Survey of Arts Management

Course blog for American University PERF-570, Fall 2014

Oh, Shia LaBeouf.


Earlier this year, actor Shia LaBeouf created a performance art piece entitled #IAMSORRY. During the piece, LaBeouf sat at table with a paper bag over his face that read “I Am Not Famous Anymore”. The piece gained a lot of publicity and had several famous viewers and commentators (Kanye West famously attended with a tan turtleneck partially covering his face and renowned performance artist Marina Abramovic discussed it with New York Magazine). LaBeouf begins a new work on September 25th, at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, that focuses on running. An avid runner, LaBeouf plans on running around the museum, inviting others to join him “running shoes optional”. Although I am unsure of what LaBeouf’s message is through the work, I do value his respect of collaboration. For this piece, he has partnered again with the same two artists who helped create #IAMSORRY.  His partners are Nastja Sade Ronkko, a Finnish conceptual artist, and Luke Turner, a British performance artist.  Together, they have created the tag #METAMARATHON to gain visibility for the work. I’ll be interested to follow the tag on social media tomorrow to see the response to the work.

Perhaps it will be a great success. Perhaps LaBeouf should just stick to making Transformers movies (a sentence I truly thought I’d never say).


3 comments on “Oh, Shia LaBeouf.

  1. amyjoforeman
    September 24, 2014

    OMG I LOVE SHIA. He’s just so crazy nutso banana pants. I’m really excited to hear that he’ll be doing another art project. I love that this one is inclusive – asking others to run with him.

    I found one article, entitled “I Watched Shia LaBeouf Cry at His Weird LA Art Project,” seriously fascinating (look it up). Mostly because I’m trying to figure what the f— he’s doing. The author describes being told to read insults off a piece of paper at Shia while he wore the bag over his head. Apparently Shia had tears in his eyes and took the bag off his head when asked….WHAT??

    I don’t know anything about contemporary art. Is this stuff even good? That’s great that he works with two other, dare I say “actual,” artists. It seems like they could just be using him to boost their own careers. How does that affect the integrity of their work? I look forward to hearing what respected curators might say about this new project.

    Go Shia!

  2. cayleycarroll
    September 24, 2014

    Thanks for posting this because I have been passively avoiding all things LaBeouf because his “brand” has confused me and honestly, I haven’t wanted to deal with it. Well today is the day I actually looked at what this guy is offering……and… I am still pretty confused. Im in agreement with the author of this The Daily Beast article that his whole schtick is probably just a distraction from his past with plagiarism and an outcry for attention. Regardless of this context, the “weird LA art project” is pretty interesting.

    The installation is a comment on the relationship between “non celebrities” and celebrities via social media. It is not unusual for non-celebrities to criticize or say hurtful things about famous people on Facebook, Twitter and the like and those non-celebrities hardly see how those comments effect their targets. By being emotional in his paper bag, LaBeouf is declaring that celebs are human and they do get hurt even when non-celebs can’t see it. I don’t think LaBeouf’s installation is a particularly revolutionary idea but it is cool to see a young person applying himself in an artful way. Even if that artful way is VERY SIMILAR to another art experience done by Marina Abramovic at the MOMA in 2010. VERY SIMILAR.

    I applaud LaBoufe for doing him, even though “him” is super confusing and kind of a knock off.

    Here’s a link to Abramovic’s work:

  3. Jenni
    September 24, 2014

    Hahahaha, “crazy nutso banana pants” is right. I give the guy props for trying to break away from the Hollywood scene and do something different with his life, but I’m so confused as to what he’s trying to prove. I can’t tell if it’s him trying to seem normal (which is in fact making him seem insane) or if it’s some kind of masked ploy for attention. Knowing the track record of most American child stars (think Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Bynes, Britney Spears), I’m not really surprised that he’s gone a little “nutso.”

    If his main motivation for doing this really is to be a performance artist, then good for him. Everyone should have a chance to reinvent themselves. But I’ll admit I’m a little skeptical, and I really wonder if he will ever be taken seriously for this kind of work. Because right now most of us just shake our head and go “Oh, Shia, what crazy thing is he doing now?” Even his attempts to apologize for plagiarism through his last performance art piece, turned out to be ironically plagiaristic in nature (as Cayley pointed out).

    So I, too, am very curious to see how his next stunt/performance/thing turns out, and if he can ever truly be accepted as a serious performance artist by the art world.

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