The 10 Most Controversial Art Projects of the Last Century

Has much changed since Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain?

The art world is no stranger to the gasp-inducing project or performance: in fact, it seems at times to thrive on it. In these dog days of summer, when the art world slows down and the tumbleweeds approach Chelsea, we’re excited to hear that provocative exhibitions are still taking place around the world.

In Tokyo, ASAKUSA gallery is showing “Radical Democracy,” which features the work of artists Thomas Hirschhorn andSantiago Sierra. Sierra, in particular, has gotten flack for recruiting menial laborers in his work, and paying them a small rate to tattoo them, dye their hair, or make them sit in cardboard boxes. It is the transparency of power that makes the audience uncomfortable. “Nothing has changed since the Middle Ages,” the Spanish artist told BOMB magazine in 2004. He continues, “Art is conceptual entertainment. Regardless of how radical it is, it has a great penetration on the market.”

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