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Great Art or Gross Out?

This year, British artist Marc Quinn will make a cast of his head out of his own frozen blood. It will be the fifth such mask that the artist has made. He says he is making the “blood heads” as a way to document the aging process. The work has brought Quinn fame and controversy. Some people praise his work for pushing the boundaries of portraiture. Others criticize it was a stunt meant to shock and disgust people.

i figure they can do whatever they want even if it is asinine

I'm appalled and disappointed that Scholastic even considered this for inclusion in Scholastic Art.
I tore this page out of every issue before I passed this out to students. The issue was great - we covered it from cover to cover, but p.12 had to go-no way would I pass this out - too many emotional problems in school as it is!

Hi Judith,

Thanks so much for taking the time to weigh in on our debate topic for the Feb. 2011 issue of Scholastic ART. Teacher feedback is essential to helping us shape the content of the magazine.

Artists today are pushing the envelope in many different ways. Quinn is certainly a provocative artist. His blood heads are very famous and one of them was recently acquired by the National Portrait Gallery in London. We felt his work made for a strong debate topic.

Our inclusion of the artist is not intended as endorsement of his process, but as an opportunity to encourage students to think critically about art and how artists try to top themselves in the process redefining what is art.

Of course, no offense was meant and we certainly don't want you to have to tear out pages from your magazines! I'd love to hear from you directly regarding. Please feel free to email me:

Tara Welty
Editor, Scholastic Art

I think yes becuase as long as they use they own blood it still ok.If we do something people never do it,it will change the world.Christopher Columbus he belive the world was circle no matter what another people say!I agree to do something people never do it ! even it crazy ! even it terrible! It still something changing the world I hope someday I will do something people never do it.It not wrong to walk another way,it not wrong to thing different way,it ok to be different.By:Army Grade7

I think yes, because if we use something that other people didn't do before. It would be a new thing that interesting and beautiful. Most of people think it strange but it is interesting thing.
I think that it is good but use too much own blood is dangerous.
by Win
grade 7

I think it good to use blood because some artist dont know what they suppose to use ,and sometimes they think if they use blood they will be famous ,and alot of people will remember their art for along period of time.From por gr7

i think use blood is cool ,but it is to high a risk. For me, using blood as artwork is make art worse. It disgustiong and ugly.
From T G.7

I think the blood head art is really cool even though it made from his own blood.It doesn't matter what material they use just not harm others and themselves.It's also look interesting for the audience and it's hard to see like this.

From Nui G.7

I think your artwork is good and it is interesting for me. However, your artwork might be not good for some audience bcause they might not like the way you should your art work. I think the better way is you can use any materials. For example, you can use the soil, instead your blood and your flesh.


I think yes. It's a good effort. Who will ever think to make bloody mask? And really make? His attempt really good but it makes audience feel bad. When I saw "Blood Head" I felt disgusted. It's interesting and nice mask, but it doesn't think about audience's reaction.


I think Marc Quinn is very good artist he has lots of idia about art. Many people think the blood is very dirty and repulsive but the blood is very important in art,he gave much attention to art.It have a lots of interesting in the works.

I think yes because they use blood to do their work, it's interesting and makes people feel interested their artwork, and sometimes they want to something that different from other people do. And have people don't agree with them because someone thinks like the blood is so dirty. But however they can use what they want to use.

Grade 7

Yes,I think it isn't wrong to use a human organism to make a sculpture. Art can represent in many ways and his work is one kind of art. In my opinion I think he want to represent an under skin part of his face that cover with blood. Blood,make a sculpture not a sculpture,it make a sculpture look more realistic to the owner.

By:Ruj grade 7

i think yes because most of people like to see a new things and interesting so people can learn some thing from him some artist can learn from him to and artists from the past which does not use the blood of the works they this work will be a great work for the people.

Ton Grade 7

My students felt that it was a waste of human blood. That 9 pints can save another humans life. I agree with them. Even though he can choose what materials to choose for his work, in an environment where sustainablility is key, using healthy human blood to create a piece of art is thoughtless and wasteful.

i said no because its not normal. There are people that need this blood but thats him not me. The point of being an artist is doing stuff people would never think of. but thats my comment. And it its ugly anyways

u right bro its ugly

its cool i think thats the point of being an artist so i think they can do what they wanna because they are trying to satisfy us by doing something nobody could think of so i think its cool but not normal.

art should be provocative and make people think. the blood heads certainly do that. it look fun as long as no one is being hurt. in the process it doesnt matter what materials an artist uses.

i put no because i think it is not good to put blood or stuff like that because you do not know what his blood is like. Also some people do not like blood on their art and because they do not like a bad art it is not good for blood. because it not good for half of the people because they may not like blood on art so this why i put no for this comment if will be good art if no blood on it.

I think that is really cool because he uses his own blood to paint his own art. an you are an amazing at all the art he does. but don't you think that the blood could be contagious because he could have aids or HIv or other diseases.but he is still a good artist.

I find this interesting even if I am a student it is still odd ,but if he is not harming anyone or himself I respect his ideas.Furthermore I just hope no one else takes art to such extreme lengths.

Hi I'm Pat, my comment is everyone can use everything to create their art work so, my answer is YES!! But the thing is it was interesting. They would be boring if they don't have the strage idea like using blood to create an art like Marc Quinn do.

I think no because it is dangerous. I know, artist want to get interesting but, artist don't want to do dangerous things. Because if artist challenging and then die, and then artist can't make somethings it mean is art is brake. And blood art is not just interesting and sometimes give bad feel.

Taiki Grade 6

Yes because it very interesting because it makes me feel scared and, it not same with another artist. But if you use a lot of blood it will make you hurt.I want to know where did he get his idea from?
grade 6

I think yes that the artist can use anything they want because if you use something that is different from other your art work will be very interesting. To my opinion I think that it look Gross,spooky,and ugly

Grade 6

I think yes because it ok to use blood and do you think that you will dont have more blood. You think that it a good art really but do you think that another people will say it ugly but that.I think sometime the art is a disgusting sometime but some it also can make to be nice and when i saw your art and my friend say it nice and the first time I think that it ugly and i think that it is also can be the art also.
Aoo Gr6

Artist have every right to use their blood has long has they dont harm others

little kids should not look at this but i think thids is a greaat idea as long as he dosnt die or we die its perfectly fine

I dont like it but if your not hurting yourself or other people i guess its ok but gross. I dont think its good to loose so much blood. I voted yes because I think you should express yourself in art anyway you want and use whatever you want. Some things though you should NOT use at ALL. It can be dangerous.

I was appalled that Scholastic Magazine would put the work of Mark Quinn before our children. To show controversial work of that nature in a museum, where people have the (hopefully informed) choice to pay and view an exhibit is one thing. To put such disturbing ideas before an often already emotionally charged constituency; before our kids, who we are theoretically raising up to be discerning, socially responsible young adults is severely misguided. Rather than share this issue with my students, I shared it with my principal. She too feels that such a disturbing piece has no place in our schools.

A central part of the art making process in my middle school classroom is encouraging my students to consider their audience as they create their work. We talk alot about considering how one's actions may affect others. I would not want to be responsible for encouraging even one student to do something drastic and self destructive in order to emulate an artist or gain attention for him or herself.

Please save the shock pieces for the museums, where we can choose to view or not to view them, and don't make our workload as teachers even greater by forcing us to censor your magazine before sharing with our students.

Thank you.

Dear Melize,

Thanks so much for taking the time to contact Scholastic about ART’s debate topic for the Feb. 2011 issue. Teacher feedback is essential to helping us shape the content of the magazine.

The debate is a new feature this year intended to encourage students to think critically about controversial issues in art. We are learning about which topics work and which ones to avoid, so your input is crucial.

Because the art by Mark Quinn is very famous and had been recently acquired by the National Portrait Gallery in London, we felt comfortable moving forward with the topic.

We in no way intended to endorse Quinn's process and emphasize that the artist took care not to harm himself or others in the process of making the work.

Of course, we want to be an asset in your classroom and we regret that we missed the mark this time. I welcome the opportunity to discuss this further with you. Please email me at:

Tara Welty, Editor

people should think about it as a one point perepctive-what would you think if you made this or something similar to what Quinn did? it really doesnt matter what materials you use its YOUR creativity and YOUR ideas. If someone judged what you think is art as something bad,would you care? I think its amazing.

Ms. Welty,

Our art teacher provided us with this article a few weeks ago. We were instantly fascinated and shocked by Quinn's blood heads to such extent that we decided to base our Theory of Knowledge (we are IB candidates) presentation on this controversial art. We definitely see the depth of his work. Art is all about personal expression, so artists should not be limited to specific media. Thank you for expanding our horizons! We hope to do well on our presentation!

Anne and Michelle: Wow! That is very exciting, I'm glad your found inspiration in Quinn's controversial work! Good luck on your presentation-I'd love to hear how it went.

The caption contest for this photo is closed.