What is Neoism? Just another permutation of postmodern entropy. An incomprehensible and pointless muddle posturing as the latest avant-garde art movement. Best summed up by its founder, Istvan Kantor, when he stated, “We are the Neoists, do not listen to us.”
German police arrested Kantor last November on charges of property damage. He had splashed a container of his own blood on a wall of the Hamburger Bahnhof Contemporary Art Museum. The vandalism was part of Blood Campaign, Kantor’s 25 year long jaunt of defacement through the world’s museums and galleries. Blood Campaign consists of marching into a prominent art space and splattering a large bloody “X” upon a wall in his blood, then reciting a manifesto in which he donates the “painting” to the venue. For this he’s been arrested multiple times and banned from galleries and museums around the world.
In the 1980’s Kantor began his Blood series with the following performance. Sitting in a grave of his own digging, he inserted a vial of his blood into his rectum and then positioned himself so that the blood flowed into his mouth. In my opinion, someone should have filled in the grave at that point.
Before rebuking me as nothing more than a backward-looking realist painter for refusing to recognize genius, take heart, Kantor’s talents are being rewarded… while all I get is this crummy blog. The 2004 Canadian Governor General’s Award for Visual and Media Arts was bestowed upon Kantor in recognition of his work. Administered by the Canada Council of the Arts, the prize includes $15,000. Kantor is also enjoying an artist-in-residence at Berlin’s Podewil Center for Contemporary Arts.