A Bushwick artist is going to do something that many of us wouldn’t even let our intimate partners see — sit naked on a toilet — and she is going to do it for two whole days.
“The Artist Is Humbly Present” a durational performance by Lisa Levy, will take place at the Christopher Stout Gallery, (link NSFW) 299 Meserole St. in East Williamsburg, on Jan. 30-31.
“Ego and pretense has seriously f---ed with the quality of work being made in the art world. I'm also tired of the bulls--t trendy art dialogue about how the art world is driven by rich people who want shiny work and don't care about meaning as well. But mostly, I think it will be weirdly fun to be naked in public," Levy is quoted on the gallery’s site.
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Levy, also told Bushwick Daily, which describes the local as a "a self-proclaimed psychotherapist, artist, performer and comedian" that the piece is “kind of a joke," and a way to express her anger in a humorous way.
"I’m most excited about the experience, and I am really curious to see how the people will react. It’s a social experiment, like a lot of my work," she said.
The gallery elaborates more on the inspiration behind the performance and its artistic meaning:
Nowadays, the art market calls for work that is shiny and easy to digest which Levy feels distracts from artists making the work that they and their viewers will find most emotionally satisfying and connecting.
This recent report from Artnet News by Henri Neuendorf says it best: Gerhard Richter, the most expensive living artist in Europe, criticized the art market and denounced the hype surrounding contemporary artists, including himself, as a “cult of personality." Speaking to the German weekly Die Zeit, the 83-year-old painter said the exorbitant prices his artworks achieve at auction were proof of how “insanely the art market has developed," and how the prices have nothing to do with the work.
Referencing Marina Abramović's seminal 2010 performance at Moma, "The Artist is Present" as a symbol of contemporary art world pretense, Levy will recreate her own version of Marina Abramović's 2010 performance at Moma, "The Artist is Present" as her own "The Artist Is Humbly Present."
In her version, Levy will present herself completely naked, silent and sitting on a toilet. Across from her will be another toilet, which visitors may sit on across from her as in the original Abramović performance. That toilet will be presented lid closed with visitors responding to Lisa's performance however they wish, with the exception of touching her.
Whether you take the piece as “kind of joke,” or are truly curious about its artistic merits, then you can stop by the gallery on Jan. 30 and 31 from, from 1 to 6 p.m.