As the ongoing Occupy Wall Street protests enter their second month, artists have begun to play a more active role in some aspects of the movement. A group called Occupy Museums is embarking on a tour of New York’s art institutions this afternoon, Thursday, Oct. 20, and some artists have created a website they call The Occupennial, which endeavors to document the art interventions that are emerging from the movement.
Major artists, however, have been largely silent about the protests, and that got us thinking: whose art is well designed for Zuccotti Park? At left, our ten picks for artists who should bring their work to downtown Manhattan.
Now that he's retiring--at least according to what he told The New York Times--could there be a better time for Mr. Cattelan to take his act to the financial district? He could install his upside down policemen sculpture, and really confuse people. Or, remember when he had someone wearing a giant Picasso mask hang out outside MoMA shaking people's hands? They could use a Picasso down at Zuccotti Park. (Look out, Marie Thereses…)
Image: Maurizio Cattelan, Untitled (Picasso), 1998. (Courtesy Eyestorm Editions)
He makes art out of words. He could help with signs and things. His art will say things like "DUST+WATER PUT SOMEWHERE." That could easily be turned into something like "UNEMPLOYED+99% OCCUPY," because a lot of the time the protesters signs don't really make sense anyway.
Image: Lawrence Weiner, DUST + WATER PUT SOMEWHERE BETWEEN THE SKY & THE EARTH #662, 1990. (Courtesy Radical Art)
Image: Gillian Wearing, I'm desperate, 1992-93. (© Gillian Wearing, courtesy Maureen Paley/ Interim Art, London)
Mr. Tunick photographs huge numbers of naked people standing around on beaches or in the mountains, or lying down on a bridge like a giant, naked bridge-carpet. We keep hearing that there are all these hot people down at Zuccotti Park, and that some of them are sort of naked already. Seems perfectly primed for a Tunick set. Take it off, protesters, for Mr. Tunick's lens; take it all off.
Image: Spencer Tunick, Mexico City 4 (Zócalo, MUCA/UNAM Campus), 2007. (Courtesy the artist)
Occupy Wall Street seems like the perfect opportunity to resurrect Tilted Arc, the huge, imposing, mind-blowingly amazing sculpture that was eventually removed from a downtown office plaza because some office workers (and federal judges) thought it was alienating, attracted rats, could aid terrorism and so forth. One word for you, Tilted Arc: Occupy. A giant, alienating sculpture. Try that on for size, One Percent.
Image: Richard Serra, Tilted Arc, 1981. (Photo © David Aschkenas)
Occupy Wall Street wants to get its message out, right? Well, Mr. Smith performs as his alter-ego, a tottering man-infant called Baby Ikki, complete with diaper, bonnet and pacifier. Stitch some 99-percent slogans on his outfit, and you've got a story.
Image: Michael Smith as Baby Ikki. (Courtesy SculptureCenter)
The artist's performances involve people kissing, conversing, or dancing around singing songs. We could imagine Mr. Sehgal making a piece called Occupy, where you would walk into, oh, say, Marian Goodman gallery and see a bunch of people sitting around protesting and sloganeering. Then Slavoj Žižek would appear and you really wouldn't know whether he was part of the show, or just there to check it out. And Mr. Sehgal wouldn't tell you, either.
Image: Tino Sehgal does not permit documentation of his artworks.
No, not because of her Bed Peace work. She could recreate her 1961 Voice Piece for Soprano piece, which was shown at the Museum of Modern Art last year, for which people were invited to scream at the top of their lungs into a microphone. For Occupy Wall Street, she could make it into a human microphone, with everyone screaming at once.
Image: Installation view of Yoko Ono, Voice Piece for Soprano, 1961, at the Museum of Modern Art. (Courtesy eltercero / Flickr)
Michael Landy and Andrea Zittel collaboration
Here is how this would go down. Ms. Zittel would make mobile homes to house protesters in the cold months. The only way to gain entry to them, though, would be to have your credit card gobbled up by the credit-card-shredding, drawing-making machine that Mr. Landy presented at this year's Frieze Art Fair. That'd keep the one percent out.
Image: Michael Landy, Credit Card Destroying Machine, 2011, at the Frieze Art Fair. (Courtesy Linda Nylind)
The Chicago-based artist's Soundsuits are much, much cooler than the protesters' current get ups. A new Occupy Wall Street series could keep people warm during the winter.
Image: Nick Cave, Soundsuit. (Courtesy Jack Shainman Gallery)