Recently I was approached by acclaimed Australian artist Asa Letourneau. He asked me to share my thoughts on the painting above. I’m always anxious to open my mind and let the words flow, so naturally, I obliged.
I think it could be an anti-science statement, and I applaud that. Being anti-science is a bold move, and art ought to be bold.
Some may think The Twilight Zone or even those Twister movies, but that is far too simple an interpretation.
I see a bull in the middle of a vortex. It is being pulled into what could be a black hole, except in the case the massive anti-matter, super-gravity body is yellow and red. An anti-noir hole, perhaps.
Where are the black scientists?
The use of white space can be seen as a middle finger salute to science. Either that or a way of saying science is far too white. The original Nutty Professor, Carl Sagan, Bill Nye, Einstein, Dr. Strangelove, Stephen Hawking, Dr. Frank N. Furter… …all of ’em white men, with their whiteness serving as the frame and context for how they see the world, and for which they create science.
Now, if you are thinking “Enough of this Whitey on the Moon, stuff!”, check out this historic clip of Venus Flytrap teaching a young brother about the inner workings of atoms.
Also, it certainly needs to be noted that the Mythbusters were 20% female and 20% people of colour, and they did that way before “equality and inclusion” were an unwritten rule.
Is it really an anti-science painting?
But let’s return to my assertion that this could be seen as an anti-science painting. You have a bull in the middle of a “black hole”. I suspect a great artist such as Asa Letourneau is making the bold statement that “black holes are bullshit”.
It is a bold statement, and it is harsh. It is also done with subtlety, and that is the intriguing part. Instead of being crude and putting a #2 emoji inside the black hole, the artist here went with the source of that merde, the bull itself.