For her new project, ‘The Artist is Humbly Present’, Lisa Levy wants to protest the ‘bullshit’ of the art world
“Ego and pretense has seriously fucked with the quality of work being made in the art world,” explains performance artist Lisa Levy. Her latest show, “Artist Is Humbly Present” will see her sit naked on a toilet for two days straight – and is a run-down rebuttal at the “bullshit” pretension of the art world. “(I'm) tired of the bullshit trendy art dialogue about how the art world is driven by rich people who want shiny work and don't care about meaning as well.”
Poking fun at Marina Abramović’s 736-hour silent sit-in, “Artist is Present” – which Levy calls “the pivotal moment for pretense and BS in the art world” – “Artist Is Humbly Present” will see the artist and performer sit in total stillness for 48 hours. Visitors will then, like Abramović’s piece, be able to sit directly opposite her and interact, in any way they choose.
“I was really pissed and aggravated about the pretense, competition and the amount of bullshit in the art world,” Levy told Bushwick Daily, when asked about what inspired the project. “I think ego interferes with art making, it makes the artist self-conscious. The most direct way to make the artwork is the least egoic way possible.”
Nudity seems to have become a much-loved mode of communication for many artists in recent months, with several using it as a weapon of protest. Milo Moiré, in retaliation to the Cologne attacks earlier this month, stood naked in the streets to assert her feminist freedom. Likewise, performance artist Poppy Jackson spent an entire weekend straddling a Shoreditch rooftop to highlight the “use of body in activist practice” last November.
For Lisa though, this show is “kind of a joke.” “I’m most excited about the experience,” she added. “I am really curious to see how the people will react. It’s a social experiment, like a lot of my work.”