A World Of Hurt (But Is It Art?)

The latest reality TV shows feature pain or gross-outs. “Pain is the new rock‘n’roll”, proclaims one show. “It may be, but it isn’t exactly new; pain and dangerous stunts have been finding an arts audience for years. Edinburgh Fringe-goers were watching Jim Rose juggle with chainsaws when Jackass’s Knoxville was a twinkle in an MTV executive’s eye. Devotees of the boundary-pushing forms of live art have been witnessing representations of self-harm for some considerable time. Now it’s gone mainstream, what has changed?” And is it art?