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words JONATHAN T.D. NEIL It is a dangerous thing, writing What you couldn’t do, what you can’t
about Martin Creed, and I can no do, Creedie or no, is ask what the
longer do it. I’m quitting Creed, and point of it is – mostly because that
I will tell you why. Celebration or needs to be sung, usually by Creed
dismissal would seem to offer the only himself (‘what’s the point of it’ being
safe havens for comment, given that the single lyric for the Variety Show’s
the artist’s entire activity thwarts opening number – that is, if you don’t
any kind of real intellectual prying. count as the actual opening number
Creed’s late-March visit to New York the stage lights going on and off for
for two performances of his Variety the half hour it took the audience
Show managed to confirm this fact. to get settled into seats). Loyal
(There were two performances because Creedies will of course recognise that
the first one sold out so quickly that everything I have mentioned thus far
the Public Art Fund, which produced as being part of the Variety Show has
the show, decided a second would be already appeared in one form or another
necessary to satisfy Creed’s rapidly as one of Creed’s numbered Works,
growing fan base, aka Creedies.) which is simply the straightforward
and serial manner in which Creed self-
consciously tracks his own oeuvre
(itself a tongue-in-cheek nod to the What can one say about
artist’s entire career as one ongoing
serial ‘piece’; this is a very Creedie Martin Creed that has
not been or will not The Show thus takes shape as an
elaborate vehicle of self-quotation, soon be said by Creed
a literal rehearsal of Creed’s previous
‘acts’, his ‘greatest hits’, designed, himself? It seems to me
as Creed himself stated during the
performance, to do nothing except the answer is nothing,
please the audience, which of course
it does. But I am now a recovering which means Creed can
Creedie. Once entertained, my system
can no longer take the unremitting pre-have no critics
emption. Asked by a not-quite-Creedie
seated at my side to offer a brief take
on his work, I called it reticent.
A good description, I thought, right
Now, as for the Show, you could up until that moment during the Show
either love it or hate it. I’m when Creed, addressing the audience
ambivalent about whether you could directly about his general discomfort
be ambivalent about it, but I think with addressing the audience directly,
most people loved it; it was a Creedie- described himself as reticent.
heavy crowd, after all (Gavin Brown, Feeling neither proud nor reaffirmed,
or Public Creedie Number One, was in I thought to myself, ‘What can one say
attendance, as were others high up about Creed that has not been or will
in the pecking order of Creediness, not soon be said by Creed himself?’
Matthew Higgs included). Once the show It seems to me the answer is nothing,
was over, you could debate whether or which means Creed can have no critics.
not the young woman who gets sick in Or rather, you cannot be a critic of
the short clip of Creed’s Sick Film Creed, let alone a Creedie too, because
(2006) could really be expelling, there will simply be nothing for you to
let alone housing, that much material; say, quod erat demonstrandum (I think;
you could question whether Creed’s are Creedies supposed to know Latin?).
stuttering, giggling and, to a Creedie, In other words: what’s the point of it?
mostly endearing delivery was simply
a stage persona, an ‘act’ – which of
course it was (wasn’t it?); you could
choose favourite songs – here is one
exchange I overheard while making my
way out of the theater: “I liked Fuck
Off.” “Of course you would.” “I liked
I Feel Blue.” “Of course you would.”
Typical Creedie banter.
ARTREVIEW five.linzero.lin
48-50 new.indd 4 9/5/07 14:29:15
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