Performance art can be potent

Posted by | June 04, 2020 | Social psychology, Well-Being | No Comments

When I last visited the Art Gallery of NSW I made a beeline to the contemporary arts. There were many little rooms there. The first one I entered showed video of nude or near-nude models on the inner wall.

While I was standing at the door of the room letting those images soak in, I noticed three individuals who looked like guards start dancing and singing. They moved in a circle around me and sang something like this: “We’re so contemporary, we’re very contemporary!” Just as suddenly they stopped and went back to their original positions as if nothing had happened. My thought: Nude models and performance art – this museum has everything!

I am a fan of performance art. So much so that I give it a go myself at times.

For instance, I arranged with a store-clerk friend of mine to stage a French scene where she works in Armidale.

I brought my goods to her to pay for them. She gave me her usual cheery hello. I responded in French: “Bonjour, Mademoiselle.” When I had paid for my goods, she said to me: “Voulez-vous un catalogue? I replied: “Non merci. Av revoir.”  She later told me that the customer behind me gave her a smirk as I, the French customer, left.

Our performance had an audience of one person. Oh well, performance artists have to start somewhere.  

We then developed a new plan: When I buy something where she works, we will converse in the click talk of some African bush people. It may take me a while to find and learn the right click words. I am no genius with foreign languages, even easy ones.

I just read about a memorable example of performance art. Maurizio Cattelan, an artist who had previously made a bundle selling a golden toilet, recently sold for $120,000 a banana duct-taped to a wall. A few days later in Miami, Florida, a performance artist, David Datuna, took the banana off the exhibit wall and ate it. Would you have eaten the banana? If so, you have the heart (and the stomach) of a performance artist.

A while later I taped a carrot to my office wall. Call my artwork derivative, if you wish.

Yes, I did subsequently eat the carrot. When Oscar Wilde famously said that “all art is utterly useless,” he did not have in mind my carrot masterpiece.


Photo by Moritz Kindler on Unsplash

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