Rirkrit Tiravanija comes to town for 'Murder and Mayhem'
His art can look a lot like parties—involving food, drink and friends. He called a recent performance “Je ne travaille jamais.” But the ever-popular Thai artist Rirkrit Tiravanija (above, right) certainly seems busy — if not hard-working in the classic, capitalist, petit-bourgeois sense — during his week-long stay in L.A.
Having given a talk at Art Center earlier this week, the artist is giving another talk next Tuesday at noon at USC. And now he's working to finish the installation of his new exhibition at the gallery 1301 PE in time for its opening Friday evening.
He has wallpapered the downstairs space with images from his ongoing series of demonstration drawings (based on newspaper images of protests across the world) and carpeted the floors in orange (what gallery owner Brian Butler calls “a Buddhist monk orange”).The upstairs space has a collaboration between Tiravanija and the Belgian artist Nico Dockx, which features an LP playing the sound of making and then erasing (that would be the B side) a demonstration drawing.
The artist says the show's title, "Murder and Mayhem," comes from a saying he’s used on protest T-shirts in the past. “Murder and mayhem was a description that the BBC used to describe the situation going on in Zimbabwe when Mugabe was refusing to go away after the election. It kind of stuck with me — because it’s the image of everything going wrong in society.”
The T-shirts have also spawned another idea, which will bring the artist back to town in October. He will be teaming up with musician-producer Arto Lindsay and public art impresario Emi Fontana of West of Rome to create a performance for the Getty-initiated event Pacific Standard Time. The idea is to stage a meta-protest parade through the streets of downtown L.A.
“It will be a parade of T-shirts,” says Tiravanija. “We’d like to get other artists involved and also students — art students and high school students who could contribute texts for the shirts.”
-- Jori Finkel
Image: Nico Dockx and Rirkrit Tiravanija at 1301PE. Photograph by Brian D. Butler.