Friday, July 04, 2008

What is art? (by Suzie)

       I made the mistake of taking a doctoral-level philosophy class on this topic, and I thought we covered every angle. But somehow we missed serving sushi on a naked woman. The St. Petersburg Times has a story and photo about a restaurant that does this. (OK, the woman isn't entirely naked. She wears "the smallest of G-strings and tiny flower-shaped pasties.") Invoking Picasso, the chef calls it his "expression of art." The art is enhanced by "two women dressed in skimpy school girl outfits danc[ing] on either side of the model."
         Most historians agree naked sushi — Nyotaimori (Japanese for "female body presentation") — started several hundred years ago in the geisha culture.
Critics say it eventually became less about the art and more about titillation. Now, even in the country where it originated, the event is conducted privately or in the red light districts.
         Naked sushi — banned in China because officials say it's unhygienic and infringes on women's rights — made its way to the United States in the early 1990s. It started in California and was featured in the movie Rising Sun ...
          What message do I get from this art? That women are decorative and functional objects, like fine china.