An annual exhibition of gay pride-related artwork opened at Salt Lake Community College, and artist Don Farmer’s photos of two RM’s hooking up while wearing their missionary tags became the immediate center of attention.
First came shouting matches at the opening, protesters trying to remove the photographs, police being called, and administrators relocating the show from the lobby to a classroom. Then, two days later, the photos turned up missing, stolen.
The SLTrib reporter lazily kicks off her article with, “But is it art?” Unequivocally, yes, it is. Is it good or not? Doesn’t matter now; it’s certainly effective.
The reactions of kneejerk disgust and ignoring of the context and artist’s intention remind me of NY Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s condemnation of Brit-Nigerian artist Chris Ofili’s painting of the Virgin Mary which included elephant dung (a symbol of fertility he has used repeatedly in his work).
This SLC situation sounds like history repeating itself, not as tragedy, but as farce.
Farmer complains that the photos–”selenium toned gelatin prints on museum-quality archival paper [which] they were not easy to make and would be nearly impossible to reprint the same way” are “invaluable.” Let me give you some advice.
First of all, don’t be such a drama queen.
Second, congratulations for getting so much publicity for such a rinkydink little show.
Third, as to the value of your work, 8×10 photos by an artist at the very beginning of his career–with nearly no exhibition or sales history–would probably sell for a couple hundred dollars, a few hundred dollars, at most. Likewise, to have them professionally printed would be less than a couple hundred bucks.
The actual price would also depend on the size of the edition. Are these photos signed and numbered as part of the edition? Are they artist proofs? Or are they just exhibition copies (which would have no commercial/resale value, only materials replacement cost)?
I’m betting that none of these things were decided before the pictures were exhibited. I can’t remember ever seeing a photo in a cafe, library, or school exhibit in Utah with anything ressembling a proper, professional designation that’d map to the price the artist put on his work.
All that said, I am interested in seeing images of the actual work. [hmm, I wonder if it's just a phase...]