Artist Diego Leclery is contributing to the 2014 biennial of the Whitney Museum of American Art by playing Civilization outside the entrance for seven hours a day.
When artist Diego Leclery was asked to take part in the Whitney Museum’s 2014 Biennial, he decided there was only one artistically valid way he could contribute: play Civilization. Lots and lots of Civilization. Since early March he’s been playing under a bridge leading to the museum’s entrance for seven hours a day, five days a week, a schedule he plans to keep up until the biennial celebration concludes on May 25.
“Since I moved to New York, I haven’t really made any art. I play a lot of Civilization,” he told Animal. “I got asked to be in the Biennial, and what am I gonna do? Make some shit? No. I’m going to transform the activity of the last year and a half.”
If you find yourself asking, “How is this art?” you’re not alone, but he does have a few self-imposed rules that help him maintain the “metaphor” of the game “within the Whitney’s ‘ceremonial cultural center’,” including that he only plays single-player.
“I prefer the idea of playing against the machine, or playing against the system… as opposed to playing against the world,” he said. “There’s an art pyramid. I help generate money and material for a system that peaks at Jeff Koons, Gagosian, and collectors who are mainlining art. I do a lot of military moves in this game. It’s like, maybe I’m storming this castle… the Whitney… the art world. It’s like, I’m in the moat just before the entrance and I’m trying to break in.”
Happily for Leclery, and perhaps ironically as well, he’s apparently pleased that his performance, which by the way is entitled “Me Playing Civilization,” has pulled him out of an “unproductive period.” On the downside, according to Art F City, he hasn’t yet been paid for his work.