At a gallery in Mayfair, American artist Jordan Wolfson is beating a guy’s head in with a baseball bat, over and over again. Then he stomps on it, pow, pow, pow, blood gushing everywhere. It’s horrifying, but thankfully it’s not real, it’s virtual reality. I got to see the work in the flesh at the Whitney Biennial in New York where it premiered earlier this year before it came to the Sadie Coles gallery last week.
Over in the States, the museum assistants were giving visitors warnings that what they were about to watch was violent and may cause offence, then they made you watch it while holding on to a little metal bar for safety. In London, they’ve done away with a bit of the health and safety, but it’s no less powerful. This is a work of art that confronts you with violence, then forces you to stare at it until you realise how normalised it’s become.
Yeah, it’s gross and horrible, but it might just be one of the most important works of art you’ll see in 2017. We expect there to be queues for the VR piece at Kingly St, so get down there early if you can stomach it.