Tuesday 29th December 2015Artist Spotlight: Shia LaBeouf
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
Saturday 26th December 2015Shia LaBeouf Really Wants to be an Artist
Shia LaBeouf has a very complicated relationship with the art world. The actor, probably best known for his roles in the Transformers series and the latest (and arguably worst) iteration of the Indiana Jones series, has been struggling with what he regards as his fall from grace, although there may be some debate among film critics as to whether or not this term really applies. He's been running a series of performance art pieces ever since then, with a wildly varying degree of success in the public and critical perception.
His latest project is apparently a performance art piece, although the performances in question aren't exactly new ones. Instead, LaBeouf spent three solid days in a movie theatre, watching all of the movies he's ever performed in in a giant marathon session. Anyone was welcome to join him for free in the theatre for the entire performance of his collected works, which total a rather surprising 58 straight hours of film. Yes, there were no breaks whatsoever. To cap it all off, the entire thing was livestreamed - but not the movies, rather the stream was focused on LaBeouf himself, so the entire world could watch his reactions (as you can see from the photo we used here, courtesy of NewHive). The entire thing was wrapped under the Twitter hashtag #ALLMYMOVIES, reminiscent of his #IAMSORRY project from earlier this year.
So the real question, of course, is whether or not this is really art. It could be, depending on how you feel about his movies and his general Hollywood presence as a celebrity, or it could be regarded as a juvenile attempt to stay relevant in an industry where he is being taken less and less seriously as an actor. We actually can't decide how we feel about it, to be completely honest. It sort of conjures up memories of Joaquin Phoenix's bizarre concept work for the Casey Affleck film 'I'm Still Here', which chronicled Phoenix's supposed (yet faked) retirement from acting to take up a rap career. But until someone jumps out of the woodwork to shout BOO, we're not entirely sure which way the whole Shia situation could go.
Regardless, we're going to give him what he wants in our next post, as we take a slightly more lighthearted tone than usual in our last Artist Spotlight of the year, in which we'll be examining the merits and pitfalls of the artistic career of Shia LaBeouf.
Posted on December 26th 2015 on 02:38pm