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Outrageous, Sensational Art

"The purpose of art actually is to make you feel quite uncomfortable "

---- Michael Moore ( film maker)

These outrageous, sensational art are INTENTIONAL. The purpose is to create a circus quality to it as intended by these artist to make people think and create a conversation usually in response to what the artist observed in society.

These are just some of my favorites:

1. The Artist is Present - 2010 by: Marina Abramovic ( performance artist). People waited long lines to sit across the artist and stare her in the eye. No time limit. You can sit there as long as you can , no conversation , no physical contact, just eye contact . It drove some of the participants to tears. ( photo credit

2. The Maybe 1995/2013 by Tilda Swinton ( performance artist)- The Oscar winning actress surprised people at Moma. NY in 2013 when she allowed the public to watch her nap in a glass box. She slept in the same glass box in in 1995 for 7 days for 8 hrs./day at Serpentine Gallery, London.

3. Love is in the Bin. Banksy 2018 ( street artist) - Banksy pulled off this crazy stunt by shredding Love in the air balloon 2006 right after it was sold at Sotheby's Auction. He put a shredder inside the frame, destroyed the Love is in the Air art and created a new one - a shredded paper in an art frame. What a performance! What a stunt!

photo credit:Sothebys

4. The Physical Impossibility of Death in the mind of Someone Living 1991 Damien Hirst ( contemporary artist) - The artist preserved a real tiger shark in formaldehyde.

( photo credit:

7. Work no 227. The Lights going On and Off by Martin Creed .

The artist won turner Prize in 2001 for Work no227.

" The lights going on and off consists of an empty room which is filled with light for five seconds and then plunged into darkness for five seconds. This pattern is repeated ad infinitum. This work challenges the traditional conventions of museum or gallery display and, consequently, the visiting experience. Creed plays with the viewer’s sense of space and time and in so doing he implicates and empowers the viewer, forcing an awareness of, and interaction with, the physical actuality of the space.

This work emerges from the artist’s ongoing series of investigations into commonplace phenomena. His subtle interventions reintroduce the viewer to elements of the everyday. Creed’s choice and use of materials – plain A4 sheets of paper, blu-tak, masking tape, party balloons, simple or ‘unpoetic’ language as text or as lyrics to songs – is a thoughtful celebration of the ordinary, a focused reading of the ambiguity of everyday stuff." ( quoted from

6. Tilted Arc - sculpture by Richard Serra. "Tilted Arc was a controversial public art installation displayed in Foley Federal Plaza in Manhattan from 1981 to 1989. The art work consisted of a 120-foot-long, 12-foot-high solid, unfinished plate of rust-covered COR-TEN steel. " ( quoted from wikipedia)

This abstract sculpture art was disliked by the public and was eventually taken down because the public thought it was nothing more than a disruptive nuisance.

“I think the notion of people finding one material ugly and another non-ugly really has to do with the corporate media indoctrination…”--- Richard Serra

photo credit: google image

7. Surrounded Islands 1983 by : Christo and Jeanne -Claude. One of the most fascinating environment-art projects made by the husband and wife artist team. "11 of the islands in Biscayne Bay, Greater Miami were surrounded with 6.5 million square feet of floating pink woven polypropylene fabric which covered the surface of the water, and extended out 200 feet from each island into the bay. In order to follow the contours of the islands, the fabric was sewn into 79 patterns. As with Christo and Jeanne-Claude's previous art projects, Surrounded Islands was entirely financed by the artists, through the sale of preparatory drawings, collages, and early works. The artists do not accept sponsorship of any kind. "

photo and quote credit:

8." ATM Piece" 1997 Pope L. ( American visual artist know for his performance art) was called E.D.P. Emotionally Disturbed Person by a police when Pope.L wore nothing but Timberland work boots and a skirt made of dollar bills and “chained” himself with an 8-foot-long string of Italian sausages to a Chase Bank in Midtown Manhattan.

photo credit: New York Times

9. CRAWLS” Pope L. is most famous for his Crawl performance art. He has performed more than 30, either individually or collectively, over the years. For “The Great White Way: 22 Miles, 9 Years, 1 Street” (2001-09), He wore a Superman costume bought at a party store and crawled up Broadway, in increments. His most recent one is Conquest where 100 volunteers handpicked by Pope L. crawled the streets of New York. My husband was one of the "crawlers" who participated in this performance art.

photo credit: Moma

10. He Xei ( River crab) 2010 Ai Wei Wei - 3,200 porcelain crabs were installed in Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington,DC, In Chinese, He xei( river crab) sounds like harmonious. A slogan often used by his government.

"The artwork is a homage to Ai’s departed Shanghai studio which the authorities decided to raze in punishment for Ai’s activism. To mourn its impending demolition, Ai invited five hundred guests to a huge crab fest at the studio on November 7, 2010. Ten thousands crabs were consumed that day, but minus Ai. He was placed under house arrest the day before in Beijing and released the day after to prevent his attendance. Shortly afterwards, bulldozers arrived and demolished his extensive complex that has been originally been paid for by the city of Shanghai." (

11.Sunflower Seeds (2010) By: Ai Wei Wei

Ai Weiwei covered the entire floor of the Tate Modern Turbine Hall in London with over 100 million replica sunflower seeds. Each of these seeds was individually handcrafted by the artisans. Each of the seeds was uniquely molded, individually fired at 1300c, precisely hand-painted and further fired again at 800c for utmost perfection in the city of Jingdezhen. The city is primarily famous for the production of Imperial porcelain . The production continued for more than two years producing more than 100 million seeds weighing over 150 metric tons that can cover 1000 square meters area of the Turbine Hall. ( wikipedia)

photo credit: Tate modern

"Attributed as the ‘Seeds of Hope’, the installation was both sensory and immersive. Visitors were allowed to touch the seeds, walk on them, and listen to the sound as the seeds shift under their feet.

The sunflower, following the sun, is also a well-known metaphor for The People during China’s Cultural Revolution. The seeds provided nourishment at all levels of society, and the ubiquitous discarded husks provided evidence of an individual’s existence. Ai Weiwei created a deceptively unified field with a large number of individual seeds. Sunflower Seeds comments on social, political and economic issues relevant to contemporary China such as the role of the individual in relationship to the collective.

The tactile and engaging nature of the seeds raises many pertinent questions about the world around us. How do we contribute as an individual to our society? Do we need to act together to stay strong, significant and powerful? Are we heading towards a promising future with our increasing desires and materialistic outlook? Ai Weiwei always believed that an individual must set an example for society to follow. Only one’s own behavior and acts can define one’s individual self and the society around it."

( quote from

“My definition of art has always been the same. It is about freedom of expression, a new way of communication. It is never about exhibiting in museums or about hanging it on the wall. Art should live in the heart of the people.” – Ai Weiwei


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