Shia LaBeouf has opened an art exhibit in Los Angeles
The project is called "#IAmSorry"
Visitors sit in a room with the actor after choosing an "implement"
He doesn't say what he's actually sorry for
Being famous must mean never having to say you’re sorry.
Now that Shia LaBeouf isn’t “famous” anymore, he can’t seem to stop apologizing.
The actor – whose behavior has taken a turn for the bizarre over the past several weeks – is now performing in a Los Angeles-based art installation called “#IAmSorry.”
The former “Transformers” star tweeted the hashtag from his Twitter account around 2 p.m. ET on Tuesday. (It was a change of pace from his usual tweet, “I AM NOT FAMOUS ANYMORE,” which he’d been posting daily since January 20.)
According to a press release, LaBeouf collaborated with artists Nastja Säde Rönkkö and Luke Turner to create the exhibit, which is showing at the Stephen Cohen Gallery from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
“Shia LaBeouf is sorry,” the press releases states. “Sincerely sorry. He will be in situ … for the duration. Implements will be provided.”
Visitors to the art show are invited to observe LaBeouf’s performance one at a time. Before viewing the actor, the visitor stops at a table that bears “implements” – some of which appear to correspond with LaBeouf’s career. There are things like a “Transformers” toy, a whip (he starred in 2008’s “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”), Hershey’s kisses, a bottle of Jack Daniels whiskey, a bottle of cologne, pliers, a ukelele and a copy of Daniel Clowes’ book, “The Death-Ray.”
The last item is an interesting choice, given that LaBeouf was accused of plagiarizing Clowes’ work in December. The actor at first said that he’d been so absorbed in the creative process he neglected to give Clowes proper accreditation, but then he was also accused of plagiarizing his apologies.
So is this whole exhibit supposed to be a grand apology both for his use of Clowes’ art as well as his own career? Visitors don’t find out. They’re instructed to select one item from the table of “implements,” which also includes a bowl of comments about LaBeouf.
Time magazine’s Ryan Sandoval took the bowl of messages into LaBeouf’s performance space, which he describes as a room about the size of a closet, outfitted with a table and two chairs. Behind the table was LaBeouf, wearing a tux and his now ever-present paper bag mask with the words “I AM NOT FAMOUS” written on it.
After sitting down across from the actor, Sandoval described reading “messages (that were) mostly negative, some positive, declaring LaBeouf either a ‘baby,’ an ‘idiot,’ or a ‘genius.’ Things about having to ‘move on,’ or suggestions of ‘death.’ They felt like tweets; they probably were tweets. I read about thirteen notes in measured tones, opting out of the ones that were too harsh or too praiseworthy; I thought about reading the whole bowl, but then got self-conscious saying so many hurtful things to LaBeouf, who in that moment, just seemed like a mixed-up kid. (Frankly, I hope no one whips him, or worse, spritzes him with cologne.)”
The Daily Beast’s Andrew Romano did in fact choose the cologne, and tried to offer it to the actor but didn’t get a response. LaBeouf was just as silent when Romano peppered with him questions such as, “What are you sorry for?” and “If you’re not famous, why am I here?”
“It was just me and a guy in formal wear with a paper bag over his head sitting there silently,” Romano described. “Through his eyeholes, I could see LaBeouf’s eyes moving around – staring at me.”
But after asking LaBeouf if it was really him, Romano did get a response.
“The bag moved. I thought he was smiling. Then I looked at his eyes. They were red and watery.”
“‘Can you give me a sign that you’re really Shia LaBeouf?’” Romano asked. “And that’s when it happened: LaBeouf reached up and took the bag off his head. He looked miserable. I’m pretty sure he had been crying.”
The location of the exhibit, which is free to view, just so happens to be located across the street from the offices of viral content giant BuzzFeed, and some have wondered if it was intentional.
There’s also the question of what the whole point of the exhibit could be. Is Shia LaBeouf trying to sincerely apologize, or is he making a larger commentary on celebrity? Is it more about our “copy-and-paste culture,” as he’s said before?
That last theory appears to hold at least a little bit of water. Some attendees to “#IAmSorry” have noted the project’s strong resemblance to the work of Marina Abramovic, in addition to other artists.