Penis Mightier Than The Sword

at

Screen Shot 2015-06-12 at 09.57.54

Screen Shot 2015-06-12 at 09.58.25

feUgxxa4

NCAD student Shane Berkery, above, and a nude diptych he created of himself and the director of the National College of Art and Design, Professor Declan McGonagle

Joe Humphries, in the Irish Times, reports:

“The National College of Art and Design (NCAD) has rejected claims of censorship after a student withdrew an image depicting its director, Prof Declan McGonagle, in the nude from an end-of-term exhibition.”

“NCAD confirmed that management representatives met the student last Monday and advised him “about both the appropriateness of showing the image in the college and the responsibilities that come with making the image public”. However, in a statement, NCAD said it did not order the student to withdraw the painting.”

Saying the diptych – of himself and Mr McGonagle both nude –  was made in protest against the way the college is run, Shane told the Irish Times:

“I painted Declan because I was not happy with the college, and I painted myself as an equal. So I was putting myself through the same thing. I don’t want to ridicule Declan. I don’t want to bully him or anything.”

“I was very pressured. They kept saying I needed to think about the consequences. So I said, okay, it’s definitely going to be more trouble than it’s worth – so take it down and put a different one up.

“It’s not particularly offensive. The whole point of doing art is doing that kind of stuff and creating a dialogue.”

NCAD rejects censor claim over withdrawal of nude from show (Irish Times)

Previously: Supporting The NCAD Students

Pics: Shane Berkery

73 thoughts on “Penis Mightier Than The Sword

  1. manolo

    Certainly contentious and easy for people to take one side or the other. But art should be entitled to cause uproar without censorship.

  2. Starina

    great pieces. And the artist is totally right to say “The whole point of doing art is doing that kind of stuff and creating a dialogue.”

    But Broadsheet, NSFW, for god’s sake.

    1. manolo

      Here is a genuine question: If it was a picture of Michelangelo’s David, would you think it also needed a NSFW tag?

      1. Kate

        I don’t think a pic of Michelangelo’s David would need a NSFW tag as most would be familiar with this piece. Passing colleagues would recognise it as art. However the same cannot be said for this painting popping up on your screen. A NSFW tag isn’t saying it’s porn.. just saying you might not want it on your screen in a work environment.

  3. donkey_kong

    i’m not sure I agree – he didn’t use a volunteer but somebody he knew without their permission.
    Also this person isn’t in the public eye so people may believe it is him (as in he posed for it)
    So he didn’t mean to bully him won’t wash with me .

    the artist is talented but a dick nonetheless.

  4. Just sayin'

    That’s hugely offensive. Yeah, freedom of artistic expression is good but with freedom comes responsibility. It must be incredibly embarrassing to him family. Seems like a cheap shock thrill from an undergrad student.

    I wonder if it would be deemed acceptable if the head of the NCAD was a woman?

    1. Mani

      Of course not. Women should never be given that kind of responsibility. It gives them nosebleeds.

    2. ahjayzis

      You’d need to find a woman with a creative mind though, so I guess a transgender woman? And that opens up a whole other can of worms.

  5. Drogg

    I think we really need to look at a how a national art college is run, if they are afraid of a few nudes. These are great pieces of work and the artist spoke very well about his reason behind these paintings. Shame on you NCAD.

    1. doncolleone

      “I think we really need to look at a how a national art college is run, if they are afraid of a few nudes. ” exactly this, laughable really; shows them for the small minded petty bourgeois they are, a degree from this place must be worth sweet FA it this is their “ethos”.

      1. Drogg

        This is the current argument from their alumni, that the drop in standard from NCAD is effecting all their qualifications.

  6. fosull

    An attention-seeking stunt and little more.

    The quality of the art is neither here nor there – he deliberately and provocatively painted a nude of someone he dislikes without their permission with the sole intention of embarrassing them and drawing attention to himself.

    Fight for your cause on the merits of your argument, not by trying to embarrass people. Unless you haven’t a strong enough argument in the first place, maybe…?

    1. Owen

      “The quality of the art is neither here nor there” is the dumbest thing I have read on here. Is the fact we are discussing it not justifying its interest? The mona lisa is average at best, but you know what it is.

      And is art not meant to seek attention in some manner?

      I think the physical art is not the art we are looking at. This piece is the fact we are talking about it. NCAD should be embarrassed, and he should have stood his ground.

      1. scottser

        that’s about the size of it. it would be a bit of a farce if all you learned about art during your time in art school was how to get censored.

  7. ReproBertie

    Either he’s lost a lot of weight or he sees himself as much heavier than he actually is.

  8. Edwardszszs

    The paintings are crap and the sentiment behind the painting is crap. “Ooh I was annoyed at the director so I painted him in the nude but it’s not bullying it’s not bullying”. It actually is. Painting his own head on the same body was pure damage control.

  9. Frilly Keane

    As ye all know
    I’ve not a hair of artistic temperament on me
    And tbf I wouldn’t have them in my good room

    A bit too ‘I am all man’ about them for me

    But

    Isn’t this exactly what NCAD and the Arty crowd should be applauding and lauding and bula bos’ing?

  10. Eamonn Clancy

    How would he like it if someone cut and pasted his head into a photo graph of him engaged in, let’s say, peadophilia? Would he like that censored?

    1. Starina

      well then the question would be where he got the photo of illegal pornography. So that’s not a equivalent comparison.

  11. Gavin

    This and its recent restructuring of its financial model seems to single the death throws of Dublins one serious fine art college

    1. Anomanomanom

      You seriously don’t know the college if your using the words fine art to describe it. This is a college who’s student SHIT in his own hand and drew a picture with it and that’s not heresay I 100% fact know it happened, Maybe I just don’t get fine art.

      1. Vote Rep #1

        You do realise that more disciplines than just fine art gets thought in NCAD? Was the person who did the poo art part of the Fine Art faculty or a different faculty?

  12. 15 cents

    it would be grand if there was more meaning to it. its not making a point. theres no concept.

    1. weeeelllllllll

      He presents himself, student artist, and the director of the college in a diptych as literally exposed equals at a time when there is massive unrest between the college management and the students over the provision of services and the entire remit of the college.

      Yeah – no concept there at all.

      must try harder

      1. St. John Smythe

        if that is your idea of a presentable graduation conceptthen you need to go back to first year core.

    2. Kevin Finnerty

      That’s why da vinci was poo, he had no ‘concept’ in his paintings.

      This is really good work: relevant, provocative and well-executed.

    1. weeeelllllllll

      Someone who considers that image humiliating has no business running an art college

  13. timble

    The important thing is that he painted his willy bigger than the Director’s. Definetly not equal

      1. Kevin Finnerty

        if you actually knew anything, you’d see that the artist is referencing Francis Bacon

  14. aaaaaaaaand scene

    INT. DIRECTOR OF NCAD’s OFFICE

    Helen Lovejoy bursts through the door clutching her pearls
    – Sir! Sir! one of the students has painted a nude man with your head and is going to display it next to a similar portrait of himself at the graduate exhibition!

    The Director looks up at Helen.
    – Yes?
    [a beat]
    – And?
    [another beat] Helen looks uncomfortable at her shoes.
    – We’re a damn art college. What the f*** do you expect?

    -FIN-

    this scene has been brought to you by a world that makes sense

  15. Michael

    I don’t care about the controversy. I’m indifferent to the art and the artist’s intention, whatever merits there may be.
    But jaysus, that headline is a fupping masterpiece!

  16. hasselvlad

    In order to best understand this work – look at it under form, content and context. The form is diptych (two related paintings presented as one work) giving it an interchangeability – the paintings may be presented with different emphasis – swopping left with right, hanging on opposite walls, in close or distant proximity to each other, etc. These options may present the work with different emphasis. The content is two nude male figures with stripped beach mats or towels. The context is how the elements relate to each other – e.g. the figures are standing in front of the stripped mats. All of this tells us these two chaps have probably been sunbathing, and now appear ready to engage in some kind of activity – probably skinny-dipping. In summary – the paintings are benign. There is no sense of violation of either individual and only a very insecure person would take offence. However these paintings have acquired another quality – notoriety. This is the result of a botched censorship action, which drew attention to the work in the first place. If the interfering managers in NCAD had turned their attention to resolving the college’s financial difficulties instead of bullying this student, you would probably never have seen or heard of this artwork.

    1. Jack

      I agree and echo many of the comments above, in that this was a failed attempt at provocation and a stunt – a childish one at that. Surprised he didn’t draw stink lines and pass it round the class….
      To be honest I’m fed up at this stage, I’m done and pissed off with all the stuff going on and now around the exhibitions. I agreed with some of the points at the start, and was curious to how it would be resolved, but it keeps getting more pathetic and immature – with all this painting stuff last week too. Like what the hell was the initial plan here?? And where were the tutors when all this painting stuff was goin on? How could a tutor allow this?

      Also to say he was pressured is bull – If he stood by his work and was strong in his convictions, he would’ve kept the piece up. That’s a true artist. IT WAS THE STUDENT’S CHOICE. The college advised, he decided.

      We all the know the craic in the college, but anyone outside of the college will think we all agree. I’m tired of being mis-represented everywhere. If someone has a valid argument then you wouldn’t need to resort to nude portraits.

  17. Jack

    I agree and echo many of the comments above, in that this was a failed attempt at provocation and a stunt – a childish one at that. Surprised he didn’t draw stink lines and pass it round the class….
    To be honest I’m fed up at this stage, I’m done and pissed off with all the stuff going on and now around the exhibitions. I agreed with some of the points at the start, and was curious to how it would be resolved, but it keeps getting more pathetic and immature – with all this painting stuff last week too. Like what the hell was the initial plan here?? And where were the tutors when all this painting stuff was goin on? How could a tutor allow this?

    Also to say he was pressured is bull – If he stood by his work and was strong in his convictions, he would’ve kept the piece up. That’s a true artist. IT WAS THE STUDENT’S CHOICE. The college advised, he decided.

    We all the know the craic in the college, but anyone outside of the college will think we all agree. I’m tired of being mis-represented everywhere. If someone has a valid argument then you wouldn’t need to resort to nude portraits.

Comments are closed.