David Thompson
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May 29, 2013

Comments

Mr_Eugenides

We all knew that modern art was shit; who knew that modern shit was art?

sk60

A video of a private version of the performance, in which Dwyer participated, is also on view.

Well I'm sold. Flight booked.

Steve 2

The scent of progressivism.

John D

Pity the stage hands.

rjmadden

she hoped ACCA visitors would think and talk about something we have been socialised to consider dirty and shameful, and have historically hidden from view, even though it is perfectly natural

I'm pretty sure small children and the elderly talk about it quite a lot.

David

I’m pretty sure small children and the elderly talk about it quite a lot.

And the parents of small children probably mention it now and then.

But hey, taboo!

Steve 2

I'm glad Tony Hart wasn't into that sort of thing. Morph would have been horrifying.

David

Morph would have been horrifying.

You’re desecrating my childhood. Stop it at once.

David

What’s funny, I think, is how these people seem to view the public. Their inferiors, as it were. If you take the artists, gallery directors and their press releases at face value, fans of performance art (and gallery-goers in general) must be the most prudish and unworldly people walking the face of the Earth. They always seem to need challenging with nudity and excrement. As if they’d otherwise be wandering about, buttoned-up and tutting, in the mid-1950s.

[ Added: ]

Such is the artists’ vanity, they seem to believe that the typical reaction to the same old, same old - nudity, excrement and general pissing about - must be one of shock and feelings of transgression. (“Oh my God, someone’s crapping in a transparent box! And in a gallery! I must re-evaluate my repressed bourgeois worldview immediately!”) It doesn’t seem to occur to them that a more common reaction, a more plausible reaction, might be mockery or weary contempt.

jones

I'm having trouble processing this......

The intent perhaps?

What's next?.....artistic ritual mass suicide? Would certainly leave a lasting impression......with the audience anyhow....

Could also win a Darwin award at the same time...How 'with it' is that?

tempdog

What's next?.....artistic ritual mass suicide?

Late term abortions on stage now! Or has somebody done that already?

JuliaM

"...and performing - only if they were moved to do so..."

Well, I find that oddly comforting.

David

Or has somebody done that already?

More or less. By allegedly using abortifacient drugs to cause “repeated, self-induced miscarriages,” art student Aliza Shvarts was “creating an ambiguity that isolates the locus of ontology to an act of readership.”

Which is nice.

jones

By allegedly using abortifacient drugs to cause “repeated, self-induced miscarriages,” art student Aliza Shvarts was “creating an ambiguity that isolates the locus of ontology to an act of readership.”


OK, I'm outraged.....No, really....

BenSix

We all knew that modern art was shit; who knew that modern shit was art?

And I knew that modern art was a load of old wank but this is ridiculous.

Dr Cromarty

Presumably pissing on a Koran wouldn't get you a hefty grant. Seems there are still some taboos/ limits to 'edginess' that 'brave' 'transgressive' types are unwilling to cross. For some strange reason. Odd, when breathless discussion of all things to do with Islam is so much part of the zeitgeist.

David

OK, I’m outraged.....No, really....

The key word is allegedly. Apparently, making people believe that you’ve deliberately inflicted repeated miscarriages on yourself and then filmed it is… well, radical and edgy. And terribly clever. What with the plastic sheets covered in blood and unspecified tissue. That some people – say, people who’ve recently lost a baby - might find it repugnant, was, for Ms Shvarts and her tutor, just icing on the cake. Because they’re so radical.

Thank goodness we have these enlightened, clever people showing us the way.

David

Incidentally, the TypePad spam filter is still twitchy. If anyone has trouble with comments not appearing, email me and I’ll dislodge them.

Jason

"even though it is perfectly natural".

Ah, the joys of the Naturalistic Fallacy. It's "natural", and therefore deserving of public display. Like botulism, or leprosy, or starvation, or stupidity. All natural, therefore all good.

Bah.

Franklin

Peter Plagens, 2010:

There's a double-gallery exhibition still up in New York called The Visible Vagina. It's another one of those didactic anthology shows purporting to bring some issue that artists think regular folk have either thought about incorrectly, or have repressed entirely, out into the open and, in the patois of today's art world, "address," "confront," "deconstruct," "unpack," and "interrogate" the hell out of it. ... But gone is that culture-wars attitude of "Go ahead, trash the galleries like Spinal Tap in a cheap hotel room as your 'piece'; see if we care." Nobody outside scattered camps of academic realism gets an elevated pulse anymore from yet another work of art that tears an actual hole in a museum wall and tells viewers they'd better get on the right side of semiotic deconstruction, or else. Art that plumbs the arcane and poses as radical has become as common as a tabloid headline.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2010/02/18/but-what-does-it-mean.html

KFell

I'm torn about sharing this with my father, who last week was in a hospital ward atop a commode behind curtains answering the consequences of having his colon stented. It had been blocked for 9 weeks. The relief was dramatic and splendid, but, while there is an element of the surreal in conversing with your father while nature asserts itself so emphatically, I failed to apply for a grant to dignify him as an artistic exhibit. My problem is, I don't know if this would help compensate him for all the other undignified things he was obliged to undergo. A grandiloquent title plaque has to be just the thing, surely?

David

Franklin,

purporting to bring some issue that artists think regular folk have either thought about incorrectly, or have repressed entirely,

That’s the nub of it. And that’s what’s faintly insulting – not the shitting itself, but the assumption that we should find it compelling, disturbing or gaspworthy. Taken at face value, the professed relationship with the punter is basically one of condescension: “The proles haven’t given enough thought to the deep, deep wonders of public shitting. We must shock their tiny minds and set them free! Ooh, let’s take a dump in a gallery!” The self-flattery is hilarious. And even on the level of juvenile provocation – which, all claims to the contrary, is where these things originate – it’s piss-poor too. In a world where Two Girls One Cup has been seen by millions of people and parodied to death, it’s game over, baby.

Trimegistus

I've got an idea for the ultimate "transgressive" performance art piece: locking the exits and firebombing the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art while people are shitting on stage. It challenges our ideas about what art is, it's natural (combustion is natural), it transgresses pretty much every law and custom imaginable . . .

. . . and as a bonus there might be less of this insanity in the future.

Watcher

"...and performing - only if they were moved to do so..."

I suppose then a poor performer can be fired for having constipation? Sorry, but it had to be said...

JeremiadBullfrog

"As she said, this is humanity's most democratic act [...] ''Shit has a great truth to it,'' she said."

Oddly enough, considering today's political class, I think I'm in full agreement.

Rafi

A video of a private version of the performance, in which Dwyer participated, is also on view.

But is there video of the audience that turns up to watch this shit (literally)?

Rich Rostrom

Mr Eugenides | May 29, 2013 at 09:37:

We all knew that modern art was shit; who knew that modern shit was art?

This chap figured it out in 1961.

Yes, Ms. Dwyer may think she is avant-garde, but in fact is over 50 years arriére-garde.

David

But is there video of the audience that turns up to watch this shit (literally)?

You’d think that would be an obvious project for an art student, or a filmmaker, or maybe an anthropologist. Make up some ludicrous crapfest – I mean, a deliberate ludicrous crapfest – stage it at some modish gallery, publicise it, mention the artist’s “practice” and how “challenging” it is, how it “interrogates” something or other, etc., and then discreetly film the kinds of people who turn up and what they talk about. It might be fun to see their expressions as the crapfest unfolds, getting ever more inane and scatological, apparently in all seriousness.

Someone must have done that, surely?

Darleen

Sorry, Ms. Dwyer, for all the daring and in-your-face you uncultured bourgeois swine art, but I'm not able or willing to attend,

See, this weeks I'm on "grandma duty" ... my [gasped] married daughter & son-in-law [omg the heteronormativity!] ...

TRIGGER ALERT

... just had a baby girl. They also have a 19 month old son, who I am chasing around while they concentrate on getting into a routine with ...

So, believe me, I'm seeing plenty of poop right now.

Darleen

[apologize for spelling/grammar errors ... said 19 m/o is trying to *help* me on my laptop as I type]

the wolf

Of course, contemporary art is sometimes very challenging...

Not really. Just have a decent amount of fiber in your diet. I also find a cup of coffee in the morning will get me going.

Joan

I also find a cup of coffee in the morning will get me going.

TABOO!

rabbit

I would like to stage my own art performance, heavily subsidized from the public purse for maximum profundity, consisting of bringing in sheep one at a time and fleecing them.

Mike James

If there were a report in the next day's The Age that a mob had formed and hurled Molotov cocktails and the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art ended up burned to the ground, I'd figure the Centre was just begging for that to happen.

The money's all run out. We can't afford to subsidize these sorts in their permanent childhood anymore.

Frank

The Holy Mountain. Alejandro Jodorowsky was crapping into perspex boxes in the seventies too. From memory he cooked it afterwards. In terms of nonsense he managed to sustain the idiocy for 114 minutes and with much more thematic variation. As such, better value for the art dollar.

dicentra

Wow. Mr_Eugenides wins the thread on only the first comment!

dicentra

Someone must have done that, surely?

Dunno about that, but when Murphy Brown's painter tries to exhibit a ceiling mural, well... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOxu56BboF0

Wm T Sherman

Anthony Weiner was ahead of his time. And now - vindication. It's not just for the flaky avant-garde anymore -- it's gone mainstream. Henceforth, the bodily functions of our new ruling class are to be ground into our faces, to show who's in charge. But be warned -- if an ordinary peon should dare to indulge in such exhibitionism, they'll be dealt with in the usual and time-honored way of neutralizing obscure and unconnected weirdos and felons.

There are early grocery store magazine rack reports to the effect that Hillary Clinton is about to come out of the closet in her pending autobiography. I can hardly wait for the visual aids. The peon's eye view of her and Huma on an overhead sheet of plexiglass could well wrap up the Presidency in '16.

bgates

wandering about, buttoned-up and tutting, in the mid-1950s.

That's probably their mental image, isn't it? One wonders if they've ever given a thought to how many of the buttoned-up and tutting fellows of the mid-1950s were either ten or forty years removed from the experience of seeing feces in a public place, extruding through a brand new hole in a good friend or the next man down the line. I bet some of those gentlemen had every artistic thought that could be wrung out of the experience, and beat Hitler besides.

David

bgates,

That’s probably their mental image, isn’t it?

Well, the assumption that the audience is stuffy, uptight or in some way defective and therefore needs challenging is commonplace and, more to the point, patronising. And so the director of the ACCA tells us, with a straight face, that, “Of course, contemporary art is sometimes very challenging, but ACCA’s role is to work with challenging ideas.” Note the conceit and dishonesty. Watching people shit in a gallery is “challenging,” see? I mean, it must be, otherwise it would just be… er, well, juvenile and silly. Something done by narcissists who couldn’t bear to grow up. And this is the self-flattering lie that incompetent artists so often hide behind. For instance, in the Guardian, on the subject of “new” art, the artist Michael Craig-Martin said,

For many this is the first time in their lives they have come across against something that does not find a comfortable place in their picture of things, something that resists their understanding. It is a very unnerving feeling, and they often dismiss the work as rubbish or the artist as fraudulent. Could it be the consequence of a failure in their education?

Again, note how condescending it is. If you, the lowly punter, aren’t impressed, it must be your own fault. Because the artist is never fraudulent, or incompetent, or just full of shit. And so, if you object to being taxed in order to bankroll tat like this, or this pitiful drek, or this expensive exercise in dirt relocation, it must be because you’re “unnerved” and insufficiently clever. See, you’re just not as elevated as the artist who’s pissing away the money that you had to earn.

rxc

Sounds like a good item of public spending for sequestration...

Roz

Now take a deep breath

I see what you did there.

Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA

Art is supposed to be transgressive, until you transgress against the wrong people.

AC1

I'm a two art shows a day man myself.

Sam

David, if you're ever in Shoreditch…

http://hurryupharry.org/2013/05/30/guardian-coffee/
http://order-order.com/2013/05/30/guardian-in-the-black/

David

David, if you’re ever in Shoreditch…

Heh. Yes, I saw. It’s all a bit Nathan Barley. I couldn’t help noticing the coffee shop’s emphasis on all-digital trendiness (and lack of newspapers), which hardly bodes well for the Guardian itself.

[ Added: ]

A brave reporter has ventured inside:

The first impressions weren’t good. While this was obviously an attempt at a “hip coffee shop”, it was clearly designed to be the kind of place where BBC researchers can charge their phones before going to Café Oto… I know Rome wasn’t built in a day, but you couldn’t help but feel that most people involved in this enterprise were somewhat embarrassed by it. This section, which I guess is meant to resemble a cosy living room in a loft development, actually bore more resemblance to the living room in some care home you might see on Panorama.

Oh, and water costs £2.

ertdfg

When your "art" could be replicated by a 2-year-old child or monkey with no special skills/training; I have to question calling it "art".

What's your next "performance art"? Putting on a shirt? Boiling water? Tying your shoes?

Ok, to be fair a 2 year old can't tie his own shoes, I'm not sure if a monkey could or not.

Pungeon.blogspot.com

I'm having trouble processing this......

The intent perhaps?

Depends™.

Diane

The work, while challenging taboos, never becomes sensational or gratuitous. It's wonderful, powerful work."

I'm so glad that sitting naked on a plastic stool and taking a shit in front of an audience isn't sensational or gratuitous.

Bart

The lack of self-awareness in the final sentences made me chuckle: "The transparent seats were covered at all times during the performance and exhibition opening. They were partly emptied, disinfected, sealed and returned to the gallery after the performance and no staff handled them"

This "powerful, wonderful work" (in the modest estimation of its director) appears to lack the power to challenge its own makers' "institutionalised ideas" about poo being dirty.

I fear its potential for ushering in a global revolution in consciousness may not be as great as its creators had wished.

David

Bart,

This “powerful, wonderful work” (in the modest estimation of its director) appears to lack the power to challenge its own makers’ “institutionalised ideas” about poo being dirty. I fear its potential for ushering in a global revolution in consciousness may not be as great as its creators had wished.

Bingo.

Why, it’s almost as if they were the kind of vapid chest-puffing ninnies one shouldn’t ever take seriously. Or allow near public money.

Matt

A stinking hot vindaloo, half a dozen Cooper's Red ales and a 7g packet of baker's yeast should get the show going.

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