Interactive performance art (nicknamed bullshART by the art world) is clearly on the rise. In June we felt the beginnings of the movement with Franklin Aucoin’s “Wonderwall,” an early August piece installed in Brooklyn. I got a chance to speak with Eli Jacobs, a young bullshARTophile, soon after he attended the event. Clearly mid-revelation, Eli described the experience: “We just went over to this guy’s apartment and painted his living room a new shade of beige. It was wild.”
Also influential was Monique Lablovska’s fall opener “Toxic,” where gallerygoers were blown away watching Monique’s little brother repeatedly dial Poison Control and claim it was a “wrong number.”
The most notable of these young bullshARTists is Jake O’Leary, who started working just this year. I was lucky enough to attend a show of his in late August. Dressed in Hanes boxers and an oversized Giants jersey, O’Leary was seated on a couch in the middle of the gallery. He proceeded to eat salt and vinegar chips and drink Bud Light while watching ESPN for several hours. Safe to say I walked out of the show in tears, blissfully reeling from the several epiphanies I had about existence during the show’s duration.
I ran into him at a nearby newsstand and he agreed to elaborate more on his artistic process:
“At first I did it as a joke. I couldn’t believe that people paid me for this crap…. and now I’m kind of terrified – and trapped. They won’t let me do anything without calling it revolutionary and making me do it in front of the public! I shaved my beard into a chinstrap for an hour the other day – just as a joke, you know, to send a picture to my friends and see what they’d say – and somehow everyone knows and is calling it a ‘radical statement on capitalism’! Sometimes I wake up in a gallery and don’t even know how I got there – I’m pretty sure there’s some type of art mafia making sure I can never stop performing. Please make sure this gets published – I’m so desperate. Please.”
A true visionary – even his personal interviews contain complex artistic subtext. Clearly he has a lot to say about Syria.