Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Uriel Landeros Exhibit Was a Crashing Bore (NSFW)

Robert Boyd

These guys must have been expecting so much more. But the "Houston, we have a problem..." exhibit at James Perez Art Gallery, by alleged Picasso vandal Uriel Landeros, was a damp squib, despite being breathlessly promoted as the scandal du jour by The Houston Chronicle and the Associated Press. If you went hoping for something to equal the artistic outrages of the past--the riots at Futurist serates, the opening of Le Sacre du Printemps, etc.--this was nothing. Claire Bishop describes a Futurist serate so:
In its Futurist iteration, this [audience] participation became directly antagonistic, with performers and audience making direct attacks on one another. [...] a member of the audience at the Teatro Verdi, Florence, on 12 December 1913, [...] gave Marinetti a pistol and invited him to commit suicide on stage. [Claire Bishop, Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship, 2012]
The Marinetti of this show, James Perez, tried his best to gin up scandal through a series of provocative statements on FaceBook. But while I was there, no one rose to his bait. (A friend who was there later described the scene as sparse and boring, so it doesn't seem as if things improved after I left.) Part of the problem is that the cowardly Landeros wasn't there. He was Skyping from another location, supposedly Mexico. The great revolutionary artist's most notable act in this whole fiasco was in running away. The shades of Henry David Thoreau, Gandhi and Martin Luther King don't know whether to laugh or cry. So any audience members who might have handed him a pistol or just punched his punk face in were left with nothing more than his smug visage projected on the wall and a load of shitty artwork.

The great revolutionary artist speaks

And Landeros's art, alas, is inept, derivative and juvenile. Its attempts to shock are utterly feeble and passé. It comes across as completely ersatz, faintly echoing superior artists who outraged (and challenged) public sensibilities--artists that I serious doubt Landeros has ever heard of. If he had, he would have been ashamed to show second-rate students work publicly.

Uriel Landeros, Ass Rape

Uriel Landeros, Transexual Blowjob

Uriel Landeros, Fuck Art

I liked the title of this one because his whole show--indeed his entire existence--is a big "fuck you" to art. But he is no Duchamp. He doesn't have the intellect. This is the work of tantrum, of a child screaming "look at me!!" He doesn't even seem dimly aware of what a clown he is. He takes himself seriously, which makes the work all the more ridiculous.

Uriel Landeros, Glory Hole

But he is far more risible when he tries to express something, some emotion or thought. These paintings display all the sensitivity of a wooden leg.

Uriel Landeros, Tears of Gold

Uriel Landeros, The Artists Ego

It may be too much to ask, but I hope this is the last we hear of Urial Landeros. But I would be pleased if he has the courage of his stated convictions and turns himself in. If his action spray-painting the Picasso was indeed a political statement--I'm dubious--then he should accept the consequences. That is something I would applaud.



  1. Clearly this character "Uriel Landeros" is a brilliant piece of performance art. I guess he thought people wouldn't notice that the character's name is obviously just an anagram of "a ruined loser" with an embarrassing extra L. I look forward to the artist behind the curtain coming forward to discuss his radical deconstruction of the overused "angry artist" cliche.

  2. I was underwhelmed. But apparently the show got into the NYT and Huff post (according to the Gallerist).

  3. Puts the fuckin' between R&B: as in really bad. the fake martyr he longs to identify himself as holds the hype of his own ego like an armless masturbator. begrudge him only one thing, that his gimmickry on the Picasso worked at least in one piss-poor respect: p.r. what a commentary on the age, when somebody does something ballsy we might bother to utter a few kind ignorant words; when somebody behaves cowardly and sociopathic, we queue to critique him with diatribe after diatribe, rewarded with his very own show, complete with Skype and strobe and channel 13.

    a rash-little vandal and little else, Landeros ought beg for forgiveness. and it can be a positive thing that his show is at least forgivable, dismissable by the virtue of its lack when put into context of the statvs qvo. because his work is so damn misguided and take-me-in-one-glance obvious, with such explosive titles as butt rape and donkey punch(might as well), we're stuck in the room with the village idiot, a juggler instead of an artist, a claustrophobe in defence of craft looking back weakly through a screen on an embarrassed sun-glassed soul. but the context! damn, if he doesn’t fit right in, in league with the cheeky core values of the decade. when technique is gimmickry just who fuckin’ created whom?

    truth is, in a broader sense there exists a greater historical harm that has operated in plain sight. when we believed all this time we had been paying enough attention, this is art at large drifting into short-cut devolution right under our noses: vanity mirrors, rampant with dimly-lit bulbs. the avant varicose, skeletal, gap-toothed vampires competing to borrow the next tattoo, zombieism, unintelligible geometry, botched ecco homo memes, whatever and all.

    of course kick-against-the-pricks cynicism comes easy: what are you going to do about it? perhaps the ballsiest thing is cut the cord, board up the gallery windows and demand the industry bring real meaningful light. ha. we’ve sniffed so much paint at so many openings we’re woozy and unprincipled, too bright and cool and free for our own good we long to bump into our professor before the next track of cocktailed house music exhibits its long-term lotus effect …. the threat that a day of reckoning for the industry will never ever come. it seems we’re pretty much fucked. even if in confessed pillow-talk to yourself, we should feel the stranglehold, the glacial guilt of how that right now there’s certainly much much worse work on display currently being revered as that a-word Art…?

  4. He's a poseur and a total loser with NO artisitc talent. He would be smart to stay in Mexico. And have a few "art" shows there. His political statement of trying to ruin a masterpiece shows how desperate he is for his 15 minutes of fame, which, thankfully was brief. He'll NEVER be an artist by any stretch of the imagination. He's a has been hack.