Art Bin, Michael Landy

You might recognise the name Michael Landy from his 2001 performance ‘Break Down’ where he destroyed all of his possessions. Well, in a similarly dectruction-oriented performance, he is encouraging anyone to evaluate the value of their own artworks and, should they wish, to apply to dispose of them in his Art Bin in the South London Gallery, Peckham.

Given the current backlash against a whole glut of YBAs, Damien Hirst in particular, I would imagine most people would experience at least a small guilty thrill at watching someone slinging works by these artists into a giant transparent skip. The thrill is tempered somewhat by the knowledge that Hirst actually submitted the works of his which were chucked to Landy and is probably enjoying the publicity.

That aside, I think it’s fascinating and will only become more so when the public get involved and make their own value judgements on the works they own or create.As the artist points out it’s not about saying that all contemporary art is useless and only fit for the skip, it’s about assessing and valuing art. It’s about iconoclasm (an idea I find attractive and repellant in equal measure), the pleasure of destruction, the importance of engaging and discerning and – as Landy says – a “monument to creative failure”.

Possibly more interesting than all of that, though, is the following sentence taken from the gallery blurb: “Michael Landy or his representative will decide which works go into Art Bin and not all works will be accepted.”

I think the list of works *not* allowed to be deemed creative failures and the reasoning behind that would be more interesting than those things consigned to a landfill.

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