Recent conversation with a friend made me think about how many of the most memorable performances or works I’ve seen have had an undeniable creepy quality to them. I don’t just mean haunting, I mean CREEPY. The word “creep” when used to describe a person, has a negative connotation associated with someone who is undesirable, deranged or out of place. In art I feel creepyness takes on a new positive connotation of being captivating, memorable, dream-like. Rather than being out of place, the creep is precisely in step with your subconscious or the seemingly intangible threads floating just above your head.
All this reminds me of the freak show.
Fire breathers, sword swallowers, deformations, magic! Why do we crave and enjoy being weirded out?
I think it’s safe to say that none of the artists below created or performed these works with the sole purpose of weirding us out. Upon first viewing, I was struck by the artistry, creativity, and general rockness of these pieces. It was only later that I realized they share the commonality of being beautifully creepy.
1) La Lupe
Creepy category: Bewitching
2) Betty Boop, Max Fleisher and Cab Calloway’s “Minnie the Moocher”
Creepy category: Heebie Jeebies
3) Marina Abramović, The Artist is Present
Creepy category: Beautiful, Haunting