Artist Joe Scanlan Is Renting Out a Marcel Broodthaers-Themed Airbnb
The artist says it is "unclear" whether the project is a work of art.
Yesterday, a curious announcement went out on the Art & Education listserv. Instead of a pitch for an MFA program, it was an advertisement offering “a studio apartment available through Airbnb in honor of the great Belgian artist Marcel Broodthaers.”
The “MBnb” initiative—Marcel Broodthaers’s initials combined with “Airbnb,” if that’s not clear—is organized by something called the Marcel Broodthaers Society of America. It coincides with the just-opened show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, seemingly in the hope of attracting super-fans of the Belgian poet-artist flying in from out of town.
Photos from the online listing make the accommodations look humble and not-at-all arty, though there are some images of eagles, Broodthaers’s signature motif, displayed around the space. A stay will set you back $95 per night, with a minimum of two nights. Amenities are described as “functional.”
The main attraction is a small archive of memorabilia relating to Broodthaers’s career. It includes a small trove of editioned artworks, catalogues from previous Broodthaers retrospectives, and an actual copy of October magazine’s special “Broodthaers” issue, edited by Benjamin Buchloh.
The announcement is straight-faced. A few clicks around the Broodthaers Society site, however, reveal it to be an initiative of the artist Joe Scanlan, best known for his “Donelle Woolford” project—seen at the Whitney Biennial 2014, where it touched off a firestorm of debate—which has him create art in the persona of a fictitious African American woman, sometimes played by actresses.
Scanlan writes on the website that the Society was formed as a response to the “rather precious intellectual scaffolding [that] has come to almost completely encase the memory of [Broodthaers’s] work—a mandarin discourse that, to us, is at odds with his trademark irreverence and annihilating wit.”
As for whether the Airbnb listing is itself a work of art, Artinfo’s Mostafa Heddaya visited the inaugural MBnb open house at the apartment a few weeks ago, where Scanlan explained, “it’s unclear, it’s a proposition to see if anyone else wants to get involved.”
If you are a Broodthaers aficionado but don’t want shell out for the stay, the Broodthaers archive is also accessible by appointment.
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