Discomfort » Reading Response 4

1 minute read

The Artsy post written by Isaac Kaplan on Jordan Wolfson’s 2017 Whitney Biennial piece, Real Violence, felt like a bit of a tease. Not that it was written to be so, but I’m hesitant to put faith in a stranger’s assessment of such a purportedly affecting work of art without the opportunity to experience the work oneself.

The video clips of audience reactions to the piece on Instagram and Twitter seem to show people smiling or laughing uncomfortably, which doesn’t exactly suggest a piece so viscerally disturbing it’s arresting.

And so, like any inquiring mind with access to the web, I went searching for the content. And found none.

The closest I came was some footage of Wolfson working on (or perhaps ‘revisiting’ for the benefit of the camera) the piece in his studio. But I will say, listening to him discuss his work and the intention (or absence thereof) behind it made the whole thing sound somehow self-indulgent and devoid of empathy. Like some kind of art school snuff film.

Or perhaps it’s the work of someone full of rage toward and distain for their own audience. Which sort of begs the question whether the piece isn’t in actuality an act of violence directed toward the viewer.