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Artist Spotlight: Shia LaBeouf

Tuesday 29th December 2015

Hopefully you won't feel we're focusing a bit too heavily on Shia LaBeouf, who has been the subject of a number of postings this year. Surprisingly enough to some, however, the actor really does seem to be making a go of his performance art pieces, and people are finally starting to take notice beyond merely scoffing at his pieces.

In case you missed them, there have been a number of pieces over the last year or two, starting with the bizarre incident where he wore a paper bag with two eyeholes over his head bearing the words "I'm not famous anymore" to a red carpet event in Hollywood, and progressing from there to a number of subsequent performance art pieces. #IAMSORRY was next, an attempt to apologize for accusations of plagiarism on a previous short film he'd collaborated on where he claims that he "got lost in the creative process and neglected to follow proper accreditation." Essentially, he sat in a room without speaking and allowed visitors in to see him, talk to him, and actually do whatever they wanted to him. Unfortunately, some nasty allegations emerged from it after he claimed that he was raped by a visitor, which is obviously well beyond the bounds of what you could reasonably expect from a performance art piece.

This got even more muddled when art worlders began to notice the striking similarities to the performance pieces of Marina Abramovic, entitled 'The Artist is Present'. This would mean that his apology for plagiarism was actually arguably plagiarism in and of itself, and we begin to spiral down the rabbit hole.

He's since moved on to a couple of other performance art pieces, namely #ALLMYMOVIES, as we discussed in our previous postings, and since then he's also participated in another one where he takes public calls from random members of the public, wrapped in the hashtag #TOUCHMYSOUL. The goal is for people to give him a message that touches his soul, but no word yet on whether or not this is working for him at all.

Perhaps the real question of whether or not you like his performance pieces comes down to your general attitude about celebrity. When we first began covering his pieces, we were completely unmoved, and saw only the mockery of the art world who dismissed him more or less as a matter of course. But there is celebrity in the art world as well, and perhaps those figures could use a little lampooning, a bit of reflection from those who are not part of the accepted canon. Perhaps that will touch their souls.

Posted on December 29th 2015 on 02:40pm

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