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"What's Your Reaction to the Show? 1998 (40 mins) Super 8/Umatic mastered on DV Cam.

It concerns when my friend Leigh Bowery told me he had been asked to exhibit himself at an 'established' art gallery by the gallerist Anthony D'Offay. I had felt that this presented a fairly unique opportunity to create a piece of work about the art gallery going public and their perception of Art. Given that this would be Leigh's first performance in a purely artistic context, and there was no prior critique of his work, responses to my question would be solely influenced by each individual's interpretation of the work or their relationship to the artist. Naturally my film concludes some time after the show when I visited Leigh and recorded his reaction to the show.

"What's Your Reaction to the Show?"(excerpt)
The project was self funded and was realised by arriving, with my interviewer, outside the Anthony D'Offay Gallery each day, over the period of a week, prior to each 2 hour performance. As people left we approached them and asked, "What's Your Reaction To The Show?” and recorded their response on both audiocassette and sound sync film.This was then edited together with a video of the performances given to me by the gallery and having been shot by Cerith Wynne Evans..
The film is not only about the wide range of peoples´ reactions to the show literally spanning love to hate, but it also reveals a history of Leigh’s activities fresh in the minds of the people at that time. But it’s not simply a window to Leigh. Because he has since died people look for an original trace as if the film was a window. People who think this miss the point of the film. Now the work of Leigh is less controversial. But certainly nothing moved on in respect of the fact that the art is one of the least things talked about at private views. Essentially the performance was a series of private views.
I like the diversity of the audience participating in the film, from the gallerist to the cleaner along with the art groupies and the subsequent information that the reactions give you about the interviewee. I think that this was the perfect opportunity to get at that sort of critique; in a normal private view situation people are rolling out half drunk so their reaction to the show is more clouded.
What struck me is that many people say what they expected and put this above what they actually see, they are expecting more. However with friends of Leigh, people who actually knew him as a person, there is knowledge spread, a different insight into the piece, for instance ‘’because Leigh’s dialogue is as powerful as his presence in a room in this case you are getting less but seeing more’’ comes out of this familiarity.
Ultimately the film places the performance firmly in the context of art in the late eighties from the reactions on down to the fashion.

"What's Your Reaction to the Show?" has exhibited at
Portobello Film Festival1(London) 1996, 10th Raindance Film Festival (London) and Fundacion Bilbao Arte (Bilbao) in 2002, the Museum of Contemporary Arts (Sydney) 2003, the Museu Téxtil í d’Indumentaria, Barcelona, 2004 and on DVD has shown along with three other films of mine at La Biennale di Vanencia 51st international art exhibition, Venice 2005, Always A Little Further directed by Rosa Martinez. Since then it has shown at Taboo L’Arte Di Leigh Bowery E La London Club Culture: The British School At Rome.2006, ACT ART 4 Memoirs of a Merkin : Central Station / London 2006“What’s Your Reaction To The Show?”/ The Death of Taste : unpicking the fashion cycle: ICA/ London 2006 and The Acceptance World: Rachmaninoff Gallery (London) 2007

Anthony D'Offay Leigh Bowery (day 1) Michael Clarke
Anthony D'Offay
 
Michael Clarke
Luciana Martinez Katie Puckrik Stuart Morgan
Lucianna Martinez
Katie Puckrik
Stuart Morgan
John Maybury Leigh Bowery Leigh Bowery at home
John Maybury