Artist’s Uniform #6: The Year I Became Gustave Courbet and Was Not Only A Man But Created “Living Art”

(02/29/2008-05/16/2008)

After being a zebra for a year, I was ready to become a human again. Anticipating this return, I began to grow a beard six months prior to my planned conversion. My plan had originally been to become a mountain man or cowboy from the Wild West (circa 1850’s) but the more I thought about it I felt I had a unique opportunity -- I could become any human I wanted.

I began my sixth installment of Artist’s Uniform on leap day February 29, 2008. Artist’s Uniform #6: The Year I Became Gustave Courbet and Was Not Only A Man But Created “Living Art” corresponded with my own interest (obsession!?) with Courbet, whom I had been exploring in my installation work and whose Realist Manifesto seemed to have a lot of meaning for the performance work as well. My wardrobe was made up of vintage and period reenactment-wear as well as an exact replica of the outfit Courbet is wearing in his 1854-5 painting The Artist’s Studio, meticulously handcrafted by my mother and me. The duration of AU #6 corresponded with Courbet’s retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City (Feb. 27 – May 18, 2008), which I frequented during my visits to the city. On May 16, 2008 (the 6th anniversary of the Artist’s Uniform project) the Courbet project came to an end.

Zebra painting at Yale Courbet Retrospective at the Met Assyrian Profile Me and Manet Tulip Revolution (Jean Gerome) Mexico City Mexico City Matthew Vassar and Me Written by Rachel Lebiskind