See original post here: Schleckt Kunst Feb 22nd, 2008 by Adam

CRITICAL ESSAY: NOT AN ARTIST (2008) by Adam

I am often intimidated by the art world when confronted with artists, so it was with a fair amount of trepidation Wednesday evening when I headed to the ACC-Weimar for a lecture by Ondrej Brody, a self-proclaimed “neo-Dadaist” Czech “artist” with No Nickname Guy and Chica. Brody is partners with (presumably in a platonic fashion) Rio-based Kristofer Paetau, and I went in with a relatively open mind, but my bullshit detector turned on. With artists I have trouble detecting if what I am being told is legit or fake since I lack the knowledge and background to adequately understand both visual arts and music. This so-called artist set off my bullshit detector with a rapidity that I cannot recall having experienced in a long time save for approaches to American airport security checkpoints. Ondrej’s talk consisted of him sitting at a little desk, a lit cigarette in one hand, a beer in his other; an audience of Weimar’s cultural elite awaiting every word. Occasionally he would put down his beer and click his mouse in order to start video “excerpts” of Brody-Paetau performance pieces from across Europe. There were several ways that I was annoyed with Ondrej: he contradicted himself, was painfully sexually frustrated, and unwilling to discuss his work.

CONTRADICTORY

The first work presented was a little ditty called “Licking Curator’s Ass.” It was a video of him and his partner tying a gallery curator up, pulling down his pants and licking the curator’s ass; something he is apparently an expert at, both physically and metaphorically. Ondrej emphasized that they had been asked to do something shocking at the gallery and that, in his words, shit and vomit are not shocking. Set in Antwerp, I find it hard to believe that ass-licking is really that unusual or shocking. Antwerp is home to many world-famous clubs where I would expect that kind of behavior to take place not just in darkrooms, but on the dance floor. Be that as it may, I was open to the possibility that this “performance” was actually “art.”

LICKING CURATOR’S ASS (2005) BY ONDREJ BRODY & KRISTOFER PAETAU

LICKING CURATOR’S ASS (2005) View Quicktime movie / View Windows Media movie

My suspension of judgment lasted until he contradicted himself a few minutes later when showing us the film for 2005’s “Art Forum Accident”, which featured Ondrej’s partner vomiting on the floor of an art fair in Berlin. I leaned over to No Nickname Guy and whispered, “Didn’t he just say that vomit wasn’t shocking?”

ART FORUM ACCIDENT (2005) by Ondrej Brody and Kristofer Paetau

ART FORUM ACCIDENT (2005) View Quicktime movie / View Windows Media movie

Any remaining hope for Ondrej was destroyed when he showed us an untitled work performed in Prague in 2004, when he and several other Czech artists shit in front of works by the director of the Czech National Gallery. It was a vague form of protest (and bio-hazard) with no apparent effect. The film elicited only one question from Weimar’s cultural elite: “How did you all shit at the same time?” I leaned over to No Nickname Guy and whispered, “Didn’t he just say that shit wasn’t shocking?”

UNTITLED, NATIONAL GALLERY (2004) by Ondrej Brody and Kristofer Paetau

UNTITLED, NATIONAL GALLERY (2004) View Quicktime movie / View Windows Media movie

A few videos later Ondrej presented a video of his appearance on Artstar, a Czech attempt to have an artists show similar to American Idol, Deutschland Superstar, and (presumably) Česko hledá Superstar. He was a contestant, and was asked to perform/present on the show. So he did, and the judges were mystified until they noticed that he was pissing his pants. After a brief discussion, he was escorted off the stage. I leaned over to No Nickname Guy and whispered, “Why would pissing be shocking if vomit and shit are not?”

ARTSTAR (2004) by Ondrej Brody & Kristofer Paetau

ARTSTAR (2004) View Quicktime movie / View Windows Media movie

SEXUALLY FRUSTRATED

Beyond the fact that Ondrej was contradicting himself, it was clear that Ondrej is sexually frustrated. Much of his work has a sexual focus that suggests to me that he is in endless pursuit of gettin’ some—a goal that he can only achieve when he pays (or not) somebody to model for him. One of his performances, Miss Krimi featured what the website calls “a woman of an uncertain age” and I call an older woman walking down a path and she’s order to show her “cunt”, which she does, as well as her breasts. Filmed in 2005, this was quite possibly the first time Ondrej had ever seen a woman naked, and it fascinated him.

MISS KRIMI (2005) by Ondrej Brody and Kristofer Paetau

MISS KRIMI (2005) View Quicktime movie / View Windows Media movie

We were also shown a video of a 2006 performance piece called “Le Déjeuner sur l’Herbe”. It too revealed Ondrej’s life long curiosity surrounding the female vagina. Using video, Brody & Paetau loosely replicate Édouard Manets painting of the same name; once considered shocking now hanging in Paris’ Musée d’Orsay. Using blue screen technology, the girls in the video were filmed up close and personally as they used vibrators in their vaginas. We also got to watch the women being eaten out by older men and give head to the same, all while repeating highly unlikely French phrases, such as “Go on, go on my dear… eat it!” The “actors” (and I used that term loosely) were Czech, speaking French, although they had, quite obviously, never spoken French before in their lives. The camera work, which would reveal new techniques to professional pornographers, allowed me to get up close and personal with something that I lack any interest in examining, but did allow Ondrej to see something he had never seen before.

LE DÉJEUNER SUR L’HERBE (2006) by Ondrej Brody and Kristofer Paetau

LE DÉJEUNER SUR L’HERBE (2006) View Quicktime movie / View Windows Media movie

UNWILLING TO DISCUSS

Ondrej’s most remarkable flaw was his complete and total lack of willingness to discuss and defend his work. More than once he would introduce a video clip by saying something like, “I’ll tell you more after we watch the clip”, and then after the clip was over, would refuse to discuss it further. It was most explicit when he didn’t discuss Miss Krimi, which I specifically remember him refusing to talk about, beyond telling us that they “did, didn’t, not really” pay the woman in the video. The most vocal defense of his work he would make the entire evening was when he explained that we were only watching “excerpts” of the performances, not the entire works, which was a bullshit answer, because I’m not really clear what we were missing that wasn’t germane to the actual performances.

NOT AN ARTIST

I do have one specific standard when it comes to art: if I can do it, it’s not art. In this case, if I can think of doing it, it’s not art. Ondrej presented only one “recent” piece of “art”. He introduced it by telling us that it is possible to send photographs to China and have painters in China send back your pictures painted on canvas. It only took me ten seconds after he introduced the idea for me to formulate exactly what I would do with this knowledge: I would naturally send pictures that are otherwise not allowed in China to be painted. I didn’t have anything specific in mind after thinking for only ten seconds, but given the fact that China is not known for its human rights, it shouldn’t be that difficult. — Yeah, that’s what Ondrej and his partner did: 1,500€ later, they got 30 pictures which they put on display. Unwilling to tell us explicitly what his art meant, he said he would sell the entire collection for $25,000; should somebody be interested in purchasing it. I will, however, for him, tell you what the art is about: It’s full scale human irony and the triumph of the all mighty buck. China is perfectly willing to make its citizens paint pictures that they would never otherwise see in order to profit. It’s also a way for Westerners to try deviating China from within, boldly sneaking information past the official censors.

PAINTING CHINA NOW (2007) by Ondrej Brody and Kristofer Paetau

PAINTING CHINA NOW (2007) View complete documentation of PAINTING CHINA NOW

Ultimately there was a bitter taste left in my mouth—Ondrej either wouldn’t or couldn’t defend his art; unwilling to explain what his art was about, I left distinctly unimpressed. And after visiting his own personal homepage, I know that Ondrej has, at least once in his life, gotten up close and personal with a woman’s vagina. Too bad it made him look like Hitler.

DICTATOR (2006) by Ondrej Brody

DICTATOR (2006)

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70 Responses to “ CRITICAL ESSAY: Not an Artist (2008) ”


  1. Just a bunch of bad taste as usual…


  2. Well at least someone took a lot of time to write this “Critical Essay”, the fact that a person who – a priori – is not familiar with art takes time to write such a long and personal critique is remarkable.


  3. Good text, Adam should be an art critic!


  4. Please remove me from future email announcments.


  5. How boring. Perhaps you should >invite


  6. Everyone look closely, this is what happens when you drop out of your local community college art program. You become a talentless hack, that has to resort to peepee jokes to get people’s attention. These are the individuals that either lack the creative vision to make it in real world as artists or are so void of technical genius that they are left with nothing other than shock and awe “Teeheehee” videoart. When you remove talent from the creative process this is what is left. Shitting on the gallery floor, thats neeeeveeeer been done before. Lets forget the “Yes everyone, I actually have had sex” self portrait. Licking an Art Director’s ass? You would have to do more than that to get through my gallery’s door.

    Save your shit retrospective analysis (No pun intended) for your “$10 at the door hipster garage gallery” where they serve Pabst blue ribbon in cans and everyone marvels over the genius of a vagina slideshow, the fat tight jeaned white-belt trendsetter present for questioning of course. Stop blasting legitimate art galleries with this garbage, our inboxs are intended for those that you know, can actually make art.


  7. this is funny, I think it might also be art.
    btw I presume this critique is the artists statement, also written by the artist?
    in which case it may also be art, at least in my book
    :-)


  8. are these comments deadpan?
    am I living in return of the bodysnatchers?!


  9. I believe its called astroturfing
    this is frikin genius…


  10. I just realised the artist probably wrote the comments too…
    this just gets better…:-)


  11. dirty mind


  12. if art would have boundaries it would be art. So in THAT case, it is art. But in the case of common sense and beauty it is most certainly not.


  13. the dicrtator is brilliant

    ted barr


  14. Can Dada-art be anti-art (shitting & crapping in a gallery, and licking curators asshole) which reminds me of jackass, and pop-art at the same time? Marcel Duchamp would we furious because anyone could do Ondrej’s works. It’s just bad art-porno.


  15. Thank You! you have just shown us the reason why Arts Funding is always cut and people think so bad about contemporary art. A few lousy artists with no brains and or pride mess it up for all the other artist trying to create real art. In a few months that gallery will be closed and the owner crying why me ? Why because you have nothing to do with creating or promoting real art just sick garbage that no one cares about.


  16. Seems very strange. Sembra molto strano. Stranissimo.


  17. “Art” is anything made by someone calling their product art. There is skilled art and unskilled art and there is art that comes from knowledge of history and theory and there is conceptual art, traditional art, naive art, and pretentious art. To name a few. No art can be dismissed out of hand — there is no valid maxim like the “If I can do it, it’s not art” cited by the essay writer. Any definition of “Art” diminishes the power of art, and is a lie. How is Duchamp’s urinal in a gallery or his chess game with a naked woman determined to be “art,” but an artist defecating in the gallery is not art? Don’t get hung up over definitions — these guys shitting and throwing-up in museums have a conceptual basis that is legitimate. I think their statrement is unoriginal and banal, and that scatology, shock, and tantruming at the boundary of decency is an old-fashioned and now sophmoric reflex from the 20th century. We got the point 75 years ago, already! It’s art — it’s just uninteresting art. Probably smells pretty bad, too — I wouldn’t want to be in the gallery when they were expressing themselves.

    Stephen Nowlin
    Williamson Gallery


  18. muy bueno!!!! los mejores criticos y muy buen sentido del humor. Gracias jose garofalo


  19. !!!ok


  20. stupid.


  21. How much is the “dictator”? is it an edition? what’s about it’s technique?
    I like it! please contact me.
    kurt ryslavy


  22. To the person who said that he thinks that all of these comments are from the artist as well: They are. Every last one.


  23. This is rubbish and should not be classed in any possible form as ‘art’


  24. The dictator is nice. the rest doesn’t have to be performed imho.the ideas aren’t that bad nevertheless.
    Keep on doing whatever you want!
    Best, Basso


  25. love it


  26. since i work in an art institution, i can’t decide if this falls under not work safe or work safe.


  27. I think this combination of works and actions (shitting, pissing, throwing up, vomiting) all showed here together is not very good, it makes the whole work seem very banal and provocative. It’s like they want us to be pissed – which they manage to. But it’s not so interesting after a while. For exampIe the chinese paintings are totally different and get lost in the middle of this shitting and vomiting. I don’t think the artists write all the comments… at least they didn’t write this one!


  28. hi…I am the artist….I am glad you like my work…I am clever and smart and wise and edgy and cool…thanks!!


  29. you can buy it but you must first email 4000 people who did not ask to be emailed..


  30. this is disgusting and not art, sorry boys.
    it is human expression NOT ART…
    All Art = Human Expression which ≠ All Human Expression = Art


  31. That was very nice;
    Thank you.


  32. disgusting


  33. Nice


  34. well, the text is not at all interesting and it’s adam himself that says he ” lacks the knowledge and background to adequately understand both visual arts and music”…


  35. fuck you, seek people dont interest me


  36. I think this was supposed to go to someone in Junior High School. I remember most of this stuff occurring among 7th graders. Sadly, that was some time ago. At any rate, Please be more cautious in your email lists.


  37. I’d agree that All Human Expression does not equal Art, unless the human doing the expressing says it IS art. Then it is art. You should not confuse the category “Art” with the value judgement “Good Art or Bad Art.” The shitting performance above is done by people who claim it to be art — don’t bother to decide whether or not they are correct. Tell us instead what kind of art it is — that’s all we are allowed to do. It may be disgusting art or bad art or stupid art or conceptually trite art, or childish moronic waste-of-time art — but those are value judgements about what kind of art it is. Once you have considered the claim that something is art, you have thereby validated that it IS art. — SN


  38. we love your comments….they are all so funny…..get mad or tell us how much you love it…..either way it is funny to us….and your dislike for us is art…….like having little ants make paintings for us…


  39. Anonymous please don’t tell me i’m not allowed to say this is not art, fuck you i won’t do what you tell me: this ain’t art, sucker.


  40. Like the Viennese Actionists didn’t do it 50 years ago, and with more conviction, risk, and intelligence.


  41. No more, or less, derivative or calculated than most ART vying for attention. The sad fact is no one, including myself, really gives much of a shit any more. Except about my own work (genius) of course. I think I did chuckle, inwardly, once. thanks.


  42. it is a bit interesting,but does it work?i think not really.art always does.


  43. depressingly inconsequential. but amusing.


  44. Nothing new under the sun


  45. PURE PROVOCATION : ANTI- ART as I would define it! Let’s be serious. This man needs therapy, HELP. I feel terribly sad to discover a confused and wild Child-Man in an Adult body who is documented as an Artist. Is this way of expressing ART (?) Self-satisfying for HIM? If so, please let him keep his masterpieces inclosed. I give this man “credit” for getting every viewer’s attention – BRAVO (+ ironic smile)! But… I still think it is all PERVERSE and GROTESQUE.


  46. Feeble.


  47. i dont know how you get my email but, im pleasing to be here.

    please contact me, i studie arts in mexico. me and my coworkers were doing stuff like this in my city now.

    we have actions about vomiting the colors of the national flag and things like those.

    im exited to know about you guys.

    caloca.caloca@gmail.com


  48. It is just tryng to be unique but is deja vu-
    DADA is not a imitation but a state of mind that can not be betried by ignoranze and presumption.
    john doing


  49. Anonymous Sayings reveals the great walls between people
    we sould not hide but manifest openly our opinions.
    The feedback is a form of art.
    The artists provoke and the onlookers answer, and they have a name.
    Me again
    john doing

    go02594@gmail.com


  50. i had to laugh about the dictator. but the rest of it is sooooo boring and such an old fashioned comment on the art system. it’s pretty easy to play the shit/fuck card all the time. but sometimes it’s a good laugh, of course…


  51. mildly amusing infantile expression. My dog has done everything this ‘artist’ is doing, moreover, in public, in plain view of anyone, without any protection from a gallery.

    This whole page is a sorry attempt to show how an imbecile imitates a dog.


  52. you guys are an insult. You’ll never make it. Too many crap artists coming out of art schools and institutions each year are miles ahead of this. This is a load of toss, you’ll never ever make it guys, no way… There’s not enough room even for the most talented of artists in this world…. in New York alone there are some 400.000 artists trying to get noticed. It’s true you really give contemporary art a bad name.
    What are you planning next? eating shit in front of video camera? Drinking piss? Fighting in poo like a bunch of retarded 3 year old?I mean your stuff is not even funny or shocking, it’s just bad taste like the rest of your work, dog carpets, nonsense, disgusting.
    Greg@
    Galerie Lumières d’Afrique, Brussels


  53. soflty, not real aggressive


  54. it’s so sweet, and not so provocative as it seems, very banal.


  55. the wish to be trasgressive and to shock It’s quite banal in art today.
    On the other hand we have to admit that is the best way to hide the lack of ideas of the author.
    I only hope the “artists” had fun realizng this, because I don’t.
    Matteo Parmigiani


  56. this is disgusting and not art, sorry boys.
    it is human expression NOT ART…
    All Art = Human Expression which ≠ All Human Expression = Art
    Human excrement=NOT ART


  57. This has got to be the ultimate in artistic genius. The way in which they have referenced fetish pornography and re-contextualized its actions is simply superb. This type of work should be shown more often at more places, and should be thoroughly funded by governments everywhere!


  58. repetative and uninventive, try harder, shock is so last century, use your intelligence to surprise.
    vecdor


  59. These comments are so depressing… I’ve read all of them and now I almost start feeling pity for the artists, how terrible it must be for them to read all these negative and mostly stupid “critiques”.


  60. Did anyone read the text? The text is hilarious!


  61. I found interesting the part with the chinese painters…L.


  62. obvious


  63. Funny, moving and silly…
    artists talking about art…. What about thinking outside the box?


  64. Stupid and poor.


  65. Maybe Ondrej will stop “making art” and call that art. Or, maybe he could go live in bus somewhere, in a remote field, where we can’t smell his idea-farts (oops, I mean his art).


  66. There are so many comments, I didn’t think you were so popular.


  67. i just want to say that this kind of work of art, its important, but really not to me. you got to do what you got to do, body.


  68. This kinda shit was done a long time ago by far more talented turds. If you really wanna shock me, try gargling some diarrhea, wiping your ass with sandpaper and brushing your teeth with barbed wire. Then shove a catheter up your dick and funnel it back into your asshole till it comes out your mouth, reverse the whole fucking cycle if you can. other than that, a simultaneous decapitation performance piece by the artists would bring a high note to the end of their careers and immortalize their works. ll of this while a circle of crazy monkeys hurl shit at the artists and masturbate on their corpses. Now that I’d pay a couple euros to see.


  69. prasata skurvene
    viktor freso


  70. Your art is so childish and easy to do… You don’t caus impact for having a great idea or beeing very original. You follow the old recipe of shoking. Weak art, seems more like jack ass. You are lucky for having met the right people to ‘impress’ (probably very dump people). But in what concerns to art, inovation, concept, it is really weak.
    Looks like ideas from someone who wants money and fame from an easy way, and not really worried about art. Just like porn really. Low qualitty but people want to see it even if it is stupid, like 2 girls one cup.
    Sorry guys, you have no talent, just courage or lack of higienic sense…