Last night, according to the NYT, MoMA featured a new work of art at a member’s event. Yes, THAT important piece of art: Johnny Knoxville’s new 3D movie.
“We love to laugh at the misfortune of others,” said Josh Siegel, the MoMAcurator who organized the screening… He added that the new film is ‘merely the climax — or the lowest depths, if you prefer — of a tradition that dates back to 1895, when the Lumière brothers drenched a poor sap with a garden hose and filmed it.'”
1895. Perhaps that was not the novelty of wacky high jinx, but the new novelty of film itself. And if you think there’s no aesthetic value in Mr. Knoxville’s bold performance art… well, you would be wrong.
As the NYT explains…
“It’s understandable that Mr. Knoxville — who in the first episode of “Jackass” sat in a feces-filled portable toilet that was flipped upside down — would want to avoid the taint of respectability. The antics of “Jackass” may or may not be art, but they stand at the confluence of some significant social phenomena and artistic traditions. Emerging from the slacker-daredevil ethos of skate culture, it updated the ambush comedy of “Candid Camera” and the reality slapstick of “America’s Funniest Home Videos” for the age of YouTube exhibitionism.”
And that’s what the sophisticates in Manhattan do on a nice Fall evening.