Huffpost Arts

Outrageous Modern And Contemporary Art: A Primer (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

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With so much argument over Marni Kotak the woman who gave birth in an art gallery last week, it seemed only right to put things in perspective with some of the most controversial art of the last century.

Today, many of us are desensitized to graphic imagery. But a few choice artists since the 1900s—call them visionaries, geniuses, perverts or psychos—managed to create something so intensely riveting that they still make cheeks red and stomachs queasy.

The following works contain their fair share of extremes. The holy trinity of sex, evildoers and excrement runs rampant throughout. But to truly make a controversial work of art, the grotesque has to be shown in a new light, in a way that can't be shaken off after you leave the museum. If the image leaves your stomach reeling, it should do the same thing to your mind.

Take a look at some of our favorite controversial artworks of the last century. What do you think: are they works of genius or pieces of crap? (Aside from the one that is, quite literally, pieces of crap.) Do you wish we'd included 'A Fire in My Belly' or one of Robert Mapplethorpe's photos? Should we have substituted Emin's 'My Bed' for 'Everyone I've Ever Slept With?' Leave a comment and let us know!

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