Here at Mad Art Lab, one of our goals is to communicate science and skepticism through our artwork. One of the challenges (at least for me) is balancing aesthetic choices with clear communication. It can sometimes be a fine line to walk.
While thinking about Maki’s article from last week about the defacement of Andres Serrano’s Piss Christ, I was struck by a comment made by MAL reader Ryan M on that post. In part he said, “Perhaps all this anger suggests a failure on the part of the art work itself to adequately communicate to a less informed audience. I think it is reasonable to be skeptical about this works ‘true’ meaning, how am I to know the difference between a crucifix in urine that is a criticism of the business of religion from a crucifix in urine that isn’t?”
This is something I’ve thought a lot about since deciding to try my hand at communicating science through art. Am I being clear? Do the artistic choices I make sometimes detract from the message I am trying to communicate? I want to speak my mind and make art that is interesting to look at. But sometimes I wonder how successful I am at balancing the message with the aesthetics.
Does it behoove artists to be as clear as possible, especially when they are trying to communicate a specific message? When, if ever, should aesthetics take a backseat to clarity? Is there an artist that you know of that is consistently successful with this balance?
The ART Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Mad Art Lab community. Look for it to appear Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 3pm ET.