Kerfuffle at Duchamp opening - art bundled out of opening!
> Art Theory and History
by b'art Homme
Friday night (27/7/2012) at the opening of "Peripheral relations" - Adam art gallery - a survey of Marcel Duchamp's art influence in New Zealand 1960 - 2011 Barry Thomas' contribution - a sign alteration so the show reads... "pheral rats..." see photos related to his bringing a 40 metre long piece of string into the show. On the end of the string (the gallery end) was a photograph of Chris - a homeless person. Written on this was an invitation for the holder (receiver) to follow the string and come and meet Chris. Kristelle Plimmer - (Jeweller of Plimmer fame) was the second only recipient of the work so she was duely "red stickerred" by Thomas who duely then said "sold to the lowest bidder". Then the gallery honcho arrived - increasingly pursed lips and - tore the string and photo out of Kristelle's hands then bunded the string up - and out of art history. Yeah right. As Kristelle said on her facebook page something like - as if Duchamp would have minded! String - it's so, so offensive Nay? Thomas is trying to see if the work has been binned or "kept out of respect's way"?
High art and the homeless. "...given the fallen and the literati's gas"
And the title of this censored work... "COMFORT ZONES"
Adam art gallery sign altered (improved) see new photos...
And today's addition... the wondrous capital Times News paper's story:
Curators turf out subversive act
1/08/2012 10:08:00 a.m.
Confrontational artist, Barry Thomas, left, is confronted by a gallery rep.
The real world of homelessness has no place in an art gallery after a local artist attempted an homage to Marcel Duchamp at last Friday’s opening at Adam Art Gallery. It was quashed after only a few people saw it.
Artist and filmmaker Barry Thomas was not part of the show, but arrived at the opening with a long piece of string attached to a photograph of a homeless man named Chris, with a message inviting the viewer to follow the string outside to meet the man.
The gallery was hosting the opening of Peripheral Relations: Marcel Duchamp and New Zealand Art 1960-2011, based on the PhD work of Marcus Moore and showing Duchamp works alongside 29 New Zealand artists he influenced.
“Chris wasn’t actually there. He was too embarrassed, but he was very happy to be involved,” says Thomas. Outside the gallery, at the other end of the string was a statement describing Chris’ life with a phone number to call to help. “I was fully expecting my phone to get filled up with rich people wanting to help.”
Instead, while interacting with gallery-goer Kristelle Plimmer about his piece, Thomas was asked to move it to the side by a gallery representative, who also removed the picture of Chris.
The gallery did not respond before deadline.
Plimmer says all were polite and not disruptive, but the piece came apart before she was able to follow it to the finale.
“He was subverting the gallery, but that’s in the Duchampian tradition,” says Plimmer, an artist and former professor at Whitireia. If she’d been exhibiting that night, she wouldn’t have been offended by his act, which didn’t damage other works or disrupt their viewing.
“I personally don’t see a lot of harm in it, although galleries might find it disruptive,” she says. “Art is not just about being in the white space. It’s very easy for people to see the gallery as a sacred space, as a temple of art, and he’s standing up in church and saying, ‘Hang on a sec. Jesus hung out with the poor people.’ It’s sad they took it away but it’s their right.”
Thomas’ past work includes The Cabbage Patch, subversively planted in a vacant lot at the corner of Manners and Willis in 1978. He also founded rADz, Radical Art Advertisements that aired on television during the late 1990s.
He says he was considered for the Duchamp exhibition, but not included, and his piece was a comment “on the process of having curatorial power. It’s not so much getting in the show but to challenge an individual’s right to express him or herself and the great power of the academy to include or exclude people,” he says.“I didn’t want to throw it in their faces, just a gentle reminder that the art world and poverty could have connections.”
"All art is a challenge, the radical growing tip of culture... I call it le ganteur - the artist provocatuer throws down the glove/gauntlet of challenge aux les memes de jour" Says Thomas.
Update # 2 - The work didn't get binned - it still exists in Director's office to be kept in the University's archives and available on request.
The sign altertion was "un-defaced"... faced afresh by the University.
Thomas has called a public think tank on the plight of the homeless in the capital - to get creative people together to find housing solutions - currently Wellington has 12,000 unrentable office spaces yet a loss of 1,500 social housing beds - not a good social equity look for the creative capital. And exactly what does this say about the ability of the market to provide?!?
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jeeze that b'art homme - heeeeez soooooooo norty