May 2010

Creative Accounting

Performance and Installation


Last October, Deitch Projects in New York embarked on an extreme performance orchestrated by Francine Spiegel. With the assistance of ten volunteers, Spiegel produced a horror-shoot-cum-food-fight, dousing the participants in pancake syrup, grits, chocolate syrup, and whipped cream while a photographer captured the whole debacle. The photos were then displayed in the gallery alongside seven of Spiegel’s paintings.

Spiegel said the horror-movie magazine Fangoria inspired the blood-and-guts ingredients for the shoot. Her models are neither damsels nor monsters, but are instead a unique hybrid of the two. According to the gallery, “Spiegel’s goo girls look like gory super-heroines.”

The images also conjure food fetish porn, or something of that ilk. But under Spiegel’s control, the images become a feminist work of art against the patriarchal image of a sexy, doused lass.

The budget below does not include the paintings on display at the gallery, but it reveals the gory details of the shoot itself and the true costs of maintaining a gallery in New York—such as an almost $4,000 dinner and the exorbitant price of art-world advertising.

This budget is an installment of Creative Accounting, a series dedicated to the financial ledgers behind the creative industries. In the end, we will compile the accounts into a single volume, published by Believer Books.

We hope you enjoy this excerpt.

To read the full piece, please visit our store to purchase a copy of the magazine.

—M. Rebekah Otto

M. Rebekah Otto lives in Berkeley, California. She is the assistant books editor of the Rumpus and an editorial aide at Atlas Obscura.

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