DENTED CAN O’ BEANS
ELENI THEODORA ZAHAROPOULOS
I performed “Dented Can O’ Beans” during “9 hours: A Livestream from Detroit,” a two-day exhibition of happenings taking place at a classroom in the James Pearson Duffy Art Department at Wayne State University in Detroit and projected into Bert Green Fine Art in Chicago. The projection was not available publicly online, and was only able to be viewed in person in Detroit or by visiting the simulcast at Bert Green Fine Art.
Performing as Lady the Clown and my dog, Chispa, as Cecil the Dog, we reimagined two very famous works from two of the most influential white, male artists of the last century, “Balloon Dog” by Jeff Koons and “I like America and America likes me” by Joseph Beuys. The performance began with Lady the Clown and Cecil the Dog in tableau simulating a moment in Beuys’s performance where the artist is standing in a room wrapped in a blanket while a coyote mills about him, and ended with Lady the Clown having made a dozen or so metallic mylar balloon dogs à la Koons while Cecil the Dog curiously sniffs at them.
Somewhere in my creative process I discovered this unlikely mash-up and realized that it was something only the skill and genius of a female clown (and her dog) could pull off, the plagiarism and absurdity providing a feminist lens in which to view the works of two undeniably cheeky male art stars.