Martha Wilson, Art Sucks, 1972
Martha Wilson
Art Sucks

Biography (english)Martha Wilson (*1947, USA) is an artist whose first performances were for an audience of one – her Pentax camera. She began her artistic career in 1971 while teaching English at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Canada. She moved to New York in 1974, where she performed for real audiences at The Kitchen, the Whitney Museum, P.S.1 and countless other venues. In 1978, she founded the all-female punk band DISBAND. None of the members could play an instrument, and DISBAND disbanded in 1982. After this, Wilson turned to political satire, performing as Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush and Tipper Gore, to name a few of her personas. Martha Wilson was also the founder and director of Franklin Furnace (since 1976), an art event space and archive specialising in process oriented art.

artist's website:

Art Sucks is part three of Martha Wilson’s series of early video performances recorded in Halifax, Canada, which also includes Premiere, Routine Performance and Appearance as Value. These performances show the artist taking on the role of a kind of newscaster philosophising about art. The title of this performance has a double meaning. On the one hand, it denigrates art. On the other hand, the presenter claims dryly that the soul of a person in a colour photograph she is holding up to the camera has been sucked out of it. She declares that eating the picture will restore this long-lost identity to her. She rips up the photograph and eats it.

Courtesy Martha Wilson

Document media
Video, b&w, sound, 1:22 min

Issue date

Laura Cottingham (COT 1)
Martha Wilson (WILS 1)

de/construct identities, gaze, language, lecture performance