While the art community is expressing its outrage at the barbarism of the Rushdie contract, a small section of the art world is perpetrating its own brand of barbarity. I am referring to the article “Apostle of Performance Violence Tells Why He Does What He Does,” Feb. 23) about John Fleck, an artist whose work I have appreciated in the past.
Anything an artist does to a consenting adult, including her/himself, is OK. What is not OK is suffering inflicted on non-consenting creatures, be they children (as in Hermann Nitsch’s work) or on other species--a goldfish in Fleck’s performance.
When Fleck says he does these things because they’re “drama, conflict, passion,” etc., that is bull-puckey. He does it because it is sensational.
Rachel Rosenthal is a noted performance artist.