I love art.
No, really. I honestly think that in this world of poverty, hunger, sickness and never quite enough Castle Milk Stout, there’s genuinely nothing better that money could be spent on than art.
Like this new exhibition at the Museum of English Rural Life, for example. It features the work of artist Maria McKinney. She’s made art from cattle semen straws. Yes, those are the tubes used to artificially inseminate cattle.
(This is, at least, I suppose, better than making art from the tubes used to naturally inseminate cattle.)
Ms McKinney was inspired by collections of 18th and 19th century livestock in the museum’s collections, which exaggerated the features bred into the animals and turned them into ‘the first viral celebrities’.
Of course it did. One can hardly miss the endless references to the cattle of the day on Ye Olde Facebooke, nor forget that all six finalists in the first series of Britain Hath Talent were bulls.
Here’s a bull with coloured plastic stuff on its back. Note also the expression on the bull’s face. It is – understandably – going to kill someone very shortly.
“It was essential for me that the sculptures communicated something about the lived reality of these bulls.”
And I honestly feel that she’s hit the nail on the head there, because “the lived reality” of these animals – that they regularly have coloured plastic stuff attached to their backs – is often overlooked by the general public. If nothing else, this exhibition – featuring images of bulls with coloured plastic stuff attached to their backs – breaks the silence on this difficult and entirely pointless topic.
The exhibition, beginning this month and running until early May, is the only chance to see the results of this project, which started in 2015 and was funded by a Wellcome Trust Arts Award to the tune of £29,125:
Well done, artist.
Four years and a whole shedload of cash well spent right there.