Belgian artist Mikes Poppe recently chained himself to a four-ton block of marble and then attempted to free himself by chiseling away at it. His goal was to demonstrate how the “inescapable burden of history” imprisons artists.
Nineteen days later he gave up and asked to be freed, admitting that he had “underestimated the marble.” Despite this, he said, “I don’t see that as a failure… On the contrary. I have been able to communicate with the public. I am now going to read the many comments in the guestbook and take a warm bath.”
Tommy McHugh, who at 51 “attempted to evacuate his bowels quickly due to a knock on the toilet door,” suffered a brain hemorrhage, and unlocked a previously hidden talent for creating poetry and art.
For the past 4 election cycles a man named Vermin Supreme has campaigned on a platform of time travel, zombie based alternative energy, mandatory tooth brushing laws, and a free pony for every American.
In 2012 an artist dressed up as the Hamburglar and biked around New York City throwing partially-eaten McDonald’s cheeseburgers at bystanders. The artist said he wanted it to be “one of those little things that messes up your whole day.”
The schizophrenic artist Mary Barnes discovered her talent while undergoing treatment at Kingsley Hall during which she was encouraged to regress to a childlike state and paint on the walls with her feces. When they needed a solution for the smell, they decided to give her paint.
Catherine Yass has been nominated for a Turner Prize, so this means that she’s a serious artist. Nevertheless, her plan to drop a piano off the top of a 27-story building in London, as a way to allow the community to “explore how sound travels,” has been vetoed by the local housing association. Locals apparently feared her plan was “dangerous and ludicrous.”
Chinese artist He Yunchang believes in suffering for his art. His performance pieces have included:
- Having one of his ribs removed so that he could wear it as a necklace.
- Having a doctor cut a one meter gash down the side of his body, without anesthesia.
- Encasing himself in a cube of quick-setting concrete for 24 hours.
- Trying to “cut a river in half” by suspending himself above it from a crane while holding a knife in the water, as blood dripped from cuts in his arms.
- Painting the fingernails and toenails of 10 mannequins with his own blood.
- Staring at 10,000 watt bulbs to damage his eyesight
- Burning his clothes while wearing them.
In 1974, an artist allowed her audience to use 72 objects (ranging from a feather to a loaded gun) on her however they wanted and she wouldn’t react for 6 hours. The audience became aggressive, and when the six hours were up, everyone ran away to avoid confrontation.