SEX AND WAR: “UNKNOWN SOLDIER” EVOKES ANONYMOUS GOOD TIMES


Artist Sarah Lucas emerged in the 1990s as a so-called “YBA” (“Young British Artists”), one of a generation of British artists to capture the attention of the global art world. Her installation artwork pictured here is titled “Unknown Soldier” and is currently on view at the Hammer Museum of Art in Los Angeles. The artwork can be read on so many levels. Like much of Lucas’s work, there’s a sexual facet to the work. That sexual aspect, juxtaposed with the military concept of the unknown soldier, and the notions it conjures, war, death, masculinity (or is it femininity? Or androgyny?), and anonymity spawn myriad interpretations and readings of the work. Is this a comment on anonymous sex? Is that fluorescent light rod supposed to be phallic? Or is it just a light rod?