• John Waters, Pet, 2009, color photograph, 18 x 24".

    John Waters

    McClain Gallery

    Would John Waters’s artwork be any good if it wasn’t by John Waters? That’s a hard question to answer, because it’s nearly impossible to separate the experience of looking at his art (featuring such Waters-esque things as celebrities, bodily fluids, B movies, and tabloids) from what one knows of his work as a director, author, and public figure. So the question becomes, Are judgments about artistic quality beside the point when dealing with a subject whose very success lies in the exaltation of bad taste?

    I ask because many of the pieces featured in “Neurotic,” a sort of miniretrospective of

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