Are you a bit fed up with edginess by now? I know I am. In fact, what’s wrong with a bit of middliness, or whatever the opposite of edginess is?
Nowhere is edginess so manifest than in the modern art world. All the biggest names you can name are edgy: Damien Hirst, Gilbert and George, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Tracey Emin. And what does their edginess largely consist of? Bodily fluids, religious imagery, divers manifestations of sexuality, violence . . . Is it new, is it brash, is it iconoclastic? No, it’s been going since at least 1991 (or since 1917, if you want to go back to Marcel Duchamps’ urinal). Is it possible to maintain one’s shock at the volume of urine, faeces, menstrual blood, etc., flowing past us for the last 20 years? I think not. So a truly startling, mouldbreaking work of art that challenged contemporary issues would probably need to be some contorted impasto of lace doilies and tubigrip in a mastic of Shake’n’Vac on stills of the Eurovision Song Contest (I can see it now).
Not that I’m arguing for wider acceptance among the art world elite of the likes of schlockmeister Thomas Kincade (who seems to have applied edginess to life rather than art, once relieving himself on a Winnie the Pooh – here come those turds again – figure in the foyer of a Disneyland hotel: eat your hearts out, G and G). It’s just that, philosophically and perhaps geometrically, you can’t really claim to be edgy if everyone else is on the edge with you: the few remaining in the middle become the new edge.
So here is your cut-out-and-keep guide to the new edginess:
No longer edgy The new edgy
Skulls on everything A nice paisley print
Sex on the Beach Yakult
Killer heels Peruvian slipper socks
Spiky bedheads A Marcel wave
Frankie Boyle Katie Boyle