Weirdness  - 16May97
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Fri, 20 Jun 97 13:19:59 -0700
Subject: Weirdness  - 16May97
Excerpyted-from: WEIRDNUZ.484 (News of the Weird, May 16, 1997)
by Chuck Shepherd
* The New York Times, describing several civil sub-wars now raging in Zaire
as President Mobutu's 30-year reign ends, reported in April on the "quixotic
on-and-off conflict waged by Mai-Mai guerillas, who hide in the jungle and
smoke large quantities of marijuana." People fear the Mai-Mai because it
is believed that bullets turn to water before hitting them, and stories
circulate about how the mere threat of the Mai-Mais' appearance causes
forces to retreat and surrender. However, the Times reported, "When the
Mai-Mai were killed in [a recent battle], it was speculated that they might
recently have had sex, which, some Zairians say, destroys the Mai-Mai's
protection from bullets for a day or two."
[It doesn't work that way for everyone? -psl]
* Sony Pictures Studios sought a court order in April to keep Raymond R.
Taylor off the set of the TV show "Wheel of Fortune." He had been a
contestant in 1993, but keeps coming to the tapings, sneaking onto the set,
and annoying the audience and staff (and four times has managed to get his
face shown on the air).
* The Tokyo-based company OM2, in a performance at the Kitchen in New York
City in October, set up 11 mobile pens inside which the audience sat while
the 20 cast members stared at them and moved the cages from place to place.
The goals, said the New York Times, were "blurring the line between artist
and audience, and the ever-popular audience discomfort."
["The ever-popular audience discomfort" has a real ring to it, don't you
think? DON'T YOU THINK!? -psl]
* South Korean artist Bul Lee's display at the Museum of Modern Art in New
York City in March, which consisted only of rotting fish in sealed bags and
glass cabinets, was abruptly pulled by officials after only several hours'
display because the ventilation equipment failed. The show was entitled
* In April, Russian performance artist Oleg Kulik opened a two- week show,
"I Bite America and America Bites Me," in which he stayed in character as
a dog from the time his plane landed in New York City until the time he left
town. Kulik holed up in a gallery cage wearing only a dog collar and
exhibiting the gamut of dog behaviors and emotions, and visitors could enter
the cage to play with him only after putting on protective padding in case
Kulik bit them. Kulik has been arrested in three countries for biting his
[The following four items are nice, but they lack something... Could it be
the ever-popular audience discomfort? -psl]
* In a February show at San Francisco's Capp Street Project building, artist
Glen Seator reproduced to exact scale the outside of the Capp Street Project
building and the street that abuts it. Seator used 115 tons of gravel, 30
tons of asphalt, and 100 tons of sand and recreated details down to the
placement of poster staples on a telephone pole. And sculptor Lowell Davis,
who made News of the Weird in 1995 when he burned down his studio because
he was dissatisfied with his career, was apparently reborn this winter when
he finished constructing a 50-acre town, of old buildings he had bought
elsewhere and moved, in the middle of a Missouri cornfield.
* In March, University of Pittsburgh art history teacher Jack Sheffler put
three tons of Hostess cupcakes and Sno Balls into 113 square feet in the
school's library gallery to make the point, of course, of the similarity
between ancient architecture and pop art. And last winter, the Institute
of Visual Art in New York city toured six cities with its Yugo Art show
featuring non-car uses (e.g., a piano, a fireplace, a church confessional,
and a car wash with working shower) of discarded models of the very
unpopular 1985- 1992 car.
* In May, at a SoHo gallery in New York City, Bill Scanga showed
taxidermized dead mice propped up in tiny chairs or on the floor, gazing at
artwork in miniature rooms that were exact replicas of rooms at the
Metropolitan Museum of Art, and watching a small TV set that plays "Tom and
Jerry" cartoons, and observing live mice in small cages in a zoo-like
* In March at a Penn State University gallery, student Christine Enedy's
"25 Years of Virginity . . . A Self-Portrait," supposedly a monument to the
importance of Catholicism in her life, was hung, to the consternation of at
least one state senator. The work consists of 25 pairs of underwear with
red crosses sewn into the crotches.
Copyright 1997 by Universal Press Syndicate.
© 1997 Peter Langston