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What is Bad Taste?

Discussion in 'General Figure Talk' started by Bluesking, Jul 18, 2005.

  1. Ernest A Fixture

    man, I don't know who did this diorama but my personal though is he's really crazy...not art for me anyway

  2. KeithP Active Member

    This isn't for me either. :(

    Provoke (encourage) a reaction?

  3. mike23 New Member

    Jake and Dinos Chapman are fascinated by the work of Francisco de Goya,and have done a number of pieces based on his Disasters of War etchings from the Peninsular War. They have said that the Katyn massacre of Poles in 1939 partly inspired Hell.
  4. btavis Active Member

    I have no problem with that piece. However, I think artistically the statement could have been made more elegantly without the epic proportions. To have the same theme spread across 7,000 figures is overkill (no pun intended). I guess the artist(s) was reminded of Stalin's quote that, "quantity has a quality of its own."

    I think my tendencies lean towards a paraphrase of Duke Ellington. When asked what kind of music he liked he said, "I only like one kind of music - good!" I think I feel the same way about miniatures regardless of the subject matter. I think a lot of people's acceptance of anything is based on the way it is presented.

    As a fine artist I have seen some outrageous things so most of what happens in the hobby world is tame by comparison.

    Apparently this dio was lost in a fire when the gallery's stored works burned. Act of God? ;)

    What a lot of work for a piece that could have made it point with a 10th or less of the work being done.

  6. John Long Active Member

    I'm reminded of Fletcher Clement's piece of a few years ago that addressed the atrocities of mankind. It pushed the envelope, wa thought provoking, but I don't think many people found it offensive.
  7. Mike McGregor Member


    You said you were curious about how folks on the left feel about OIF subjects, I can answer this for myself and give some insight based on what I see from others...
    To give you an idea of where I'm coming from: I personally have put myself into anti-war demonstrations and feel that the war in Iraq is unjustified, unnessisary and based on an agenda that has little to with the stated reasons for the invasion. That being said, I respect the troops for doing they're job and putting themselves in harm's way. I think the slogan "Support our troops, bring them home." sums up my feelings on the subject (although they're not 'my' troops, as I'm Canadian).
    That being said, am I offended by U.S. OFI figures? Nope. Think 180, Airborn and Warriors and Alpine all have some supurb figures that I would love to paint. Am I offended by Insurgent figures? Nope, they're part of the war.
    I think what I'm more 'offended' by is the attitude that the the enemy is some how sub-human and that they're lives are some how worth less. To me it smaks of racism...

    onto somthing else. I've shown some of my armor models to some lefty friends of mine. that was met with comments like "thats scary" (and they were just tanks, no gore etc)... so i guess it depends on how reasonalbe the person is...

    Mike McGregor.
  8. thegoodsgt Active Member

    Mike, that's an interesting observation. Many combatants view the enemy as subhuman, whether they're Iraqi, Japanese, German, Jewish, American, etc. I think a truly challenging vignette would be one that portrays how a nation does that. For example, I saved a photo off the Internet a few years ago that shows four soldiers showing off two decapitated heads of the enemy. I always thought that would make an interesting vignette, but to be honest, I wouldn't have the cojones to bring it to a contest. Would it acceptability depend on who in the photo was smiling?

    You're right, it all depends on how reasonable the viewer is.
  9. John Long Active Member

    Here's the Fletcher Clement piece I was thinking of. The Scream;

  10. Cicero New Member

    Hi all,

    I have been following the course of this topic with interest. Again I am a little bit surprised that almost everybody only refers to WO II, when it comes to subject you can do, or others that you better shouldn't do to be moral or political correct, and avoid provocation.

    I'm living in Flanders, the northern part of that small and artifial country Belgium, created as a buffer between the super powers after the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815.
    Throughout history, the region where I grew up simply has been mauled by war with horrifying result for the population living here. I.e. the Romans simply decimated by the millions the Celtic tribes living here, different German tribes on their turn fought the Romans, in the middle ages the French threw their yoke upon us. As a matter of fact a major clash in which the Flemish (reinforced by several mercenary troops) defeated the French knights (1302, battle of the golden spurs) is every year commemorated on our communal feast day.
    To continue: after the French, my region was occupied by the Spaniards, the Austrians, (again) the French under Napoleon, the Dutch. And then after becoming "Belgium" in 1830, we got .. the Germans who paid us twice a visit in WO I an II. All these wars and occupations of my dear Flanders resulted in destruction and costed without exaggeration tens of millions of lifes

    With the above explained: if I (or my compatriots) were sensitive about it, which subject could be modelled or depicted without being shocking or provoking? Modelling a soldier doesn't mean that the artist stands behind the ideas for which this little tin man was supposed fighting and dying for. I'm convinced that most of us only choose a certain historical period out of interest and not of admiration for the participants, and even if it were so, I wouldn't care a bit. A hero for me, will be a devil for another person.

    So my point is: please keep politics out of our fantastic hobby and just let it be a beautiful artform that binds us all, instead of dividing us into right or wrong, left or right.

    My two cents ...

    Kind regards

  11. Calvin Member

    It's really interesting to see how "goods vs. evils" (ethical) topics tends to "beauty vs. ugliness" (aesthetics) subjects and viceversa.
  12. Uruk-Hai PlanetFigure Supporter

    Come to think about it, I think a good general rule is to compare it with movies.
    And use the same kind of rating system.

    If it could be shown in a movie then it could be made in miniature.
    However some subjects might become X-Rated while others might be PG.

  13. Guayo New Member

    I think this depends on culture, history etc... for many years I been planning to make a group of Marine chasing Sandino in the Jungles of Nicaragua, I know that if I do it and take it to any of the Show(out of Nicaragua) it would be something normal but if I put it on display here in Nicaragua "Politics" would come to the table, many people is very sensitive with the US Marines for many latinamerican countries they don't have a good Memories of the Marines.

    I remenber gettinh the Andrea painting kit with one German Soldier, doing my reseacher on the German Uniforms of the WWII I found that many people that saw the books, magazines or color plates on german uniform of the SS was shock :eek: , here in Nicaragua a German in the WWII is something not to be portray in any way, for me sometimes is Ignorance but for others may be is fear to remember the past.

    Talking with my father about this hobby he make a comment that make me think alot "sometimes you only show the romantic side of the War or conflict and not the true face of war"

    Best Regards
    Eduardo Tellez
  14. socko47 Active Member

    A great discussion, one that won't have a final answer (I could have said final solution but there is enough controversy in this).
    I agree with Mike Good that war SUCKS. It is unfortunate that man continues to wage war against his fellow man and I believe it will never stop, though as a kid I liked the idea of a Utopia.
    The discussion makes my mind race. If someone depicted the hanging of a slave by a group of the KKK I think we would all be offended if the artist constructed the diorama showing the glory because he believes in that position. What about a diorama of US troops being slaughtered by those bad Native Americans! As a kid I would have been angry with those savages. The movies and TV were full of the Indians being the bad people in the 40's,50's,...Now we are getting more sensitive to the truth were we may start to appreciate the horrors imposed upon the Native Americans.
    I don't think we should remove a figure or diorama it if it is done to educate or depict the horrors of man. Should we make a law to remove all symbols, weapons, uniforms of the Nazi party and pretend it never existed. We are supposed to learn from history.
    We lock up people perpetrating domestic violence. We expect them to get along or get a divorce. But when two countries or two ethnic or religious groups take opposite side’s things intensify to some type of battle. We prefer court battles but egos get involved and leaders turn their people against the "enemy". We want couples, kids, sports teams to shake hands and walk away but mankind doesn't do it for itself, most unforunately.
    I know a physician that was doing abortions before they were legal because they saw women dying from backroom clinics. People are very polarized over this sensitive issue but IT IS History! Such a diorama would be difficult to depict without offending in some manner.
    I hope I wasn't too disjointed in what I wrote. Just being my pragmatic self.

  15. quang Active Member

    Thanks, Joe for your post (y). I couldn't have said it better.

    I'd just like to add that taste is a two-sided coin. Indeed there's the object of contention (work of art, figures, dio,...) and its creator. But there's also the viewer and his ability (or lack of) to understand what he's seeing and therefore react accordingly.

    And like every Russ Meyer admirer will tell you, "bad taste is the other fella's taste". :lol:


    PS. Today, July 21 2005 we are celebrating Belgium's 175th birthday. My best wishes to all the members living in our small (and not so artificial) country. (y)
  16. MattMcK. PlanetFigure Supporter

    I think part of the issue goes to the nature of art. Any art is designed to generate a response in the audience. Issues of taste are part of the mix. As an artist one makes a decision, conciously or unconciously, about the audience for a work. If it is done for oneself, anything goes, within the limits of the individual's taste. If it is for a wider audience, then a different decision is made: Do I want to provoke, or amaze, or inspire, etc.? My point is this: "bad taste" is often the creator's mis-read of the audience. If the creator expects the audience to smile at a piece and they are disgusted by it, there's an example of bad taste. On the other hand, if the goal is to disgust, and a piece does just that, it isn't entirely in bad taste.

    Now to add another dimension: how does one generate a reaction? It can be done in a subtle way or an obvious one. Think of comedians: there are ones who go for an easy laugh with obvious jokes. They can be funny, but are rarely great. Then there are those who are subtle, provoke thought, and get a laugh- they are artists, imho. Others would disagree with me, depending on their taste, right? What is better taste: Nazis in hell, or a somber GI holding the jacket of a young child with a gold star on it?

    So taste is really a matter of reading one's audience. Does that make any sense?
  17. Le Lancier Member

    Yup, I agree, this is a great discussion. I've been following it since yesterday, reading every post with great interest. One constance in every comment posted is passion, true, unadulterated passion. And that's what makes this hobby great.

    I agree with many of you, bad taste to one may be acceptable to another. It's truly a personnal thing. I've heard comments in shows like "Oh, I don't like these, they glorify war" :eek:. Just modelling uniformed subjects will bring out emotion, negative or positive.

    I often read or heard comments about miniatures depicting Nazis as being unacceptable. I for one, sometimes had second thoughts about applying the SS logo on collars or vehicules, by fear of being critisized for it. And I continued to feel uneasy about it until I visited a website that told the story of the Waffen SS. On the first page, the creator of the site warned the visitors that his site was not meant to glorify the doctrine of the SS, but to tell the story of its members, many of which were barely in their twenties, and who learned to die before they learned to love.

    At that moment, I realised that my hobby was not only fun, but that it contributed to telling the story of the valorous combattants who, throughout the ages, gave their lives for what they thought was right. And that is the argument I use when I am being told that I must obviously like war if I spend my spare time painting little soldiers.

    My own 2 cents

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