Shoot the Works:
Unwelcome participation in non-participatory art

Abram Balashev, Cecilia Gimenez, IOCOSE, Paul Kelleher, Leeds United, Keith MacIsaac, Eva and Franco Mattes, Mary Richardson, Tony Shafrazi, The Weathermen
Organised by Chris Newlove Horton
29/03/13 – 18/04/13








Skulptur Projekte Münster 07
Keith MacIsaac, 2007
Joyride with Michael Asher's Installation Muenster (Caravan), 1977, 1987, 1997, 2007



Sunflower Seeds on Sunflower Seeds
IOCOSE, 2011
Real sunflower seeds shot onto Ai Wiewei's Sunflower Seeds, 2010



Stolen Pieces
Eva and Franco Mattes, 1995–1997
Small elements stolen from artworks by Jeff Koons, Richard Long, Andy Warhol,
and others



Mid-Atlantic and Adrift
Leeds United, 1997 and 2012
Artwork censored by Frieze Magazine; and re-censored copy of Frieze Magazine



Thinker
Rodin, 1881
Bombed by The Weathermen, 1970



Ecce Homo
Elias Garcia, c.1930
Attempted restoration by Cecilia Giménez, 2012



Margaret Thatcher
Neil Simmons, 1998
Decapitated with cricket bat by Paul Kelleher, 2002



Rokeby Venus
Diego Valázquez, 1651
Attacked by knife by Mary Richardson, 1914



Ivan the Terrible and his Son Ivan
Ilya Repin, 1581
Attacked with knife by Abram Balashov, 1913



Once an avant-practice, participatory art has now been canonised and colonised by the wider art world apparatus. It's in and on the books, a viable option, one of many no-longer-alternative approaches. But what of the actions that go beyond the set rules and measures, the actions that go unnoticed or unrecorded, disregarded or ignored, whose agents are demonised or written off as mad; the artists and vandals who snub the land of letters to act out their criticality in the world of actions and objects, the world of conviction and consequence?

Combining recent art works and historical examples, Shoot the Works sheds light on a near-hidden corner of culture, an insalubrious sector often dismissed and disparaged by the powers that be: the vandalism and intentional damage of works of art by independent citizens, be they artists or civilians. The exhibition is not an attempt to somehow legitimise or validate these events - it aims, instead, to begin a conversation. All these events occurred in the public realm, so there is a democratic responsibility to open them to public scrutiny or, at least, scrutinise them in public. With evidence comes examination and critical evaluation, private readings and public hearings, disagreement or accord. With fewer secrets we can talk more, and that can only be a good thing.