocracy, and it gave me the same feeling. I researched the film a bit, and apparently, it was so scary to the screening groups, and threatening to the corporations and media it pokes fun at, that the studio sat on it for two years, then released it in theaters according to contract, but only to 130 screens across the country, with no trailers, posters, or screening for critics. It has since, however, developed a cult following. Dan Mitchell gave the situation a brief writeup in the NYTimes, and David Weigel wrote a great piece for about reactions to the film, entitled Idiot Wind.

P.S. Incidentally, I think this is an alternative religion site, as opposed to a gossip site, but can anyone translate Hebrew for me?



Anonymous Carmit said...

Hi Kate,

I'm the owner of the site (and blog) in Hebrew. It is indeed an alternative religion site, with a strong focus on discussing non-mainstream interpretations and representations of God.

My post translates like this:

This painting sparked my interest when I first ran into it last year. It became even more interesting when I read the artist's thoughts about it . Apparently, what I saw in it was not supposed to be there in the first place, but I still sense something tangible yet divine, neither cynical nor pretentious, and very very religious. It is "Blessed Art Thou", by Kate Kretz. The picture will be removed in a few days, since it is copyrighted. Until that, enjoy. After that, visit her site.

Carmit :)

1:16 PM  
Blogger Kate said...


Thank you so much for the translation, and for featuring the work on your blog. Feel free to leave the image up, it is only when the work is uncredited, or chopped up so the meaning is altered, that I I have problems with it.

I have made statements about what I was thinking when I made the work, but you are free to interpret it as you wish. You are perceptive in that I think most Catholic artists have a very strange and complicated relationship with religious imagery. It is possible for me to acknowledge that the image is deliberately "kitschy" (like the images I grew up with) while thinking in formal terms, yet, I am not dismissive of its power: I am still strangely moved by it. I am certain that, when I was painting "Blessed...", I was thinking of completely transcendent, devout feelings I experienced as a young girl, and that is what you picked up on.

"Blessed Art Thou" was dismissed as simplistic by some, but for me the image contains a great deal of duality. It was not designed to be flat out cynical OR straightfowardly devout, but to reflect the complexity of the celebrity worship phenomenon.

1:53 PM  

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