We caught up with the artist associated with pianos and giant slides in public places to talk more about his extraordinary idea for this year’s Connect! competition.
What is your inspiration for the Museum Heist idea?
Both Play Me I’m Yours and Park and Slide, placed the audience at the centre of the event. They become the performers, activating and completing the artwork. The Heist gives the public the opportunity to be at the centre of the operation. The Heist is inspired by literature and films of art robberies and theft. Well-crafted and planned, the act of stealing an artwork can become an art form in itself. I’m also interested in unpacking and asking questions about the changing value (financial, historical and cultural) and purpose of art and the role of museums.
Why would a museum or gallery want to help you steal one of their pieces?
The project celebrates the fact that in the UK we can safely exhibit a priceless artefact without massive security measures. There is a feeling that art is for masses, and that museums provide a great service in making artwork accessible to all, no matter what background they come from.
The project will give the museum the opportunity to tell the public about the specific object that gets stolen and why it’s so important and significant to the local population. We’ll be able to communicate to the public how museums store, exhibit and safely transport artworks.
The project will gain local, national and international publicity over a period of a few months. Through the press, social media and television, the art project will reach very large audiences, many of which won’t usually engage with art. Some may have never visited or even heard of the museum before. We can also use the project to highlight the problems of art theft, internationally.
In your experience are British museums and galleries friendly, open institutions compared to other countries’ venues?
Considering the financial value of the works in the museum, we are so fortunate to be able to get so close to the artworks. Most museums are free for the public to access which is wonderful and how it should be.
Are you a fan of the heist movie genre or crime thrillers in general?
Absolutely! I’m a big fan.
Will you give the stolen work back or are you thinking of using your contacts in the art world to fence it?
The work would be given back to the museum.
Have you ever stolen anything?
I once pinched a XXX but don’t tell anyone!
Interested in bringing Luke to your venue for Museums at Night? Find out more about taking part in the Connect! competition here – you have until Friday 20 March to send us your pitch!