Meat is not only found on our plates.
The late-2000s saw a surge of meat-based statements. Models shared the spotlight with big chunks of meat, and I mean that literally, not as a derogatory term (that would have been: ‘big hunks of meat’).
Tyler Shields’ iconic photographs of Mischa Barton wearing nothing but a steak were powerful to say the least.
Vogue has carved meat into their editorials both cooked and raw. Terry Richardson’s series in Vogue Paris in October 2010 was humorous, letting Crystal Renn invoke her inner glutton.
And ‘The Big Chill’ that Steven Klein shot for Vogue US in 2004 had enough gore to catch your eye, rather than make you avert it.
Now when people think of meat in fashion the first talking point is always Lady Gaga’s meat dress. In fact, if you type “meat in fashion” into Google right now (go ahead, do it) one of the first things you’ll find is that ‘Lady Gaga’s meat dress’ has its very own Wikipedia page.
The restrained suggestion of gore that Vogue mastered has been amplified. Animal skulls are a main feature in Black Blessed’s 2013 Fall Catalogue.
In the usual fashion we have progressed past a point of balance. Rather than allowing meat to be an unexpected addition to an ordinary situation, it is now most important to shock.
At an exhibition now on at Hauser and Wirth in London animal carcasses are displayed as art. Alex Van Gelder, the artist responsible, aims to shock. Independent art critic Zoe Pilger says the potraits “seem to revel in a kind of death voyeurism for its own sake.”
The extreme goes the other way of course, with light-hearted approaches to involving meat in fashion and art. Bacon T-shirts are the new haute couture.
Light-hearted can be done impressively, especially if Karsten Wegener has anything to do with it. This German photographer recreated a series of famous artworks with a meaty spin.
Blood and guts is all well and good, but what’s the point of art if no one wants to look at it?
Feature image by Swedish photographer Linus Morales