Why do "they" (i.e., Islamofascists, French weasels and the politically correct everywhere) hate us?
One reason is sexy young artists like 22-year-old Alex McQuilkin, just out of NYU, who has been blazing like a Tomahawk Missile through Europe. In Belgium and Spain, she was asked to sign papers certifying that she was 18 years old, after the gendarmes shut down her provocative videos. Alex also just completed a residency at 404 Arte Contemporanea in Naples and returns to Madrid this summer to Galeria de Arte Carmen de la Guerra as part of PhotoEspana '03.
In short, she is making the EU her graduate school.
McQuilkin, currently under exclusive contract to New York's Modern Culture, Inc., first achieved notoriety at the 2002 Armory Show, where her DVD Fucked, apparently featuring the nubile artiste being ravaged from behind, sold out, edition of 9, on opening night.
It turns out that the rear entry was actually simulated by a female friend of the artist.
Hot on its tail was Get Your Gun Up, in which the moonfaced cherub sends up spaghetti westerns by dueling with a femme friend in skinny star-embossed bikini bottoms, replacing six-shooters.
A visit to the artist's studio last year indicated, by virtue of vials of fake blood all over the place, that real simulated violence might be in the offing.
McQuilkin, who dominated her fellow NYU undergraduates with the benign cruelty of her precocious talent, delivers with new work, Teenage Daydream: It's Only Rock and Roll, and Teenage Daydream: In Vain, the latter currently in post-production.
Here we have the whole menu of USA hedonism and self-absorption which simultaneously repels and fascinates the world's America-haters.
In Rock and Roll Alex masochistically undulates in front of a bloody Kurt Cobain poster, slashed scars reaming her pretty, defiant face (surely enacted in thousands of suburban homes nightly).
In In Vain, she pouts and ponders to the make-up mirror, bloody wrists slathered in lace. When Alex starts to apply eyeliner, you swear she will slit her eye like an Andalusian dog! And since, we've only seen stills of this upcoming DVD, maybe she will!
To be sure, Dalí and Bunuël would have kissed McQuilkin's feet, though she hardly needs men of any stature to fill the deep plunging fantasia of her warped young mind.
To find Alex's equal as a fierce temptress, you have to go back past Madonna to Ann-Margret in Kitten with a Whip. If she continues to reify her every private desire, Alex McQuilkin will stand astride her generation of artists. Watch out, world!
CHARLIE FINCH is co-author of Most Art Sucks: Five Years of Coagula (Smart Art Press).