Anorak News | Soap Star

Soap Star

by | 17th, February 2005

‘THREE snapshots of modern Britain…

The Mona Lisa

When Georgie Fowler, cleaner at the Arches (an exhibition space underneath Glasgow’s Central Station), turned up for work last Friday, she was appalled by the scene that greeted her.

The women’s toilets had been left in a terrible mess – soap was stuck to walls and sink counters, tissue paper was pulled out and scattered over the floor and there were stickers all over the walls and cubicles.

So, she and her fellow cleaners rolled up their sleeves and got to work…and it was not until an hour and a half later that the toilets were once again in a passable condition.

So outraged was Mrs Fowler by the vandalism that she sat down at her computer to send an e-mail to her bosses to let them know what had happened.

However, waiting in her inbox was an e-mail from another member of staff on behalf of something called the National Review of Live Art (NRLA).

It explained that far from being an act of wanton vandalism, the mess in the women’s toilets was in fact a work of live art in progress.

The Independent explains that for hours the previous evening Nottingham artist Angela Bartram had spat, dribbled, licked, choked and chewed soap in front of a live audience in a series of bizarre rituals intended to “play on personal parameters of what is safe and comfortable”.

She had intended to perform the work in the Arches venue itself, but health and safety concerns meant it was moved to the women’s toilets.

Kirstin Innes, spokeswoman for the Arches, insisted that the incident was in no way an indication of the venue’s regard for the work of an artist whose previous performances have included kissing an Alsatian dog on the mouth.

However, it is by no means the first time a cleaner at an art gallery has passed similar judgement on a work of art.

The Indy says last year a bag of rubbish which formed part of a Gustav Metzger work which was said to demonstrate the “finite existence” of art was thrown away by a cleaner at the Tate.

In 2001, a Damien Hirst installation was “mistaken” for garbage by a cleaner at London’s Eyestorm Gallery.

And only a few weeks ago, the art world was thrown into mourning by the loss of Anorak’s seminal work Vomit In Sock, carelessly discarded by cleaners here at Anorak Towers.’

Posted: 17th, February 2005 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink