There's nothing more stubbornly middle-of-the-road than shock art. Like inflexible suburban Baptists and food co-op rules committees, purveyors of this trying trend insist on viewing reality in stark black and white. Such a worldview mistakenly invests cultural symbols with magical powers they will never possess: among them, the ability to turn so-called normal behaviors into their radical opposite. Robert Mapplethorpe's gorgeous homoerotic photos from the 1990s, for instance, hardly resulted in a national outbreak of fisting. Thirty years after the culture wars, few creative conceits prove more conformist and less transgressive than the tired, through-the-looking-glass fairy... More >>>