Invading personal space is now performance art

NYC artist Kalan Sherrard gets up close and personal on the subway. But is it deconstructing capitalism or just really annoying?

Arts+Culture News
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Kalan Sherrard is a performance artist from New York, who just happens to have featured on the front cover of the New Yorker in 2011, sporting hard–hitting slogans such as "Sucks To Be Us" and "Economy Is A Cancer."

Sherrard is a regular on the subway, where he performs his "non-narrative, nihilist, anarchist puppet show about literary theory" and "regularly draws big crowds of extremely interested onlookers." He's so bored with the world that he believes that the only thing left to do is "act like an insane person." He dances, he makes animals out of rubbish, he entertains and he frustrates. Check him out at work below:

Speaking to Dazed, Sherrard explained how he started performing: "I've always been doing things in public since I was very young, maybe starting especially in malls, I think largely to break the monotony and static of consumerist America, if only just for myself. But in terms of this particular work, it grew out of a time I was hitchhiking through Peru and did a kind of expanded field free jazz with several kids in Cuzqo that I really loved, and then tried to figure out a way to do that by my self, for when I didn't have other people to work with."

As you can see in the video, Sherrard isn't afraid to invade personal space, often getting up, close and personal with bemused commuters on the New York subways. However, he says that this isn't something inherent to his act: "In terms of "personal space invasion" I actually do this very little. It registers as a moment though and gets filmed a lot when it happens. Again, one of the things I like most about working outside of traditional institutional contexts is the breakdown of rules and norms around spectator/actor relationships."

So now you've heard Sherrard's critical theory surrounding his own art, what do you think? The new Shia or just another busker? Have a look at another of his films below:

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