The Art of Death

The German artist Gregor Schneider is looking for people that are about to die and are willing to be a part of his exhibition, which will be you dying.

Schneider told the Art Newspaper that he wants to “display a person dying naturally in the piece or somebody who has just died. My aim is to show the beauty of death.” He also told them that his doctor in Düsseldorf is actively looking for possible participants in the exhibition of death.

I don’t know much about the artist, and he may just be out to shock and collect his 15 minutes, but I don’t have a problem with his plans. If the person dying is aware of what he or she is participating in and it’s done in a reasonably tasteful manner, I’m fine with it. I probably wouldn’t go to the exhibition, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be exhibited.

It’s a thousand times more tasteful than killing an animal for art, as I doubt that any of the animals from the recent Adel Abdessemed exhibition signed a consent form to agree to be filmed while they took a sledge hammer to the head.

About Dion

Australian artist and observer of things.. all kinds of things. I like a wide variety of art, from the weird and wonderful to the bold and beautiful.. and everything in between.


  1. I feel that this exhibit, if done with “taste” could be rather informative. I too have use human ashes in an art series. I even sent you a press release on it. I figure if I was in a European country you would perhaps pay attention to it. DEATH is a part of LIFE.

    Olympia, Washington, April 10, 2008 –The human form has been depicted in art since human life began. This new series is just that, in the truest sense. Human ashes are part of the medium. Placing the act of suicide and the myriad aspects associated with it.
    Artist K. Markley-Reade, has created a series of paintings titled “BECAUSE of WICHITA”
    This new series will be open to the public June 21, 2008 10:00 – 10:00 during an open studio event located at: 514 Grandview Ave. NW. Olympia, WA. 98502
    Few artists have used human cremains in artworks. The one’s that have do so as homage. The “BECAUSE of WICHITA” series deals with suicide, its varying perspectives, such as, religious thought, gun control, mental health and the value placed on life. In turn the residual effect the ACT leaves behind.

    Ms. Reade is listed in the National Museum of Women in the Arts archives, 2001 Who’s Who in American Art. Kathy has exhibited her paintings at the Fine Art Museum Alexandria, Egypt and has participated in numerous group and solo exhibits.
    To request more information, schedule an interview or private viewing contact Ms. Reade at (360) 357 – 3733

    - END -

  3. Is it new? Mean, the representation of death is something that isn´t extraordinary since the Italian Renaissance and Brueguel´s “Triumph of Death” till Alfred Kubin´s works. On film we can remember “Lightning Over Water” a penetrating and touching film of the last days of cult American director Nicholas Ray, most well-known for Rebel Without a Cause. The film shows how Ray transformed his dying into an act of collaboration and a work of art. The film follows the entire process of death as an “act of love” of the young film maker to his master.

  4. What would be interesting would be to use infra-red heat cameras, and Kirlian photography and videotape the event to document any changes in the energy in the room. Take it from just art to art/science. THAT would be interesting.

  5. Anonymous says:

    If “Dick Blick” is sponsoring this crap we need to send a message that we arsn’t buying…

  6. Dick Blick is NOT sponsoring the exhibition and has nothing to do with it.

    There’s a Dick Blick advertisement on every post of Art News Blog at the moment, but that doesnt mean they support or approve of any of the stories mentioned on the blog.

    And I dont believe that this exhibition is offensive enough to change the shopping habits of people, even if they were sponsoring it. The artist is trying to shock people, but I dont think he is offending any particular group of people.

    Those that are offended by death, should start living more.


  7. In contemporary (Western) institutional art systems, There is a nuance that occurs in the gallery/museum setting in which the works displayed are positioned in a limbo state which hints of death by way of the works represented being absent of the actual artist (performance art excluded) The artist could be dead or alive but the frozen product is left behind to be consumed by the living. Works by a living artist can be displayed along side work done by a deceased artist with the result being: The deceased artist is resurrected and the living artist is put to death, in a sense. Death is a major factor in any culture or time.

  8. Interesting William.

    Like, artists are trying to buy their own immortality through their work.
    Or, the living artist simply paints his own tombstone again and again.

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