two performances using living sculpture in glass boxes as their central idea. The most recent was last week at Wellington's Bats Theatre in a play by Kate Morris called Sketch. Here a small room-sized vitrine encasing the living sculpture was located in a commercial art gallery somewhere in New Zealand. The premise was that the living sculpture was stricken with a terminal illness and it was not hard to see the links with Damian Hirst (large glass display case, a back wall filled with shelves crowded with bottles of pills). The death theme box was certainly ticked off but the depiction of the art world was the usual the-art-world-is-full-of-shrill-idiots-who-talk-nonsense.
Can't say we weren't warned. The director Eleanor Bishop called up in her programme notes the “huge, fast-paced, superficial art world.” And sure enough the visitors to the exhibition postured and shrieked and generally behaved like sugar-filled kindergarten brats. The dealer was togged up in venal with a trimming of dishonest and the curator stepped out in plain old pretentious. Clearly no one involved in the production had been anywhere near a dealer gallery where usually you’re lucky if you can get anyone to look at the art at an opening far less talk about it.
Image: the vitrine set for Sketch