Odd Art

March 26, 2009 at 5:40 pm (art) (, , , , , , )

What do sheep, burger grease, the London tube have in common? Why, they’re all art of course – wonderfully odd, odd art.

Here is a round-up of five contemporary artists who are pushing artistic conventions and, frankly, taste.

5. The Mona Greasa 

You already know that fast-food is bad for you, but now you can literally see just how bad. American artist Phil Hansen has used both burger and fry grease to make his art. He used 14 burgers to make a 12 ft Mona Lisa.

4. Ruislip Rhythmns

Ben Langham is a London based engineer-cum-DJ who likes to record the sounds of the Underground. He takes a digital recorder with him into London’s tube system, capturing anything from escalators to passing trains, and then mixes them into dance tracks.

“I liked the idea of having this concept, noises from behind the scenes on the tube which the general public don’t get to listen to.” said Ben.

Picture: little pollo

Picture: little pollo

3. Spanish artist Juan Francisco Casas creates 6ft portraits (left) out of the humble biro. In an interview in Metro, Casas said he ventured away from oil painting for a bit of fun but then ended up coming second in a national art competition. “It was an academic competition and I knew they would think my entry was a joke. It was a real shock it was so successful.”

2. Heads and Tales by Heide Hatry

New York based Hatry creates her portraits out of untreated pigskin which covers sculpted  clay, raw flesh for the lips and fresh pig eyes, “in order that the resulting portrait would appear as if it were looking at the viewer with a vital expression which the photographer had just captured at that moment.

“In fact, a photographer taking a picture of a model does more or less what I’ve done with my sculptures: the model will be made up, its hair will be done, appropriate lighting and pose will be chosen, etc.”

1. Extreme shepherding.

The Baaa-Studs – a troupe of men from Wales – took to the hills armed with sheep, sheep-dogs and special LED sheep-sized “jackets”. And then there was art. Among the creations: a fireworks display, a giant sheep, a game of Pong and the Mona Lisa.

In using sheep as a medium, The Baaa-Studs challenge our perception of what constitues art. By blurring the boundary between art and farming, they make a profound comment on the taut relationship between culture and Nature. Or something.



  1. eavestile said,

    I don’t think this is being very nice to the sheep. Art which involves cruelty to animals shouldn’t be allowed.

    • theflaneurist said,

      Interesting point although I think in this situation the sheep weren’t treated with cruelty – they were just being herded as normal (allbeit with silly jackets on).

      A good article discussing the use of animals in art can be found here

  2. Lola said,

    The biro drawings are incredible – I can’t wrap my head around how someone could create a portrait with a ball point pen that looks that much like a photograph. Amazing find.

  3. Lyndsay said,

    Well I think the shepherds should stand on the Gormley plinth at night with a coat of lights strapped to their backs and let the pulic below direct them to move around and …step off??
    I think probably a frightening rather than life enhancing experience for the sheep, but I have to admit I found it interesting and how many times did they have to practce?

  4. Alpiniste de Pôle said,

    I love the greasy burger art. Reminds me of something far more vile from Eurotrash a few years back though!

  5. Coppinoff said,

    The sheep loved it. You can tell by the cheeky smile playing around their mouths, like little wooley Mona Lisas.

    Baaa-Studs. Good name. Kind of reminds me of a New Zealand-made film I saw recently – ‘Black Sheep’. It was basically a zombie sheep film. The tagline? “The Violence of the Lambs”.

  6. Coppinoff said,

    Oh yeah, and also: as luck would have it I was perusing some Baudrillard and also some Walter Benjamin over the weekend. (No, this is not a joke. I really am that pathetic.) They make some interesting points about modern (ie highly reproducable, mechanised) art – from the likes of Warhol, Duchamp etc – stating that ‘mass-produced’ art has been the enabling factor in our subconscious quest to remove the element of religion and worship from artistic products; but, rather than replace the religious element with another point of reference, it leaves that particular void yawning and empty. Don’t know where the LED sheep come into it though. I suppose there might actually be a slight element of religion (or at least religious allusion) in there somewhere – shepherding playing a big part in the biblical world. But then, the fact that they could have carried out this trick with any sheep, not just the particular ones they chose to use, highlights the mass produced-ness and potential reproducability of this piece.

    Who cares about ‘is it art?’ – the real question is, is it modern art?

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