Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but some might think state government support for the arts should not include taxpayer subsidies of ballet dancers being paid to empty their bowels into transparent receptacles as “performance art” in a contemporary art gallery. It seems apt the nation’s crappest newspaper, The Age, was there to celebrate the occasion.
It will come as no surprise The Age naturally enthusiastically cheers on performance art at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art involving dancers taking a crap in public on ‘transparent seats’ in the presence of undoubtedly impressed gallery visitors and hipsters.
This past weekend, Australia’s crappest newspaper enthused:
Difficult territory is a cornerstone of the visual arts – so artist Mikala Dwyer knew it would be confronting last night when she invited Balletlab dancers to empty their bowels as part of a performance at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art.
The two-hour act saw the six dancers, masked but naked beneath sheer garments, move around a room in the gallery before sitting on transparent stools and performing – only if they were moved to do so – what is usually one of our most private and rarely discussed daily acts.
We note the artist referred to her work as “democratic” because everyone does it so you may as well do it in the art gallery and that she herself participated in a video recording of same.
And in keeping with OH&S requirement this democratic festival involved certain exacting safety measures and poo precautions:
ACCA did extensive public and occupational health and safety risk assessments.
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.
Mind you, you could read the government’s description and not necessarily realise the work involved live excretion in full public view:
Three works, including a major sculpture series and performance project, comprise this new exhibition from one of Australia’s most important contemporary artists. Dwyer’s approach to installation marked a turning point in Australian art practice in the 1990s, moving away from the discreet object to the all inclusive environmental play of new conceptualism. Linking ACCA’s three galleries with new works that explore the body, transition and transformation, Dwyer will use a variety of materials and gestures that take the audience on a journey in and out again.
The Age reported the artiste: “hopes we will (discuss the work) do so with seriousness, maturity and sensitivity.”
Not much hope of that here.