Art and the Ashbin of History -

Art and the Ashbin of History


In 2001, YBA Michael Landy, took over a closed-down department store in London’s shopping district where he took everything he owned and fed it into an industrial shredding machine that he had constructed. His stereo, his clothes, his artworks, even his prized sheepskin coat that had belonged to his father – all of it got shoved into the shredder, helped along by Landy’s team of bliue-coveralled assistants. The show, called Break Down, is of my favourite works of installation/performance art of all time, exploring in a powerful way some well-trod themes of consumption, waste, nostalgia, and identity. (It was later ripped off, in a much crasser way, by Neil Boorman for his “Bonfire of the Brands” job application).

Anyway, now Landy is going one further, with a new show called Art Bin.

From 29 January until 14 March 2010 acclaimed  British artist Michael Landy will transform the South London Gallery into a 600m³ container for  the disposal of works of art. Art Bin will gradually fill up over the six week course of the exhibition to create ‘a monument to creative failure’.

The best part is that the public is invited to submit works to be binned and then destroyed  — I know I have a few short stories I might print out and send in.

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Art and the Ashbin of History

  1. Hopefully some real artist will blow this "installation artwork" sky high. I don't see how Landy could object, except legally. Where would installation artists be without their lawyers? They're the real creative geniuses here.

  2. Potter, you are by far the biggest literary-cultural wonk in Ottawa. If you are nice, one day we might let you run for leader of the Liberal Party.

  3. About those short stories: you would have to delete them from your hard drive too, yes? WIth no backup.

  4. How does one dispose of those pesky "artistic memories", the ones that seemed sooo good at the time?

    I am waiting for the new technology that will allow me to defrag my "soft" drive (aka, the cranial cavity).

  5. If he'd been truly hardcore, at the end he would have fed his assistants into the shredder.

  6. Well at least they're puting the garbage in the garbage can. If someone has to tell you its art, chances are its not.

  7. "…exploring in a powerful way some well-trod themes of consumption, waste, nostalgia, and identity."

    If they are so well-trodden, why do they need exploring?

  8. Do you know the Canadian work ‘One Million Pennies’? I can’t locate it. I want to see it but it’s gone. Who will pay to remount it? I heard about, I liked it (but not the artist), therefore it is. Conceptual Art endures in all the well-trodden ways.

    • You mean the Internet?

  9. No. I read about that work in the artist’s obituary in one of the papers and just reading about it felt like experiencing it in exhibition. Like reading this here (on the internet…). I just meant to say that media driven critical retrospection and our uptake of that is one of the worn paths and it winds çonveniently around conceptual art.

    • Are we talking about bubble bath?