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SiteWorks: San Francisco performance 1969-85

Oakland Museum of Art, 1000 Oak Street, Oakland

Tom Marioni as Allan Fish, The Act of Drinking Beer with Friends is the Highest Form of Art (26th October-8th November 1970)

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In 1969 I had to have a way of exhibiting because I felt like exhibiting. It was too politically complicated to try to exhibit my work and be a curator at the same time for a combination of reasons which are probably obvious. So I had to exhibit under another name. I created a fictitious character, Allan Fish. And when it was no longer necessary to be concerned about those things, then I announced, by way of a transformation piece, that I was Allan Fish. The Act of Drinking Beer With Friends is the Highest Form of Art was the first Allan Fish one-man show. It took place at the Oakland Museum. I invited 21 of my friends to come and drink beer at the museum. And 16 people were there. All of the people were sculptors except for Werner Jepson, the music composer. We got drunk in the museum together and the debris that was left over was exhibited as documentation of that activity – empty beer cans and cigarette butts, just morning after kind of debris. It was to exaggerate the concept of the act being the art and the documentation being just a record of the real activity. (Marioni in Vergine 2000: 143)

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