Flogging a Dead Horse: The Aftermath

"F-U" and "The White Album"

I tried to ignore Steal From Work‘s recent Flogging a Dead Horse Show in Bristol last month for awhile, but I just can’t anymore. Originally, I found the concept to be really clever. The marketing and hype by curators who wouldn’t release the name of the artists titillated an audience who know most show schedules months in advance. Not until after the show’s opening did I realize the entire point of the exhibit was to poke fun at successful street artists by recreating their works in a “humorous” manner. Some pictures made me laugh (I admit I did not attend the exhibition), like the Banksy balloon girl spread over five canvasses, but the overall effort was quite poor.

In December, we posted about artist Lush, who put on a similar concept show making fun of street artists, except his art was so much stronger. It felt like/was a real show driven by witty sarcasm, not bitterness and jealousy of more successful artists.  Actually, come to think of it, the Flogging show is a lot like a certain street art blog a lot of us are familiar with, also driven by a nihilistic view of street art today.

Failed "Lost Promise"

Don’t get me wrong. I still love the concept of the show. I just think the execution was an overall sad effort. I feel that this would have been much better played as a pop-up show where the “art” could be sold as commercially viable items, i.e. t-shirts, mugs, etc. since that what artists like Invader, Mr. Brainwash and Nick Walker have become. It could also have worked as a purely outdoor show, with these work put up illegally in a city to get their point across. That would have been a more clever joke and one that a lot more people would have enjoyed.

The Banksy Color Range

A later addition that I discovered the other day is a link to an E-bay listing of the Obey/Ebay for a print edition. Since the work at this show was sold and is now being flipped, it seems there was no true subversive statement being made at all. Just maybe, the curators were trying to make a quick buck over the controversy over the commercialization of street art. If you want to purchase the print, don’t worry, you won’t be paying big bucks for it. There are no bids thus far and it is only 99 p. Plus you get three Banksy color strips thrown in! What a deal.

For the entire photoset of the show visit Laptop Lunch Box’s Flickr