Artists often put themselves on display, but Almas Atlason really let it all hang out in his recent stint as a living sculpture: the Icelandic art student has just spent a week sitting naked in a glass box.
The performance piece was Atlason’s final exam for a course at the Iceland Academy of Arts in Reykjavik. Something about endurance-based performance art, like Shia LaBeouf’s epic #AllMyMovies, or Marina Abramović‘s 2014 show at London’s Serpentine Gallery, seems extra impressive given our increasingly short attention spans and growing distractibility. Add nudity into the mix, and you’re got an instant recipe for viral success.
The work recalls stunts from magician David Blaine, who spent 44 days in a glass box suspended over the River Thames in 2003, or performance pieces by actresses Milla Jovovich and Tilda Swinton. The former hung out in a glass box at the 2013 Venice Biennale, while the later slept in a glass box at New York’s Museum of Modern Art that same year.
But where Swinton, Blaine, and Jovovich remained fully clothed, Atlason opted to wear his birthday suit, completely exposing himself to visitors. Throughout the week, Atlason accepted gifts from audience members, including food, playing cards, and yes, toilet paper.
“He is in good hands there at the university,” noted his wife, Salka Valsdottir, to the Daily Mail.
“It’s about a total loss of control and being in the hands of others,” Atlason explained to the Daily Mail. “I think it’s basically just something really cool. On many levels, it’s an experiment. It’s a bit weird being 23 years old and never having been alone for a week.”
After his week-long incarceration, Atlason, whose emergence was met by quite the crowd, was not in the mood to conduct extensive interviews with the press. “Thank you, and I’m going out for a cigarette,” he told the Iceland Monitor.
Naked in Munster as Art
Swiss performance artist Milo Moiré took her kit off once again, Metro reports. This time, she walked around naked and holding a baby at the closing party for The Naked Life, an exhibition at LWL Museum of Art and Culture in Münster, Germany.
According to a statement on the artist’s website, the performance, entitled How Much Abstraction Can Art Tolerate? (2015), sought to challenge “the fundamental attitudes towards abstract and figurative art.” It also states “Milo and the baby looked at the nudes in the exhibition and, because of their own nakedness, became part of it.”
The statement went on to explain that “In keeping with the approach of the artists exhibited, Milo Moiré brings everyday life to art. And yet, she goes one step further in removing herself from the abstract form of representation and shows her main motif of the naked life: A naked infant safe in the arms of a naked woman.”
Moiré’s performance provoked mixed reactions from museum goers. Anke Lange, 30, told the Daily Mirror, “I’m all for expression and alternatives in art, but this was just ridiculous.” Tobias Meyer, 45, was more upbeat. He said, “I must admit it was more interesting than the average art exhibition.”
Moiré has previously attracted attention for her PlopEgg Painting Performance #1 at art Cologne last year where she publicly squeezed paint-filled eggs out of her, well, you know where, and onto a canvas (see “Eggcellent Nude Performance Art“). Back in June, at Art Basel in Basel, she was refused entry as a performing artist, but not because of nudity. In fact, it was because her performance was not included in the fair’s program (see “Art Basel Turns Away Nude Performance Artist“).
The WTF: Earlier this month during Art Cologne, in what we can only assume was an attempt at kickstarting Easter season in the art world, the Swiss performance artist Milo Moiré set up a couple of scaffolds over a canvas in the square outside the messe, removed all her clothes, and created a painting by squeezing paint-filled eggs out of her vagina, Libération reports. A video of the performance art stunt, titled The “PlopEgg” Painting Performance #1 (2014), is available for your viewing on YouTube.