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FEUDING CONSIDERED AS PERFORMANCE ART: with asides on the 57 varieties of under determination in the discourses that structure the opportunism of careerists like Brian Sewell & John Roberts

Since modesty is not one of my failings, I am happy to proclaim that I have a particularly obnoxious personality. However, what I wish to do in the present text is banish the absurd idea that this alone accounts for the endless spats in which I have been embroiled. Since even the Evening Standard (28/7/95) in reporting that Will Self considered me 'a nasty little skinhead', was able to observe that 'no hip young novelist... can afford to be without a feud on the boil', it should be obvious to all and sundry that spats are part and parcel of any successful career in the field of culture. Indeed, many of the 'feuds' reported by the media are carried on by friends who see faked public slagging sessions as a means of making the diary sections of the national press.

While not wanting to give the game away about which of my many spats took place by prior arrangement, I need not be coy about the fact that I share many mutual acquaintances with both Will Self and John Roberts. The latter recently made an inept two page attack on me under the title Home "Truths' in everything # 20. Disappointed at the lack of focus in this diatribe, I distributed my five thousand word response From Arse To Arsehole: John Roberts And The Spectres Of Philistinism, as a limited edition xerox. However, since Roberts subsequently goaded his chum David Burrows into slating me in Art Monthly # 200, I have come around to accepting that From Arse To Arsehole should be more widely distributed in the future.

While I like a balance of good and very bad publicity, this is merely an aesthetic preference and has no bearing on my ongoing deconstruction of the mechanics of fame. Within the commodified culture of capitalism, it's column inches that count, while the content of publicity is irrelevant. Several years ago, when a bored student on a placement at the National Art Library compiled a fame chart by weighing the press files of those artists with the most voluminous coverage, I had no trouble making the top twenty alongside the likes of Andy Warhol. Today I'd do even better, because after learning of this measure for fame, I took to xeroxing my press cuttings onto card, and then sending them as gifts to this august institution.

And this, naturally enough, brings us back to the reasons John Roberts has embroiled himself in a spat with me. Since Roberts clearly isn't satisfied with his bureaucratic job as Exhibitions Organiser at Camerawork, and he knows my theoretico-practice is 'destined' to be a major influence on intergalactic culture for at least the next five billion years, he imagines it is better for him to be remembered as someone whose 'ideas' were humiliatingly demolished by Stewart Home, than not being remembered at all. Unfortunately for Roberts, I've so many feuds behind me that he comes across as a gauche arrivisté. Even the hideously retarded John A. Walker managed to have a spat with me more than eight years ago!

Similar failures may be discerned in the posturing of David Burrows. In his 'review' of my workfortheyetodo show, this poodle yaps: "Home's blunt position leads to a practice... that... leaves any audience high and dry in the space of the institution itself...' Naturally, Burrows makes this complaint without asking who is being addressed by my gallery work, since to do so would be to acknowledge the class basis of culture. Indeed, Burrows is so thick it becomes necessary to explain that I fully intended to leave him high and dry in the institution of art, floundering alongside the bourgeois culture he wishes to defend. However, while Roberts and Burrows are easy targets for ridicule, this does not mean that humiliating them is merely a divertissement, since it has simultaneously provided me with an opportunity to make good use of a tried and tested publicity scam.

Stewart Home, London October 1996.

For documentation of my spat with John A. Walker see Variant # 6 (Dundee 1989, pages 50-53).

Published in the catalogue accompanying the group exhibition Lost For Words, Coins Coffee Store, 105-107 Talbot Road, London W11 2AT, October-December 1996. Reprinted in Disputations.

Back: Letter from Stewart Home to Art Monthly of 8/10/96

Next: Letter from Stewart Home to Art Monthly of 13/11/96


Stewart Home topless by Chris Dorley-Brown

Stewart Home tells it how it is...


Home's 'Necrocard' - how would Roberts relate this to his attempts to 're-theorise' 'British' 'art'?

LarryO'Hara bottles it

Larry O'Hara bottles it

Larry O'Hara, (a man who hates Stewart Home almost as much as he hates himself) fails to disrupt a Home reading at the Oval Theatre in Kennigton.

Istvan Kantor &  nurse blood performance

Neoist Istvan Kantor doing a 'blood performance'. There is bad blood between Kantor and Stewart Home.

Neoist performance

Despite the rhetoric about unity in sections of the Neoist camp, this eighties movement suffered more splits than a pair of trousers with dodgy seams.