SAN FRANCISCO (Plausible News Service) – Notorious performance and installation artist Herbert Mildew has exposed himself to a lot of abuse in the name of art. In 2006, he strapped himself naked to the roof of a pizza delivery vehicle for 24 hours, “just to see if anyone would notice.” In 2009, he installed himself underneath a sheet of plywood, over which museum attenders would walk, unaware of his presence until after they had stepped off.
Now, he’s going to try to work himself to death.
As part of an installation at the avant-garde Milk Carton Gallery, Mildew will begin working at 7 AM today, and not stop until he collapses.
“I will answer phones, sweep floors, paint the walls, stuff envelopes, work in the gift shop, do data entry, whatever they need,” said the artist. After hours, he will don a security guard uniform and stay in the museum’s display window, punching a watchman’s clock every half-hour. He’ll be able to eat (while working) and go to the bathroom, but even in the bathroom he will have his cell phone and be available to answer customer service calls for a local software developer.
Mildew has arranged for a succession of assistants to act as his “managers,” keeping him from sleeping more than 15 minutes at a stretch, handing him new assignments, and arranging for him to take on more and more simultaneous duties. Public “performance reviews” will be held twice daily, during which the managers will read to him from motivational literature.
“I figure this is where society is headed, under the unending pressure of capitalism to always keep increasing productivity,” said Mildew, who said he has held a broad array of menial and clerical jobs throughout his career to support his artistic endeavors. “At some point, though, things will begin to break, just like I will.”