10 Famous Controversial Art Pieces In History

Added by Edan Barak on Apr 7, 2019
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Shark by David Cerny

Damien Hirst is no stranger to controversy, especially when it comes to his piece entitled The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, which features a shark suspended in a tank of formaldehyde. Here, David Cerny has drawn heavily on the aforementioned controversial work. Shark features an almost-nude model of Saddam Hussein - he appears handcuffed, floating in a tank of formaldehyde. Anything which bears reference to both a highly controversial public figure and another controversial work of art is guaranteed to get tongues wagging, and this is no exception. It was actually banned in several countries including Poland; Belgium banned it because they didn't want to upset its Muslim communities. However, the artist should be used to this by now. Much controversy has surrounded his other pieces, two of which have included a statue of St Wenceslas riding a dead horse, and another statue featuring two men urinating into a pool

The question is: is Shark art or a political statement? I'll let you decide...

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My Bed by Tracey Emin

Tracey Emin is well known for her controversial art. This piece was shortlisted for the Turner Prize, a highly prestigious award held by the Tate Britain art gallery, so it received much media attention. The title of this piece pretty much says it all - it shows an unmade bed covered with stains and bodily fluids. Strewn beside the bed is a whole number of unwholesome items, such as condoms and dirty underwear - not the sort of thing you'd typically expect from art! Naturally, during its time in the spotlight it caused much discussion, controversy and debate due to its scruffy and dirty nature. However, some could argue that this discussion was healthy, as the piece took a very honest look at life, especially when dealing with depression. However nasty it may seem, is art that invites discussion and opens people's eyes to very real problems really such a bad thing?

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