Shia LaBeouf has been suffering from a bit of a breakdown for a while now, which culminated in him turning up on a red carpet in Germany to promote Lars Von Trier’s Nymphomaniac with a paper bag over his head bearing the words “I AM NOT FAMOUS ANYMORE”. Except you are, but maybe you should never have been in the first place.
Well, now he’s back in the states and he’s taking his terror to the streets – er, well, to the Cohen Gallery in Los Angeles, where he’s hosting an “art exhibition” entitled #IAMSORRY. It’s an absolute rip off of something already done years ago by actual artist Marina Abramoviç and Maria Legault called The Apology Project, so it’s bullshit from the get-go, but let’s go with it.
A TIME magazine reporter named Ryan Sandoval was one of the first visitors to this sorry excuse for an exhibition, and here’s a bit of his experience:
I arrived in the late morning, just after the exhibition opened, and was frisked by a man outside on the sunny sidewalk, a foot away from glass bearing the words “#IAMSORRY” and “shia labeouf.” Inside the gallery, a woman behind a table (who I later learned was the artist Nastja Säde Rönkkö) asked me to choose an item from those laid out before her. The options: a whip, pliers, a bowl of Hershey kisses, a copy of Daniel Clowes’ Death Ray, a pink ukelele, a bottle of Brut cologne, an Optimus Prime toy (get it?) and a bowl of about 100 paper slips bearing typed messages. I reached for a single slip, but Rönkkö asked me to take the whole bowl, and so I did.
I sat down. I read messages mostly negative, some positive, declaring LaBeouf either a “baby,” an “idiot,” or a “genius.” Things about having to “move on,” or suggestions of “death.” They felt like tweets; they probably were tweets. I read about thirteen notes in measured tones, opting out of the ones that were too harsh or too praiseworthy; I thought about reading the whole bowl, but then got self-conscious saying so many hurtful things to LaBeouf, who in that moment, just seemed like a mixed-up kid.
I’d entered with a sort of respect for the gallery as a concept, but it didn’t feel like a sacred space by the time I’d left: Ultimately, it was just me, a bowl of tweets, and an actor reacting to criticism. It wasn’t all that moving: It was just the sort of thing that makes you shake your head.”
Well… yeah. I don’t think anyone’s entering a Shia LaBeouf art exhibition expecting to be changed forever. Especially when what he’s doing is in no way original and is just another stunt in his mental unraveling. It’s not profound, it’s not mindblowing and worst of all, it’s not even entertaining, so there’s no enjoyment to be had out of it.
This shit is running until Friday from 11am – 6pm, as all good art does, natch.