Saturday, October 4, 2008

Anything Can Be Art redux

As far as I am concerned, the following material speaks for itself.

From BBC News online:

Artist pulls bus with his big toe

An artist who previously pushed a monkey nut along the road with his nose for seven miles has pulled a bus 30m with his toe.

Mark McGowan, 38, dragged the 7.5 tonne vehicle on Wednesday in Camberwell, south London.

The stunt was in protest against bus lanes and mayor Ken Livingstone's "ridiculous traffic strategy".

The Big Toe Bus Pull began at 1000 BST and Mr McGowan made several attempts before completing the task.

In September last year the fine art graduate rolled a monkey nut with his nose from Goldsmiths College in New Cross, south London, to the door of Number 10 Downing Street to protest against student debt.

It took him 12 days to complete his challenge, with him covering about three-quarters of a mile every day.

He has also sat in a bath tub full of baked beans, with two chips up his nose and sausages wrapped around his head for 12 days to celebrate English culture and food.

Speaking about the bus stunt, Mr McGowan from Peckham, south London, said: "This project was a protest against the excessive use of bus lanes and against mayor Ken Livingstone's ridiculous traffic strategy.

"It is stupid that our all ready narrow roads are being carved up, causing endless road nightmares for car drivers."

The bus had a driver for health and safety reasons.



Again, from BBC News online:

Artist vandalises cars with key

An artist who randomly vandalised nearly 50 cars for a project said the owners should be happy they were part of his "creative process".

Mark McGowan, 37, will exhibit pictures of himself scratching the vehicles' paintwork in London and Glasgow.

He said he had "keyed" 17 cars in Glasgow's West End in March and 30 in Camberwell, south London.

The Met police said the act was criminal damage and if allegations are made they will be investigated.

Mr McGowan added: "I do feel guilty about keying people's cars but if I don't do it, someone else will.

"They should feel glad that they've been involved in the creative process. I pick the cars randomly.

"I got the idea when my sister and brother-in-law's cars were keyed. Is it jealousy that causes someone to key a car? Hatred? Revenge?

"There is a strong creative element in the keying of a car, it's an emotive engagement."

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "Clearly this would be criminal damage and if we receive any allegations we will take them very seriously and investigate."

Meanwhile, Strathclyde Police said: "We are aware of Mr McGowan and have no comment to make at the moment."

His work will be displayed on Wednesday night in a launch party at The Arches, an exhibition venue in Glasgow.

Monkey nut

It is the latest in a string of bizarre stunts by the postgraduate in history of art from the prestigious Goldsmiths College in London.

Mr McGowan, who has described himself as "the British alternative to David Blaine" nailed his feet to an art gallery last year - in protest against leaves.

In 2003, he attracted the media's attention when he pushed a monkey nut with his nose for seven miles to 10 Downing Street in a protest over student debt.

Michelle Jordan, a spokeswoman for the Scottish Arts Council, said it was unlikely Mr McGowan would receive any funding.

"He is more likely to get a visit from Strathclyde's finest than any funding from us."


Youtube video of monkey nut—

Here are a couple of Qs & As from an interview with McGowan conducted by Brian Sherman of MYARTSPACE>BLOG

Q. When did you first discover that art would be an important part of your adult life?

A. "When I was an in patient at a mental hospital I started doing art therapy."

Q. Can you share some of your philosophy about art and artistic creation?

A. "Painting is for girls and losers."

Link to complete interview: