artist

Wet Paint in the Wild: Artist Monsieur Zohore Rode Out His L.A. Gallery Opening Inside a Bespoke Coffin-Turned-Kissing Booth


Welcome to Wet Paint in the Wild, the freewheeling—and free!—spinoff of Midnight Publishing Group News Pro’s beloved Wet Paint gossip column, where we give art-world insiders a disposable camera to chronicle their lives on the circuit. To read the latest Wet Paint column, click here (members only).

Monsieur Zohore’s absurd, irreverent artwork tends to steal the show wherever it’s on view. While the artist is best known for his paintings on paper towels and his confrontational, campy performances, Zohore’s work often makes people laugh at first, then realize that these pieces are searing satires of deeply troubling racial realities in America.

His new show at M+B in Los Angeles, “My Condolences,” is a satire of the outsized trend of figurative painting by Black artists in the art market. The artist asked 93 different artists to paint, while at the opening, Zohore lied in a handmade casket and asked viewers to kiss him through a cut-out in the wood (it’s on view now through February 18th). Let’s take a look at what that process was like…

Bonjour, je m’appelle Monsieur Zohore and welcome to the installation of my most recent show “MZ.25 (My Condolences)” at M+B in Los Angeles. Putting a show together with 93 artists in it was an all-hands-on-deck kind of situation. Even my gallerist, Benjamin Triggano, was doing construction work.

A lot of people thought I had a death wish when I told them I was trying to get 93 artists to make portraits of me, to which I would respond “No, I have a death wish because my contribution to the show is a coffin that is also a kissing booth.”

If all of this wasn’t enough chaos I decided to crank out a few more of my paper towel paintings just for shits and gigs.

A long day wouldn’t be complete without a long dinner with my two favorite French clowns, Benjamin Triggano and Olivier Babin. Meals with them are always dinner and a show.

Planning meetings with Tess from the gallery all took place at a Lisa Vanderpump establishment because why not? You know you would too if you could. Here we are in front of Sur.

This was the most innovative install I have ever experienced. Benson from the gallery had a solution for every problem, like how to reheat pizza at lunch.

A show of 93 portraits meant 93 sittings. Here I am after posing for Marianne Simnet at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

Closed out this day with a bougie sushi dinner with Cameron Patricia Downey, who flew in from Minneapolis for the show.

Back at the gallery on the last day of install and it’s go big or go home, like this massive Fawn Rogers video sculpture. Pro Tip: Track suits from Target make your ass look great.

Had to move the studio outside…for my hangover after having too many bougie sushi martinis at dinner last night.

But here comes my bestie Jo Messer to the rescue. She always knows exactly what I need to get through the day.

Install is finally over and I go look for a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T with LaKela Brown.

You haven’t lived till you give a lecture in a coffin you built for yourself.

I never thought my last supper would be vegan tacos in L.A. with Sandy Williams IV, Aaron Fowler, LaKela Brown, and Claude Wampler, but I can’t say I mind.

Claude Wampler told me It’s bad luck to not buy a new outfit for your opening so we had to go shopping.

And it’s even worse luck to not have you fit cosigned by the baddest chick in the room. Thank god Chiristina Ine-Kimba Bolye waltzed in just in time.

I hope you didn’t think I was kidding when I said I built myself a coffin that is also a kissing booth.

Could have done this piece all day. My only regret is not charging for the privilege of my smooches.

Performance is over and it’s finally time to party. Nicole Nadeau and Jade Catta-Preta gas me up as I wait for my celebratory special chocolate to kick in.

My chocolate finally hits and I decided to spend the rest of my opening rolling around on the floor. Thank god Lucy Bull was down.

Who else would you want driving the getaway car than Auttriana Ward in this wig! My mind on chocolate could not be more pleased!

Not sure who took this picture but bless them for making sure I looked my best.

Nothing is better for a hangover than gossiping with Claude Wampler over lobster.

This was my first time going to the beach in L.A. and I have to say it was worth the wait… even if I had to simulate my own death to get there.

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Chanel Has Tapped French Artist Xavier Veilhan to Confect the Playful Sculptures in Its Latest Couture Collection


Chanel enlisted French artist Xavier Veilhan to craft a menagerie of animals as the set design for its spring 2023 haute couture collection at the Grand Palais Éphémère in Paris today.

The last in a three-part collaboration with the French luxury house, Veilhan created the animated sculptures—a lion, camel, buffalo, elephant, and many others—to evoke a “parade of animals” in a village festival.

Choose your avatar amongst Xavier Veilhan's haute couture menagerie. Courtesy of Chanel.

Choose your avatar among Xavier Veilhan’s haute couture menagerie. Courtesy of Chanel.

“I’m interested in how animals are linked to certain places: towns, folklore, traditions…[so] I suggested a setting that resembled a village fête,” explained the artist. “It’s also an exploration of what our own imaginings can be.”

The 59-year-old artist works in a variety of mediums, including photography and painting. He’s best-known for sculptures in his signature angular or jagged style, like that of his cardboard and wood animals for Chanel. Veilhan’s creations have been installed in public spaces around the world, most notably in Miami’s Design District, where he created an homage to Le Corbusier, and at the Palace of Versailles in 2009.

A dog sculpture by Xavier Veilhan for Chanel haute couture. Courtesy of Chanel.

Xavier Veilhan represented France in the 2017 Venice Biennale. He transformed the French pavilion into an immersive recording studio, in which he invited professional musicians from around the world to perform for the duration of the Biennale.

His collaboration with Chanel came at the request of its creative director Virginie Viard—who assumed the role following Karl Lagerfeld’s death in 2019.

Chanel’s Virginie Viard and artist Xavier Veilhan. Courtesy of Chanel.

“Virginie Viard asked me if I could work around the idea of Gabrielle Chanel’s apartment and its bestiary,” the artist said, referring to the original couturière’s home atop the spiral staircase of her Paris boutique and atelier (although she famously retired to the Ritz each night). That’s where Viard and Veilhan would meet to go over ideas, amid the fashion icon’s collection of small animal sculptures, thus a theme was born.

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Morris Hirshfield Worked Most of His Life as a Tailor—Here Are 3 Things to Know About the Self-Taught Artist Who Was Revered by the Surrealists and Is Now a Museum Star


Today, Polish-American artist Morris Hirshfield is considered one of the most significant self-taught artists of the 20th century. But this was not always the case. The term “Outsider Art” was coined in 1972, well after Hirshfield’s death in 1946, but his paintings still suffered from the critical prejudice that frequently accompanies art that is made outside of mainstream modes and contexts. In the decades since, Hirshfield’s contribution as an important Modernist painter has been frequently overlooked, and his work has been relegated to the footnotes of art history.

The American Folk Art Museum (AFAM) in New York has attempted to rectify that, by mounting the most comprehensive exhibition to date of the artist’s work with “Morris Hirshfield Rediscovered.” The critically applauded show, on view through January 29, 2023, seeks to not only introduce Hirshfield to a contemporary audience, but also solidify his standing within the greater trajectory of Modern art and rectify years of critical neglect. And unlike the shows Hirshfield was involved in during his lifetime, this AFAM exhibition has been met with widespread acclaim by critics and audiences alike.

Installation vies, "Morris Hirshfield Rediscovered." Courtesy of the American Folk Art Museum, New York.

Installation view, “Morris Hirshfield Rediscovered.” Courtesy of the American Folk Art Museum, New York.

Born in 1872 in Poland, Hirshfield led a life largely set apart from the art world—although he dabbled in wood carving and created a sculpture for his local synagogue as a teenager. He immigrated to New York City at age 18, where he initially worked in a women’s apparel factory, first as a pattern cutter before working his way up to tailor. Eventually, he left the factory and went into business with his brother, Abraham, opening a small women’s coat and suit shop.

After 12 years, the shop was shuttered and Hirshfield opened “E-Z Walk Manufacturing Company” with his wife, Henriette. The most successful items produced were “boudoir slippers”—ornate, comfortable shoes meant for home wear—which greatly contributed to the company’s growth. At its height, the business had more than 300 employees and it grossed roughly $1 million dollars a year. The house slippers were arguably Hirshfield’s greatest business success, and 14 of his patented designs from the 1920s were meticulously recreated by artist Liz Blahd for the AFAM exhibition as an homage to this facet of the artist’s life.

Celebrating this novel and intriguing exhibition, we did a deep dive into the life and work of Hirshfield and found three incredible facts about the artist to give viewers more insight into his work.

Installation view, "Morris Hirshfield Rediscovered." Courtesy of the American Folk Art Museum, New York.

Installation view, “Morris Hirshfield Rediscovered.” Photo: Eva Cruz/EveryStory. Courtesy of the American Folk Art Museum, New York.

All of Hirshfield’s paintings were made in the last seven years of his life

Morris Hirshfield, Angora Cat (1937–39). Courtesy of the American Folk Art Museum, New York.

Morris Hirshfield, left: Angora Cat (detail) (1937–39), right: Angora Cat (1937–39). Courtesy of the American Folk Art Museum, New York.

With an incredibly diverse and varied body of work, it would seem to follow that Hirshfield had a long and storied artistic career, or at the very least a history of informally experimenting with painting. But he spent the majority of his professional career working in women’s apparel and footwear. Forced to retire in 1935 due to failing health, Hirshfield only began to paint at the ripe age of 65. The seemingly immediate ingenuity and resourcefulness with which he approached his practice can be seen in some of his first paintings, like Angora Cat (1937–39). The support for this work was a preexisting painting that hung in Morris and Henriette’s Brooklyn apartment; the lion figurine set on a decorative shelf above the cat’s head is a remnant of the overlaid painting, cleverly incorporated into the new composition. The extreme detail that Hirshfield paid to every facet of his paintings, such as including repeating, intricately detailed patterns across backgrounds and costumes, indicates a rigorous pace to his artistic output. Together, Hirshfield’s oeuvre of nearly 80 paintings were entirely created in the last seven years of his life—perhaps a cogent reminder that it’s never too late to start something new.

Hirshfield’s first major retrospective led to the

museum director’s demotion

Installation view, "Morris Hirshfield Rediscovered." A recreation of part of the Museum of Modern Art, "The Paintings of Morris Hirshfield," (1943). Photo: Photo by Eva Cruz/EveryStory. Courtesy of the American Folk Art Museum, New York.

Installation view, “Morris Hirshfield Rediscovered.” A recreation of part of the Museum of Modern Art, “The Paintings of Morris Hirshfield” (1943). Photo: Eva Cruz/EveryStory. Courtesy of the American Folk Art Museum, New York.

One of the most significant (perhaps even infamous) events of Hirshfield’s relatively short career as an artist was his 1943 retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, New York—which made him the first self-taught artist to garner such a comprehensive show at the museum. According to the press release, “The Paintings of Morris Hirshfield” featured 30 “primitive paintings” and was installed under the direction of Sidney Janis, a supporter of Hirshfield’s work and an influential New York dealer and collector who was at the time a member of the museum’s advisory committee. The show was a critical failure, and the press it received was overwhelming negative—with art critics collectively referring to Hirshfield as the “Master of Two Left Feet,” alluding to the planar perspective the artist used in his compositions, particularly of women. Though of course there were other contributing factors, the influx of bad press caused by the exhibition led the trustees of the museum to demote director Alfred Barr—who deemed Hirshfield’s Tiger (1940) an “unforgettable” modern animal painting—before the show had even closed. The exhibition at the AFAM, however, has reclaimed the moniker for Hirshfield, with the catalogue accompanying the current exhibition titled Master of Two Left Feet: Morris Hirshfield Rediscovered, written by art historian Richard Meyer.

The Surrealists loved his work

Morris Hirshfield, Girl with Pigeons (1942). Collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Sidney and Harriet Janis Collection. © 2022 Robert and Gail Rentzer for Estate of Morris Hirshfield / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY.

Morris Hirshfield, Girl with Pigeons (1942). Collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Sidney and Harriet Janis Collection. © 2022 Robert and Gail Rentzer for Estate of Morris Hirshfield / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY.

Despite mainstream criticism of Hirshfield’s paintings, many Surrealists working in New York at the time embraced his singular style. Marcel Duchamp and André Breton were both fans of Hirshfield’s intriguing and unique paintings, and Breton included Girl with Pigeons (1942) in the seminal “First Papers of Surrealism” exhibition of 1942—the first major Surrealist art show in the U.S. That same year, examples of Hirshfield’s work were documented in the home of Peggy Guggenheim, in a photoshoot taken by Hermann Landshoff. In these images, Surrealist juggernauts Duchamp, Breton, Leonora Carrington, and Max Ernst (Guggenheim’s husband at the time), are shown collected around and apparently transfixed by Hirshfield’s Nude at the Window (Hot Night in July) (1941). In 1945, Hirshfield was asked to contribute an artwork for the cover of the October issue of View: The Modern Magazine, a periodical that advocated for avant-garde art, with an emphasis on Surrealism. Hirshfield created a new piece featuring one of his signature flattened women on a meticulously detailed blue field, surrounded by three birds and adorned in geometric flowers and a sash.

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A Black Aquatic: An Artist Explores the Relationship Between Black People and Water


“A Black Aquatic” by Kenya (Robinson) is an essay commissioned by PROTODISPATCH, a new digital publication featuring personal perspectives by artists addressing transcontinental concerns, filtered by where they are in the world. It was originally published by the international nonprofit Protocinema and appears here as part of a collaboration between Protocinema and Midnight Publishing Group News.

***

Through a hyperlinked lyric essay, and a month-long social media takeover on Protocinema channels, Kenya (Robinson) explores the relationship between Black people and water—both fresh and saltwater—as an essential part of the storytelling of U.S. histories.

 

I was shipwrecked once. Boat wrecked? Marooned. On St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. The unfortunate end to a failed romantic encounter—we slept on a rocky beach until sunrise, leaving a borrowed dinghy behind. My skin was textured with so many mosquito bites that I’ve retained a lingering immunity for more than a decade; a handy trick, having returned to my Florida homestate. The hike back to the eco-resort where I was participating in a work exchange program was purposefully… unchatty. “It’s just around the bend,” he said. “It’ll take no more than 15 minutes,” he said. “Can you call the Coast Guard?” he said. I was grateful for the full moon as the sun slipped beneath the horizon leaving the water a vast undulating black surface. The boat felt two sizes too small. And, of course, it started to rain. The neighboring Tortola loomed closer than I’d ever seen it. Officially we were in international waters. Cell phone dead. I recall his weak attempts to include me as a co-pilot, but I’d set out with sex on the brain and left my glasses in the cabin. Fortunately, I was so damn mad that it edged out the fear outlining the scenario. I cussed him out goodt.

I was mostly mad at the sea, though.

Like many, I’ve been on a jet more times than I’ve been on a boat. And paid good money for the privilege of the inevitable bit of turbulence that comes along with it. Practiced at keeping my face calm as the sphincter contracts. Babies crying, foil bagged snacks, popping ears—alternately and simultaneous. But this liquid leviathan that looked so lovely in the daytime or sparkling with bioluminescence along the shore at night, could easily gobble me, and Whatshisname, up. Without a trace, or belched and blanched, sandy side. On a plane, I can always blame the vehicle, the pilot, the weather. But the ocean can kill you just by being what it is. Kind of like the IZM. I be mad at that too.

More than a few years ago The Innanet algorithimed me a message through a picture. In black and white, with Blacks and whites. Fully dressed Huite police officers in frothy conflict at St. Augustine Beach. I liked the picture. It was sublime, even when I deciphered what was actually going on. Protest. Pugilism. Peckerwoods. Poetic. Absurd. Colored. Chaotic. Choreographic. It’s a place I’ve been to many times. An Atlantic sunrise service for Easter, a day trip through Palatka or Starke (of Old Sparky infamy and while-you-wait concealed weapon permits).

You can go either way; it’s an hour-forty-five from Gainesville, irregardless. These waterfront Civil Rights Era confrontations were called Wade-Ins, and, similar to the lunch counters in Carolina, lots of folks ended up ‘wet.’ Not that there weren’t beaches for Black folks, or lakes, or springs, but leisure is a kind of learning too. Brown v. Diving Board of Education. Archival snaps of red-faced motel managers dumping acid in pools, a conditioned response to black gold in the cement pond. You never realize how ridiculous wingtips look poolside until you see it. Anyway, I like the beach shots better. More angry instead of scared. I always wondered why the one first-person account that I remember, from a kidnapped and imprisoned African, details the Middle Passage mostly in terms of depressive sadness, not a hint of rage to be found. Still, too many grown Black folks are relegated to wading. Members of the can’t-swim-crew. Feet gotta touch the bottom, and taste level at the waist level. Lest your hair revert kinky, in the age(s) before waterproof wig glue and microbraids.  Maybe that’s what that anger, tamped down in 18th century text, looks like generations later: maximum depth, three feet.

Still, there is magic in the deep too. Escape. Covert missions and scent washed away from hound dog pursuits and Confederate ships commandeered. The Underground Railroad™ wasn’t only northbound, contingent upon Abolitionists with hidden motives, histories obscured by narratives of power. Florida census records from the turn of the 20th century recognize a hidden story of self-manumission that rivals that of more popularized tales. With a sizable Native population and many topographical and geographical features to recommend it, the state became a satellite within the deep south, a consistent challenge to European colonial powers until its statehood in 1845. The journey from Southern fields to Florida wasn’t nearly as long in comparison to The North™, and the mild weather guaranteed relative ease in travel year-round, but most significantly Black people could avoid relying on white folks to foster their journey. All positive logistics for “stealing” yourself. Sometimes you left along the 1,350+ miles of Florida coastline or traversed over 11,000 miles of rivers, streams, and waterways in the state. Maybe, if you was Gullah, or Geechee, or James Brown, all you knew was water and rice; island life. Or you simply went back to the indigeneity that was stolen from you by the Dawes Rolls or the five dollar registration fee, or the assessment of hair texture as identity, Mississippi Goddamn. Sometimes you went even further, only to return a hundred years later as an immigrant from Mexico, or Cuba, or the Bahamas, knowledge of self-determination.

I minnow patched to YMCA swim safety on a 9-year-old-summer visit with my dad in Hampton, Virginia. I had this lavender bathing suit, spots radiating from a leopard’s face across my chest, and a collection of black rubber bracelets distributed on both wrists. It was the ‘80s. I could hold my breath under water, so I assumed I could swim. After failing the assessment test, a floatation belt was strapped around my middle. Three Styrofoam blocks, then two, then one. Then none. There is magic in the deep end. Plastic rings sunk to the bottom for retrieval. That’s where the mermaids live, according to Disney, and its subsidiary, Touchstone Films; made defunct in 2017—the same year as Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

My birthday is in just a few days, the cusp of Gemini and Cancer. Air and Water. It’s no surprise that I’ll be heading to St. Augustine Beach. But me and the Atlantic got beef. I Indulge it occasionally for sentimental reasons. My mother, of Easter Sunday Sunrise services, died in 2011. I much prefer the Gulf. It serves fantasy realness with its sugar sand beaches and clear Clearwater. My Dad lives there now. In St. Petersburg actually, near where there’s an inexplicable monument to Tadeusz Kościuszko, the unwitting sponsor of Thomas Jefferson’s Southern Planter Lifestyle. My Dad keeps a folding chair in the trunk of his car these days, his skin now a tanned caramel, after years of high-latitude high-yellow. A Florida native, he tells me that his first visit to the beach (Daytona), at age 25, was a date he’d arranged for my Mother. One in a collection of firsts, apparently. I am my parents’ only child. I mimic his leisure, seaside, as often as I can. For myself, and for my Mother too; grief sometimes reads the loss as a sacrifice. Might as well complete the ritual by living goodt. There are a number of photographs from that day. My father isn’t in any of the pictures, just his snaps of my mother in a pale fuchsia bikini. The camera worships her, as the eye behind it. She the sea nymph and sable goddess. My Mami Wata. Silver spoon rings and bangles, droplets of water clinging to her free form ‘fro. She’s the one who told me that European sailors mistook manatees for mermaids, and indulged my creekside fantasies—imagined creatures formed from the exposed clay deposits that I found there. She’s the one who explained the origin of my birthstone, “the only living gemstone,” she said, formed by irritating an oyster’s insides. Told me of the tether between the moon and the tides, explained the Doppler Effect from the cars with the booming systems. Box Chevys and Cutlass Supremes. Landlocked in Gainesville, we still tracked hurricanes using the coordinates broadcast by the evening news. Gridded maps printed on the sides of brown paper grocery bags.

“Drink water and mind your business,” so says the meme-ability of the Black American Vernacular. But the Black interns, working for the solar companies on the outskirts of Alachua County, only drink stuff with an -ade on the end. I know because I play house auntie for their Airbnb summers. I offer up a bit of unasked-for advice, suggesting that hydration from the water cooler housed in the kitchen is freer than the bottled stuff. I don’t even mention our high-quality city punch anymore, aquifer-fed. And the pool key remains on the hook week after week. Heat index 101. Still, when I go to Indian Rocks or Siesta Key, Daytona or Clearwater, St. Pete or St. Augustine, I scan for jeweled water beads on kinky hair. I tune my ears for the music so elemental that I can’t remember learning the lyrics that I’m singing. Reveling in the collective vulnerability of swimwear. Nourished in the mixing of it all; frothy and fine.

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Wet Paint in the Wild: Performance Artist Miles Greenberg Transforms Into St. Sebastian—Arrow Piercings and All—at the Louvre


Welcome to Wet Paint in the Wild, the freewheeling—and free!—spinoff of Midnight Publishing Group News Pro’s beloved Wet Paint gossip column, where we give art-world insiders a disposable camera to chronicle their lives on the circuit. To read the latest Wet Paint column, click here (members only).

On the heels of his remarkable outing in the New Museum’s atrium, performance artist and sculptor Miles Greenberg is beginning to seize the art world by storm.

The 25-year-old artist, who has studied under such legends of performance art as Marina Abramović and Robert Wilson, was invited to the Louvre to perform and film his new work Étude Pour Sébastien (2023), which sees the artist engage with a durational performance at night in the storied museum, painted and pierced with real arrows.

I am truly beside myself that I get to share a preview of the making of the film, which premieres at the Louvre on January 19, and online January 26, here in Wet Paint in the Wild for you fine folks. Take it away, Miles!

We set up shop in the Hotel Du Louvre. I was happy they’d given us the room that was behind the letter “L” in Louvre on the sign on the façade facing the Comédie Française. You could see the big letter from the bed and that felt like a good omen. I started getting into paint around 3 p.m., and I bought a €20 hoodie from the tourist shop across the street (“PARIS” embroidered on the chest) to avoid fucking up the hotel bathrobe too severely.

I also bought myself some roses. €4.

To put in sclera lenses, you have to imagine shoving a Canadian $2 coin into your eye socket like a vending machine. They’re about two and a half centimeters across and cover every visible bit of white. Your eye just vanishes.

At around 5:06 p.m. we rushed out of the hotel; my boyfriend, Viðar Logi, my best friend in Paris and former roommate Rachel Halickman (she’s a vintage fashion archivist who moonlights as my stage manager for all my shows in France), two journalists, two makeup artists, a piercer, a filmmaker, and then me, wearing a bathrobe, slippers, a hoodie, and sunglasses. We brought our own food and water in two massive Monoprix bags.

We arrived at a secret side entrance at exactly 5:10, where the camera crew and the curator’s assistant were waiting for us with our badges. We made our way down through winding corridors until we got to a wide passageway where the last tourists were slowly filing out. The museum was still open until 6 p.m. The camera crew went ahead to load in gear while I sat behind a large Egyptian column and waited until the coast was clear. When it was, I was escorted to Cours Marly. Now, the museum was closed, and we were locked inside.

Cours Marly is my favorite room at the Louvre. It’s so grandiose in its proportions yet still feels incredibly quiet. Each piece in it is full of movement. All statues originally came from the garden of Louis XIV’s second home west of Versailles called Chateau de Marly.

Two of the larger marbles are personifications of river spirits representing the Seine and the Marne rivers, respectively. A third one depicting Neptune sits between the two.

The piercer, whom I found through a friend of a friend of a friend of Ron Athey (legend), set up her tools in the security guards’ break room nearby. Her job was to mark the spots we’d be piercing the arrows through my body (pec, hip, shoulder, ribs), disinfect the area, and run the sharp tip through my skin.

After some camera tests and light stretching, we started the hard part. Océane, our piercer, began prepping the area.

Getting stabbed is a very frightening kind of pain. I wouldn’t recommend it. Your body knows that when a large-ish sharp object punctures your skin, there’s a good chance it might kill you, so your whole body just floods with adrenaline. Both my sight and my hearing all but disappeared for about 20 solid seconds. I later learned that this sensory shutoff is a natural response your body produces when it thinks you might be about to die. It’s so that you can avoid feeling a painful death. I somehow find that kind of comforting. Our bodies take really good care of us.

Anyway, I felt like I was dying for about a minute, slumped over in the sofa and dripping with cold sweat. After that minute passed though, a total transformation took place. My body became light and strong. It was just like the feeling of breaking a fever, times 1,000. I sat bolt upright with a flash of energy. It felt like my peripheral vision expanded by an extra 1,000; I could feel every inch of my body so acutely; I was so laser focused that I could count the hairs in someone’s eyebrow.

I barely felt the second one.

I thought that blood trickle looked so hot.

The blood is done coagulating, so we do some paint retouching.

7:30, I head into the main space. The cameras are ready and I’ve peed at least thrice.

I really liked this guy with his goat.

I performed about five hours as Saint Sebastian. Starting completely immobile, I very, very slowly would shift into every pose of his I knew from every painting, sculpture and etching in my memory. I felt the arrows like beams of light shooting through my body while I felt my heart rate slow in the freezing cold empty stone room. I became a stone, too.

After about an hour of quasi-stillness, I gradually began to ambulate through the space. Eventually I started going up and down stairs, interacting with the other sculptures, lying down, playing with the arrows, even running. My brain began to shut off then and everything was intuitive—I barely remember what I did.

After five-ish hours were up, the Océane came back down and we took out the arrows, one by one. I suddenly felt very cold. She patched me up as they started to pack the equipment. I called cut, the crew wrapped, and while I sprinted up to the break room, sat down absolutely giddy and ate half a loaf of rice bread. I asked the curator if I could go see the Mona Lisa, I was flatly denied.

We were led out of the Louvre through the glass pyramid. The security guards escorted us all with a flashlight out into the moonlit atrium, where we were greeted by the sound of german shepherds (!!!!!!) gnashing their teeth, ready to run after us. We hurried out of the building, all laughing and out of breath. The outer fence was closed for the night, so we had to toss all the camera equipment over and scale it to get out. I lit up a celebratory cigarette, like someone who’d just had sex. We all lingered a bit after having shared such a surreal experience, but eventually said our goodbyes.

Viðar and I got back to our hotel room around 1:30 or 2 a.m. I took three long showers (the bathtub looked like we’d performed an exorcism in it by the time I was finished), and then we crawled into bed and watched Hunter x Hunter until we passed out. I slept for about 10 hours.

The scarring was very minimal the next morning, you could barely see them. I felt fine the next day, just a bit sore.

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