1885: The work Supremo Convegno by Giacomo Grosso stirs controversy within the first edition of the Venice Biennial. The painting depicts a dead Don Juan in his coffin surrounded by four naked young women with their hair lose. The Patriarch of Venice Giuseppe Sarto (the future Papa Pious X) tries to censure the work and characterizes it as an offence to decency. However, the painting remains on display becoming the main attraction of the Biennale.
1913: Mary Richardson enters the National Gallery in London with a chopper hidden up her sleeve and slashes the work Rokeby Venus by Diego Velasquez. Her gesture is part of the Art Attack action through which the suffragettes attempt to destroy works which idealize the female body. This is a form of protest against the imprisonment of Emmeline Pankhurst, a preeminent figure in the fight for women’s right to vote. Museums remain closed for one month afterwards.
2010: On a stage, two women wearing gorilla masks are reading a manifest in front of 4000 people. It is the graduation ceremony of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and two members of the Guerilla Girls collective are sharing their experience and principles for a new art world. Among these: embracing failure, being impatient, crazy, anonymous, leading a double life, making cheap art and complaining in a creative way.
Read the full manifesto here.
2013: Larisa Crunțeanu kneels with an arm up in the air above the body of a young man lying on the floor. Around them three other people seem to deplore the fate of this apparently lifeless Don Juan. The scene takes place in the middle of the Romanian Pavilion at the 55’th Edition of the Venice Biennale and is part of the work An Immaterial Retrospective of the Venice Biennale by Alexandra Pirici și Manuel Pelmuș.
But what could a guide for an unacceptable behaviour consist of? And what could it mean within the context of the museum as we know it? What about in the context of a performance section?
Guide to an Unacceptable Behaviour will take place between December 10th – January 14th in the 4th floor of the National Museum of Contemporary Art and will include works by: Raluca Croitoru, Xandra Popescu & Larisa Crunțeanu, Larisa David, Adriana Gheorghe, Kiki Mihuță, Ada Mușat, Marina Oprea.
Guide to an Unacceptable Behaviour is part of the exhibition WHAT ABOUT Y[OUR] MEMORY?, curators Irina Cios and Iosif Kiraly. The exhibition is placed on the 4th floor of the museum and can be visited between 27.11.2014 and 02.02.2015.