If Art Basel organizers thought they could keep the political statements on the walls and the protests outside on the streets, they were wrong.
This afternoon at around 4 p.m., two protesters in bizarre costumes walked into the Collector's Lounge and caused a disturbance. Kalan Sherrard, a New York "avant-garde nihilist subway performer," played with a balloon as his partner, Maria Paz Valenzuela, read
a manifesto text from Art Basel's website. When security ushered them towards the door, Sherrard began yelling "Fuck you!" and "Fuck Art Basel" while flipping people the bird.
The two were arrested outside the art fair and remain in jail. We're posting video of the protest and the arrests below.
Here is video of the protest as it happened inside the Collector's Lounge:
And here is video of their arrests afterwards:
According to friends of Sherrard's, the two protesters had valid tickets to the fair and were arrested on charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest without violence.
Apparently police mistook Sherrard's dildo for a weapon.
At around 1:11 on the arrest video, he can be heard yelling: "I didn't do anything. You grabbed the fucking dildo out of my hand! You thought the fucking dildo was a gun!"
Sherrard is a fairly well known -- if not beloved -- subway performer in NYC. New York magazine put him on its cover earlier this year. In a video piece for the magazine, he explained his approach to art.
"I've always been interested in performing in public," he said. "I think it has to do with being really bored with the world, sort of. Both really bored and really interested. And I think it has to do with politics in terms of being really against and critical of so many things in terms of the way the world is organized, that the only left to do is act insane, to act like an insane person."
Curiously enough, he doesn't believe in photography.
Here is a statement New Times received regarding the protest. Make of it what you will:
Folding the Black Flag is an exploration of Nihilist Poetics formed through collaborative installation and an extended series of Performance Not-Happenings from New York City to Miami. The exposition is an attempt to "fold" both in the sense of pack-up/give-up abandon, and of rehistoricization and temporal revisionism - to actively create a new past by reorganizing and layering its facts (can the dadaists, for instance, be written onto the black panther party?) - where ultimately, an exponential proliferation of folds suggest movement towards monad pluralism, or a singluarity milieu achieved through the activiation of infinite dualist binaries: one-ness/many-ness accessed through two-ness.
The problem of revolutionary simultaneity in tearing down old worlds while replacing them with new ones at the same time becomes activated in the serialised declarations of several "utopias of flesh and(/or) thought" while analogizing the individual body with its socius and writing diseases as political reflections. This gives rise to the question of post-utopic positioning, and the contemporary absence of any inkling of a human project beyond banal happiness and survival: "can we approach an immortal becoming in the stars, a unity of intelligences, the inversion-collapse of the big bang into void? what are we doing?"
A series of ritual anarchist weird-ins attempt to bore uncanny fractures into the rote pattern of daily life and effect the metaphorizing and mutual projection-reflection of micro and macro-cosmic bodies (in a kind of ontogeny-phylogeny dialectic) with emphasis on medical dissonance, and healing via communal euphoric becoming in orgiastic fight clubs and death marches of jouissance.
Manifold forays into political aesthetics with varying degrees of 'authenticity' and realism highlight the acknowledgement of a politics beyond hope: what becomes of the radical when society has catapulted so far past the point of no return as to render any 'actual' political activity naive, moot and stillborn.
Nevertheless, in a raw illustration of "pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will" the polycephalous group is launching a series of physical interventions in the vacuous and venom-filled Miami art fairs: if not to inject a bacchanalian passion, if not to protest, if not demand accountability, or cry shame on the hoards of elite high-bourgeois "collectors" hoarding their opulence into untaxable calcifications of meaninglessness and privatized "culture," then at least to deride their own pathetic proximity to its stench, and tease and horrify the elite mass with a glimpse of free delight, to invite action, when suicide is not enough. Opera Becoming Fugue, Terrorist Becoming CEO, Death March Becoming Obscene Parade.
The idols, inverted paintings, text combines and anti-objects that form the backbone of the exposition are relics drawn from the momentous climaxes of individual and social crises, theories given form birthed through nonphilosophy into the Anthropocentric Slavery of Objects.
A series of spontaneous free school/cabaret couplings will accompany and augment the gallery's regular hours, and as a special bonus, all works in the show are being offered as expanded field carbon offsets that, when purchased, activate an historical "fold" that (similar to the well-known heifer project) alleviates some of the art patron's moral complicity with oppressions past and present by clever subjective twists and fusions.
It appears as if this was the second time Sherrard was arrested this week. Court dockets show he was arrested on Thursday for "disorderly conduct" and "wearing a mask on the street."
Sherrard described the first incident on Facebook underneath a photo of the outfit that got him arrested.
"Yesterday I was arrested for Dancing and Wearing A Speaking Costume, and imprisoned for 24 hours in Miami-Dade county's series of incarceratory complexes," he wrote. "It was a Kafkaesque nightmare of juggling and impossible echoes of choice, but in the end my friends and family came through and bounced me out. Thank you so much. Minus A Day, Plus the complete clarity of repose, withdrawl, meditation and disjuncture, incarceration unfailingly punctuating the entrenchment of white supremacy, privilege, and complicity. It is a spinning knife.
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"In jail I remembered everything. I came back to myself."