Installation View (Detail): MAC – Metropolitan Arts Centre, Belfast, Northern Ireland  |  Exhibition: Double Act: Art and Comedy (2016)

I Slept With The Curator To Get This Show

Format: Neon Sign
Date: 2016
Dimensions: 160 cm x 80cm
Edition: 2

Installation View: AIR Antwerp, Belgium  |  Exhibition: Antwerp Art Weekend (2018)

“An integral work for all three shows was Maurice Doherty’s neon I Slept With The Curator To Get This Show (2016)—a one-liner that succinctly undermines the assumed impartialities that lie behind curators’ choices to show some artists rather than others. Doherty’s work exposes the vanities and insularities within the art world. It also makes fun of artworks that reveal the conditions of their own existence, with a nod towards Bruce Nauman and Joseph Kosuth’s neons. But as a transcription of handwritten text it also mimes the mannerisms of Tracey Emin’s neons and the way they trade on intimate and frank sexual disclosures.

Doherty’s one-line gag builds on the competitive gossip of an insular and corrupt art world, but counters the discrete whispering with an act of overt declaration. The focus of the joke is the curator, the figure who decides who is or is not included in an exhibition. To this extent the frankness of the neon declaration serves to unsettle the legitimacy and ethics of a group of often self-regarding art world professionals whose ranks have expanded to dangerous and unsustainable levels in recent years, thanks to the proliferation of a host of postgraduate curating contemporary art courses. But the luridly bold statement also announces the unapologetic complicity of the ruthless careerist artists prepared to do whatever it takes to be included in a show. Doherty’s neon will always function like a joke in the company of other art: a disruptive, rebellious intervention, a comic “whistle-blower” casting doubt on the ethical integrity of the system in which it operates.”

The Laughable Enigma of Ordinary Life by David Campbell and Mark Durden – Elephant Magazine, 11 Dec 2017, Issue 33

Installation View: MAC – Metropolitan Arts Centre, Belfast, Northern Ireland | Exhibition: Double Act: Art and Comedy (2016)

Double Act Curators’ Interview | Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool, England

David Campbell and Mark Durden, founding members of artists’ group Common Culture and curators of Double Act: Art and Comedy, talk to Bluecoat about the exhibition.