An Inclusive Litany

3/25/02

Backed by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, Deirdre Alden, a city councilor in Birmingham, England, is calling for a ban on admitting children to the city's Ikon Gallery due to its exhibit of a piece of video art with the self-explanatory title: Ten People Remunerated to Masturbate. Gallery owner Jonathan Watkins defended the piece, saying it "is not about exciting people ... it's making a serious point about the exploitation of people in the sex industry in the Third World."

The artist, Santiago Sierra [no relation!], regularly features refugees and prostitutes accepting meager sums to perform "repetitive, and often pointless" tasks. Previous works include Person Remunerated to Remain Tied Down to a Wooden Block (2001), 68 People Remunerated to Block a Museum's Entrance (2000), and 133 People Remunerated to Have Their Hair Dyed Blond (2001).

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