Sometimes in life the most radically subversive thing you can do is just simply be yourself. No proclamations. No manifestos. Often you don’t even know you are being radical until someone points out to you that just you being you is radical. Sometimes it’s pointed out in order to silence you or make you stumble via self-consciousness. Sometimes it says more about the other person’s limited world view than it does about your intentions. Often it is just about you taking matters into your own hands because if you don’t, then who will.
In the case of John O’Reilly this takes on an almost literal bravado. One can almost imagine a bored 1960s teen strolling through a gallery of old world masters wondering what it all has to do with today, and then impulsively ripping pages from a physique magazine and pasting them on the works, instantly making them more relatable.
In her staged recreations of historic events, Eleanor Antin does nothing to hide her own hand in interpreting the scenes rather than duplicating them, apologetically celebrating the raconteur’s slant in information sharing.
Recounting her experiences establishing women’s art collectives, Clarity Haynes points out that nobody really feels the need to label anything “straight white male art”, reminding us all that simply missing one piece of that trifecta of establishment labels us radical by default.
Embracing this differentness can be empowering, so if you’re going to take over the art world, you might as well be honest about it upfront and name your gallery Yellow Peril. Continue Reading →