Shock art  

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Shock art is art that utilizes disturbing imagery, sound or scents to create a shocking experience. While the art form's proponents argue that it is "imbedded with social commentary" and critics dismiss it as "cultural pollution", it is an increasingly marketable art, described by one art critic in 2001 as "the safest kind of art that an artist can go into the business of making today". But while shock art may attract curators and make headlines, Reason magazine's 2007 review of The Art Newspaper suggested that traditional art shows continue to have more popular appeal.


While the movement has become increasingly mainstream, the roots of shock art run deep into art history; Royal Academy curator Norman Rosenthal noted in the catalog for the "shock art" exhibit Sensation in 1997 that artists have always been in the business of conquering "territory that hitherto has been taboo". In China, which experienced an active "shock art" movement following the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, encroachment on the taboo has led the Ministry of Culture to attempt a crackdown on the artform, banning the use of corpses or body parts in art.

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