Actor Shia LaBeouf Attempts 72-Hour Durational Art Performance at New York Theater

The 29-year-old actor is at Angelika Film Center for 72 hours.

Shia LaBeouf.
Shia LaBeouf.

Last night, I stopped by New York’s Angelika Film Center to experience #ALLMYMOVIES, the latest bizarre art-related endeavor from Transformers star Shia LaBeouf.

The 29-year-old actor is currently engaged in a marathon viewing session of all 72 hours of movies he has appeared in since 1998, from The Christmas Path to the still-unreleased Man Down. The whole thing is being live-streamed, and it’s free to stop into the theater and watch alongside LaBeouf, provided you’re willing to wait in line.

While some of LaBeouf’s quirky actions—a 144-lap METAMARATHON around Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum, teaming up with grad students to make video art (including a meme-ready inspiration speech), and a modern dance music video with Australian singer and songwriter Sia—are in some ways refreshingly down to earth, I can’t help be slightly worried about the guy, who shares my birth year. Other famous 1986 babies have gone dramatically off the rails, and I’m still not entirely convinced this isn’t some Amanda Bynes/Lindsay Lohan-style meltdown dressed up as artistry.

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The paper bag he wore on the red carpet at the Berlin International Film Festival which advertised “I am not famous anymore” was creepy and unsettling, and LaBeouf’s allegations that he was raped during an accompanying performance piece at a Los Angeles gallery were downright disturbing.

Even worse are his numerous arrests, most involving alcohol, including one just last month. (The Telegraph has a helpful timeline of all of LaBeouf’s troubling antics, if you want a complete breakdown.) There’s also something vaguely serial killer-esque about his bushy beard, but maybe that’s just me.

However, visitors to the event didn’t appear to share my concern. “He’s just a unique and wonderful person,” New York University student John Lanternier said, who was there with his friend and fellow student Venneeda Keowmang. The pair had been waiting in line roughly two hours, and had plans to return the following day.

“We’re absolute huge fucking fans of Shia LaBeouf—but not in a weird way,” added audience member Michael Kushner, who was there with his business partner. He believed that the event was art—but only if LaBeouf sees if through. “If he just bounces after a couple of movies then it is just a stunt,” he said.

Screenshot from the livestream of Shia LaBeouf watching his entire film oeuvre at New York's Angelika Film Center in November 2015.

Screenshot from the livestream of Shia LaBeouf watching his entire film oeuvre at New York’s Angelika Film Center in November 2015.

“It’s definitely artistic,” allowed Stanley Rojas, a filmmaker who described LaBeouf as a “good actor.”

Others were unconvinced. “I know anyone can make anything art, but I don’t think it is art,” said Damaris Segarra, who grew up watching LaBeouf’s days of Disney Channel stardom on Even Stevens. “I think it’s because he’s crazy.” She was at the screening with her friend Alyssa Chryssafis, and they were prepared to wait, but only for so long—Chryssafis wasn’t going to miss the 9:30 train back to New Jersey.

The Angelika isn’t turning press away, but the staff is under strict instructions not to speak to reporters. While my experience differed in some respects from that of Gothamist‘s Miranda Katz (she was searched by security and strictly warned against using her cell phone and camera), there were some striking similarities. We both sat in front of the actor, and were apparently the only ones who felt compelled to watch LaBeouf during his durational performance piece. I turned around to observe him during a brief, fairly brutal sex scene from Lars Von Trier’s Nymphomaniac, but from what I could tell LaBeouf remained unfazed.

Chris Kattan on Shia LaBeouf.
While visitors seemed impressed by the potentially-grueling aspect of the performance, I spotted LaBeouf munching on what appeared to be popcorn, and Twitter users are reporting that the actor has been allowing himself bathroom breaks.

The video feed accompanying the performance has been spotty at best—I had it open on my second monitor for a good while yesterday. At one point, LaBeouf appeared to be rubbing his face in an effort to stay awake, before it cut out for the rest of the afternoon. Tuning in this morning, I was surprised not to find LaBeouf in his assigned seat, only to have the feed fail yet again. (Just as a comparison, Marina Abramović‘s “The Artist is Present” performance ran from March–May 2010 at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, and was over 700 hours long, albeit only taking place during museum hours.)

As with his earlier artistic endeavors, LaBeouf has teamed with Finnish conceptual artist Nastja Säde Rönkkö and the British performance artist Luke Turner. The trio go by the name the Campaign Book, which is also LaBeouf’s Twitter handle.

While #ALLMYMOVIES might initially seem an exercise in vanity, I can’t help but think that it might be more akin to reading old diaries, always a deeply embarrassing proposition. It has to be bizarre to watch yourself grow up on screen, not to be mention reliving unpleasant flops (Indiana Jones: Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, anyone?). Nevertheless, if there’s anything unpleasant about this exercise, LaBeouf remains an actor to the core: from what I saw, the man has an impressive poker face. (Social media reports about his reactions to the third Transformers movie suggest otherwise.)

Personally, I’m just hoping LaBeouf will wrap things up by recreating the intense solo clap (alá Citizen Kane) from the amazing music video for “Actual Cannibal Shia LaBeouf.”

While most people in line were self-professed LaBeouf aficionados, there may have also been some hate watching: one man, near the back of the line, told me “no, not at all” when asked if he was a fan of the actor. He clammed up when asked to elaborate, giving a terse “no comment.”

#ALLMYMOVIES is at Angelika Film Center in New York from November 10-12, 2015. 


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