Art is subjective. Whatever the hell Shia LaBeouf has been doing has seemed more like a strange cry for help as the actor has a very public meltdown. From skywriting, to plagiarism, to paper bags, to walking out of a press conference we've all seen him do some very strange things. But what he's doing now in a gallery in Los Angeles may be the strangest move of them all.
I am no where near Los Angeles, so attending this gallery in person was impossible. Luckily a few have visited this strange display of mental illness and the following is a combination of their accounts. I'll link directly to their stories if you'd like a more in-depth retelling of this new stunt.
The gallery is only letting one person in at a time for this "art". A bouncer stands outside the place at the head of a usually 4 to 5 person long line. No photography is allowed. You walk inside and are greeted by a young woman and part collaborator for the exhibit. You are shown a table full of trinkets, many of which represent aspects of LaBeouf's career including a whip, a toy Transformer, and a copy of a Daniel Clowes graphic novel, the man he plagiarized. You choose your object of choice and then are escorted back to sit down in a makeshift room with a man in tuxedo with a paper bag over his head. This is Shia LaBeouf. The two accounts I've read have LaBeouf staying quiet, eyes red from crying, and responding to almost nothing. One reporter removed his paper bag and took a picture with their phone, all while he remained silent.
In an age of viral videos and hashtags it's very easy to brush this off as a cheap attempt to grab attention and/or cash from a celebrity obsessed culture. Or just as another famous person crumbling over the constant attention that follows every aspect of your career. Is watching this man cry art? Is it all some strange corruption of mental illness and desperation? Or are we all being duped into reading, reporting, and talking about this for some nefarious or benign purpose?
Source: The Daily Beast