Jade Goody’s not cold in her grave and already a “controversial” artist is leeching off her celebrity to generate some quick and dirty PR. News broke in the Hackney Gazette last week that performance artist Mark McGowan is organising a re-enactment of the final hours of Jade Goody’s life.
It’s a pretty typical scam; the two-hour show will feature a performer lying on a bed donning a cardboard box as a head and will also feature artists playing the roles of Jackey Budden, Jade’s mother, her publicist Max Clifford and Jack Tweed, her husband. And, what a surprise, it’s opening in the most pretentious area of artdom – Shoreditch – on May 18th.
McGowan obviously enjoys boosting his name with takes on controversial subject matter – back in 2005 he created a re-enactment of the shooting of Jean Charles de Menzes by the police. To achieve this, he sat in a bath filled with baked beans with chips in his nostrils, and then he went dancing outside Scotland Yard in a pink tutu and a pig mask.
Surely, Mr. McGowan, you can come up with something better this time round? We understand that art is difficult to define, but if the piece on Jade is anything like the Jean Charles de Menzes re-enactment, it will simply be an obvious and, more importantly, insensitive ploy to get publicity for an otherwise unknown and, seemingly, totally talentless person. Sensationalism and exploitation are easy to achieve – it takes a certain kind of genius to create something really infectious and inspiring out of the misery of others.
It does not appear that your show will be art in the traditional sense of skill or mastery, nor does it look like you have any intention of stimulating thought or emotion. This seems to me to be merely a vehicle for the artist (and I use that word loosely) to communicate his desperation to be noticed.
Well, I suppose it’s suckered me in to giving it ink.