Eastwood and burning bag

Does setting one’s handbag on fire make art happen?

Eastwood and burning bag

Francesca Eastwood burns $100,000 handbag. Photo: Tyler Shields [NZ Herald, 30 May, 2012]

Having read the media item where Clint Eastwood’s daughter and friend set alight to a very expensive handbag a response text emerges. After writing it a couple of times up it goes on Facebook and later a text emerges here. My text has shifted a bit.

Initially I thought the stunt was a major flop and sided with those who saw the action as rather selfish and pretentious. I couched my opinion in a speak that was freed from too much emotional vocabulary and my Facebook comment ends on the position – this is not art. Now I sit and wonder, what is art? Yes, the link to a profile of where the art event occurs, links to pre-existing profiles for those who perform the action, social context and discourse. OK, fine, and yet have I allowed myself, in the name of critical theory, to basically say art is in the service of some kind of notion of privilege. After all the links to who  says what, profiles of who acts and venues where the item sits or the art event happens, all have to do with positioning. Does my belief that art can serve a critical role save me? That is up for more thought.

So have I changed my mind from my Facebook post or is this a question of just being somewhere else with my thinking but nowhere in particular – the later ….

If you do want to set alight to a $100,000 handbag, let me know, I’ll get a really good copy made, you or I can sell the thing and you can give me the cash. I could use the money to live on for a while. Mind you I might have to tell WINZ.


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