#3. Intentionally Pissing Red to Create a Portrait of Iron Man
In 2012, Taiwanese art student Wong Tin Cheung was taking a leak when he realized that there was blood in his urine. Any panic he might have felt at that moment was replaced by exhilaration a few seconds later when he looked down at the combination of red and yellow in his toilet and thought, "Holy shit, that sorta looks like Iron Man!"
This is probably not the first time Robert Downey Jr. has been in this exact same spot.
When a museum of fine arts in China announced a $13,500 prize for an art competition, Cheung, a big fan of Marvel Comics, decided to recreate his masterpiece for it -- first he spent two months tracking down a toilet bowl with the exact shape of Iron Man's helmet, which it turns out isn't as easy as we'd always assumed. Next, he turned his urine red again by eating colored pigments, when he could have probably just asked a friend to kick him in the balls and gotten the same result.
"When you need someone to take a bat to your kidneys, that's when you find out who your real friends are."
Finally, he used saliva to make Iron Man's eyes, which he had to do every hour while he waited for the judges to review the other entries. All this hard work paid off when Cheung's toilet portrait beat the 600 other contestants and was awarded the first prize, presumably just to get him to flush the damn thing since it was seriously stinking up the room.
It's probably a good thing he didn't go for War Machine.
Cheung achieved worldwide fame thanks to his Blood Iron Man series, and it's only a matter of time before Marvel asks him to draw the official comic book with his penis. All because he peed blood one day. Anyway, he's probably dead now, because that's not normal.
#2. Digging Up Corpses to Turn Them into Statues
Honore Fragonard was a French anatomist in the 18th century and a cousin of hotshot painter Jean-Honore Fragonard. Perhaps as revenge on his famous cousin for having stolen his name, the anatomist decided to go into the art world as well, only in a slightly more insane manner: by turning the corpses he studied into nightmarish sculptures.
Yeah, that sure showed him.
Fragonard acquired the corpses from "executions, medical schools and even fresh graves," then embalmed them using a secret method that still isn't fully understood, which we're choosing to interpret as evidence that he was a necromancer. Apparently, from what today's scientists can gather, he'd inject the corpses with a fluid of his own invention, then isolate and dissect each organ and use rods and screws to put them back together again in deranged poses, sometimes combining parts from humans and animals. Finally, he'd paint the blood vessels and varnish the entire remodeled corpse to keep the bugs off.
Ba Hons CG Arts & Animation
Just kidding. Even the bugs are too freaked out to go near this thing.
Fragonard prepared around 700 corpses this way, of which only 21 still survive. Among them is his most famous work, a skeletal man riding an equally terrifying horse, originally surrounded by an army of human fetuses mounted on sheep and horse fetuses, plus more fetuses dancing. The rider is on display in a museum, but it's unclear what happened to the fetus army.
What we're saying is that it's entirely possible that they'll turn up in your room one night.
Others include a man with the jawbone of a donkey, and a group of flayed monkeys clapping for reasons that only Fragonard and the voices in his head could comprehend. Fragonard did all this while serving as the first professor of anatomy at the world's first veterinary school for six years, until he was kicked out in 1771 for being a madman and a weirdo.
According to rumors, the fetus-surrounded horse rider was actually his fiancee ... who killed herself, but this has been disproved (which actually makes it more terrifying, because at least that would have explained why he did those things). We'll just have to wait until his creations bring forth the apocalypse to find out.
#1. Letting the Audience Do Anything to the Artist. Literally Anything.
If the artists we've mentioned so far have something in common, besides being crazy, it's that they all did these things to themselves: They pulled out their own nails, made themselves vomit or told their friends to shoot them to shock us or weird us out, while we normal people scratched our heads and laughed. Serbian-born performance artist Marina Abramovic turned that around by letting the audience decide what to do to her ... and it wasn't pretty.
Turns out museum visitors are assholes.
After pulling off relatively tame performance pieces like the one where she intentionally stabbed her fingers 40 times or when she laid down in the middle of a burning wooden star and almost died, Abramovic took things to the next level with her 1974 piece Rhythm 0, in which she simply stood in front of a table with 72 items on it, including a gun, metal chains, an axe and razor blades.
It was inspired by her S.T.A.L.K.E.R. inventory.
A sign informed the audience that they could do literally anything to Abramovic with these items, and she wouldn't say anything or resist. At first, they just played around with her, tickling her with feathers or using her as a coat rack, presumably. However, little by little, they started getting more aggressive. Someone tore off her clothes and pressed thorns into her stomach. Another person cut her neck with a knife and licked her blood. Then, a woman grabbed the gun from the table, loaded it with a bullet and made Abramovic point it at her own neck, pressing her fingers to see if she resisted. She didn't. This went on for six hours.
It wasn't the best day to organize a museum visit from Sociopaths Anonymous.
After the six hours were over, Abramovic snapped out of it and began walking toward the audience, who freaked and ran away. The disturbing part about Abramovic's performance is that, as crazy as she was for coming up with the idea, the completely normal people who happened to be visiting the museum that day turned out to be even worse. So she ... made her point, we guess?
Rayan is also known as Bama Bhai, and you can follow him on Twitter here.
For more art we wish we never knew about, check out 5 Works of Art That Can Probably Kill You and 5 Works of Legitimate Mad Science Passed Off as Art.