Last November Shia LaBeouf watched all his movies in the Angelika Film Centre in New York City, there were crowds in the lobby waiting hours to get in and sit in the same theatre with Shia as he watched his films.
For people like me, in rural Australia, I could watch Shia watching his films through a live stream of him watching his films, end-to-end, for hours on end. An art project conveniently called All My Movies.
Since then, I’ve had three screengrabs of him on my desktop to remind me of what being an artist is all about.
In my mind, it was a very Warholian moment. It was indulgent, self-referential and self-reflecting, it was modern and questionable to its artistic merits. Even in today’s “What is art?” standards, it made some folks uncomfortable.
Why does it remind me of what being an artist is? Because it’s about doing it and seeing what happens. It’s about giving it a go and trying not to give a shit. It’s also very now. In a world where everyone is broadcasting ourselves, there was something deliciously intimate about Shia La Beouf watching his own work without us seeing what he was watching.
I didn’t watch it all, it was one of those delightful things you could drop in and out of. Like a conversation with your grandma, you wouldn’t miss too much, but it’s lovely when you pop in.
For me, it was inspiring and smart and not at all bat-shit crazy like many people thought it was. Art for the masses indeed.