Vanité. Mort, que me veux-tu ?

September 7, 2010By Heidi EllisonWhat's New Art & Culture



“Vanité. Mort, que me veux-tu ?”, Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent

Andres Serrano: “The Morgue (Killed by Four Great Danes),” 1992 © Andres Serrano

Death never goes out of style, but right now it is trendier than ever, with death’s heads a must-have on all sorts of fashion items, from T-shirts to precious jewelry. After the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink exhibition on the theme of Vanitas in art at the Musée Maillol earlier this year, the Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent (5, avenue Marceau, 75116 Paris; tel.: 01 44 31 64 00) is holding a more concise, thoughtful show on this universally fascinating subject: “Vanité. Mort, que me veux-tu ?” The sting of death comes through more clearly in the more transgressive recent works than in classic 17th-century still life paintings of skulls and luxury items, which look positively staid in comparison, such as the always beautiful and highly disturbing photographs of Joel-Peter Witkin, or Andres Serrano’s images of corpses in the New York morgue with their chilling titles (“Child Abuse,” “Killed by 4 Great Danes”). The show ends on Sept. 19. Heidi Ellison


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