The Guardian: On 18 March the Museum of Old and New Art in Tasmania, Australia, closed to visitors due to the coronavirus lockdown. Mona is now empty, except for the art. Except for Tim.
Tim is hard to explain neatly. He is a man, a former tattoo parlour owner from Zurich. He is also an artwork by the Belgian artist Wim Delvoye.
Since 2006 Tim has sat in museums around the world as a human canvas. Since 2011 he has come to Mona for seasons that can last six months at a time. Since November, when his current stint began, he has come to the gallery every day – excluding Tuesdays, when Mona is shut – and sat on his plinth on a mezzanine, overlooking a thoroughfare, from 10am to 4.30pm.
Mona has now been closed for more than a month but Tim continues to come.
Tim has been livestreamed by Mona for his entire season. Now I’m waiting for Tim but Tim’s not there. A sign on the plinth says he’ll be back in 15 minutes.
Soon, from the shadows, he walks onscreen without ceremony. He purposefully strolls in front of the black box, lifts himself up and on, briefly settles – adjusting his trousers, shifting weight just a little once or twice. And then he is still. On view. Alone.
Tim’s current Mona sitting will end, as scheduled, on 30 April. Until then, he comes into the space quietly, and we watch him.
Nurses, grocery store workers, and human art. Everyone knows that's the list of essential workers still required to go to work every day. Part of me respects the dedication on Tim. He's sitting alone in a museum for 6 hours a day with absolutely no visitors. You can, however, watch him on a Youtube livestream.
It's not the most exciting live stream, as he just sits there in silence for six hours. But with no sports on, people will watch just about anything.
The other part of me thinks hates his guts and thinks he's an asshole who takes himself too seriously. Like dude, just sit home on your couch, watch Netflix, and stuff your face with gross amounts of food like everyone else is doing. The world wont stop spinning because you're not sitting alone at an art gallery for six hours a day.
I wonder what he thinks about all day. Is he allowed to pee? What if he gets hungry or thirsty? Does he eat beforehand so he doesn't get hungry? Or is that risky because he might have to use the bathroom? Lot of questions.
This is also just another example of why I will never really understand what art is.