Enemy-inspired art.
April 16, 2009 9:22 AM   Subscribe

Please recommend works of art, individual pieces and/ or bodies of work, inspired by a nemesis or personal enemy of the creator.

I'm interested in all media and styles, abstracts welcome. Artist need not be famous.
posted by hellboundforcheddar to Media & Arts (32 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
The Prisoner of Sex, by Norman Mailer
posted by Joe Beese at 9:34 AM on April 16, 2009

How do you Sleep?
posted by vacapinta at 9:35 AM on April 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

Positively Fourth Street.
posted by matildaben at 9:39 AM on April 16, 2009 [2 favorites]

Pretty much anything by Werner Herzog with Klaus Kinski in it. He made a movie about their relationship, My Best Fiend.
posted by zsazsa at 9:39 AM on April 16, 2009

Some of Francisco Goya's paintings would fit the bill.

Like the 2nd of May and the 3rd of May.

Also, the Allegory of Madrid.
And some of the black paintings too.
posted by Flood at 9:42 AM on April 16, 2009

Picasso's Guernica would also fit.
posted by Flood at 9:43 AM on April 16, 2009

Dear Mailer, don't ever fuck with me,
or come up to me, and punch my gut,
on behalf of one of your theories.
I am armed and mad.
Should I suffer, the smallest humiliation, at your hand,
I will kill you, and your entire family.

"Dear Mailer," poem by Leonard Cohen (Joe Beese's comment reminded me)
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:44 AM on April 16, 2009 [2 favorites]

Joyce's falling out with a certain Henry Carr during a wartime production of "The Importance of Being Earnest" in Zurich led to a notable act of literary revenge in the 'Ulysses in Nightown' episode of Ulysses, and forms the basis of Tom Stoppard's wildly hilarious Travesties.
posted by Kinbote at 9:46 AM on April 16, 2009

They didn't start as enemies, but the story of Frederick R. Leyland and James McNeill Whistler's Peacock Room is kind of hilarious.
posted by JoanArkham at 9:48 AM on April 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for the responses thus far. I should clarify that I'm really looking for works that are inspired by an individual, known by the artist personally, rather than by a regime, military force, movement, or group.
posted by hellboundforcheddar at 9:48 AM on April 16, 2009

Guns 'n' Roses, Get in the ring (nsfw language)
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:49 AM on April 16, 2009 [2 favorites]

I'm sure you know this already, but Ozymandias is about this:

Link to poem.
posted by harperpitt at 10:05 AM on April 16, 2009

If The Man is your enemy (and you are crazy in an extremely brilliant way) you may end up making work like Mark Lombardi that depicts, with stunning minimalist clarity, the forces arrayed against you. But in the end, those forces will win.
posted by The Bellman at 10:05 AM on April 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

I'm surprised rap hasn't come into this yet.

Fuck Wit' Dre Day (inspired by Eazy-E) - Lyrics
No Vaseline - (inspired by NWA) - Lyrics
Hit 'Em Up - (mostly inspired by the Notorious BIG) - Lyrics

(Bonus: Another video for Hit 'Em Up.)

Dave Mustaine has a song on almost every Megadeth album about an ex.

Wake Up Dead - Lyrics
In My Darkest Hour - Lyrics
Tornado of Souls - Lyrics
posted by ignignokt at 10:23 AM on April 16, 2009 [2 favorites]

Leonard Cohen's "Famous Blue Raincoat?" Not angry, but certainly an address to an enemy.

"And what can I tell you my brother, my killer
What can I possibly say?
I guess that I miss you, I guess I forgive you
I'm glad you stood in my way.

If you ever come by here, for Jane or for me
Your enemy is sleeping, and his woman is free."

Here's a beautiful cover: over on youtube.
posted by baltimoretim at 10:31 AM on April 16, 2009

There is some speculation that Judith Slaying Holofernes, by Artemisia Gentileschi, was inspired by vengeful feelings towards the man who raped her.
posted by arachnid at 10:34 AM on April 16, 2009

Biagio da Cesena, a critic of Michelangelo, is depicted in Hell as King Minos in The Last Judgement.
posted by Benjamin Nushmutt at 10:42 AM on April 16, 2009

Queen's Death on Two Legs

The Rolling Stones's Dead Flowers
posted by TedW at 10:47 AM on April 16, 2009

Response by poster: This is great. Any picks from contemporary visual artists?
posted by hellboundforcheddar at 10:48 AM on April 16, 2009

Michelangelo's Last Judgement fresce in the Sistene Chapel is a great example.

A cardinal accused Michelangelo of immorality and obscenity because the artist had painted nude figures on the work. Michelangelo responded by painting him being eaten by a snake in Hell.
posted by HabeasCorpus at 10:49 AM on April 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

The Jam's Butterfly Collector is a rant about groupies and social climbers in general, and allegedly about Soo Catwoman in particular ("There's tarts and whores but you're much more / You're a different kind cause you want their minds / And you just don't care cause you've got no pride / It's just a face on your pillowcase that thrills you").
posted by scody at 10:50 AM on April 16, 2009

Roy Lichtenstein's Brush Stroke is a good-natured jab at Abstract Expressionism.
posted by Benjamin Nushmutt at 10:51 AM on April 16, 2009

Oh, and Marvin Gaye's Here, My Dear is so explicitly about the end of his marriage that Anna Gordy considered suing him.
posted by scody at 10:53 AM on April 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

For poetry, there's always "The Book of my Enemy Has Been Remaindered," by Clive James:

The book of my enemy has been remaindered
And I am pleased.
In vast quantities it has been remaindered
Like a van-load of counterfeit that has been seized
And sits in piles in a police warehouse,
My enemy's much-prized effort sits in piles
In the kind of bookshop where remaindering occurs.
Great, square stacks of rejected books and, between them, aisles
One passes down reflecting on life's vanities,
Pausing to remember all those thoughtful reviews
Lavished to no avail upon one's enemy's book --
For behold, here is that book
Among these ranks and banks of duds,
These ponderous and seeminly irreducible cairns
Of complete stiffs.

The book of my enemy has been remaindered
And I rejoice.
It has gone with bowed head like a defeated legion
Beneath the yoke.
What avail him now his awards and prizes,
The praise expended upon his meticulous technique,
His individual new voice?
Knocked into the middle of next week
His brainchild now consorts with the bad buys
The sinker, clinkers, dogs and dregs,
The Edsels of the world of moveable type,
The bummers that no amount of hype could shift,
The unbudgeable turkeys.

Yea, his slim volume with its understated wrapper
Bathes in the blare of the brightly jacketed Hitler's War Machine,
His unmistakably individual new voice
Shares the same scrapyart with a forlorn skyscraper
Of The Kung-Fu Cookbook,
His honesty, proclaimed by himself and believed by others,
His renowned abhorrence of all posturing and pretense,
Is there with Pertwee's Promenades and Pierrots--
One Hundred Years of Seaside Entertainment,
And (oh, this above all) his sensibility,
His sensibility and its hair-like filaments,
His delicate, quivering sensibility is now as one
With Barbara Windsor's Book of Boobs,
A volume graced by the descriptive rubric
"My boobs will give everyone hours of fun".

Soon now a book of mine could be remaindered also,
Though not to the monumental extent
In which the chastisement of remaindering has been meted out
To the book of my enemy,
Since in the case of my own book it will be due
To a miscalculated print run, a marketing error--
Nothing to do with merit.
But just supposing that such an event should hold
Some slight element of sadness, it will be offset
By the memory of this sweet moment.
Chill the champagne and polish the crystal goblets!
The book of my enemy has been remaindered
And I am glad.

posted by mothershock at 11:01 AM on April 16, 2009 [4 favorites]

Duchamp made Fountain and displayed it in a 1912 Armory show in order to deride artists and their works' sense of grandeloquence and self-importance. I.E. "this toilet is just as much as work of art as your grand historical painting."

Georgia O'Keefe painted skyscrapers, despite her husband Alfred Steiglitz' insistance that such subjects were not the proper subject matter for women to paint.
posted by HabeasCorpus at 11:06 AM on April 16, 2009

The Beatles' "Sexy Sadie" -- John Lennon said he wrote it about his disillusionment with the Maharishi. (It was originally called "Maharishi," which could easily be sung to the same tune.) I don't know if that makes them "enemies."
posted by Jaltcoh at 11:12 AM on April 16, 2009

Music again: Tori Amos, Me and a Gun?

BTW, the person on that site to which I linked who made a ringtone out of that song needs to be shot between his head.

I know it's not quite what you're looking for, but lots of authors (at least from Robert Burns through David Foster Wallace) personify chemicals that are their nemeses.
posted by quarantine at 11:12 AM on April 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

You may find this previous AskMe about songs written to spite an ex or enemy helpful.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:20 AM on April 16, 2009

Response by poster: To all who posted songs: Thank you for these- they have contributed to my inquiry.

But, right now- I think I'm first and foremost interested in visual arts ( I should have said "all visual media" in my post) and especially in examples of paintings/drawings/ photos/ sculptures that were produced by artists channeling and expressing their feelings towards a personal enemy.

"The Book of My Enemy has been Remaindered" further up is a good written example of the spirit of what I'm seeking- if that helps.
posted by hellboundforcheddar at 11:30 AM on April 16, 2009

Artimesia Gentileschi's Judith Slaying Holofernes?

A very powerful & dramatic piece, painted by a famous 17th century artist who underwent a painful, humiliating court trial trying to bring her rapist to justice - she was tortured and accused of promiscuity even though the rapist was eventually proven guilty. This work is generally agreed to be a graphic representation of her feelings about this tragic life event.
posted by Weng at 5:54 PM on April 16, 2009

Louise Bourgeois' sculpture "Maman" depicts her mother as an enormous spider. No way to escape the antipathy there.
posted by acorncup at 6:38 AM on April 17, 2009

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