In 1994 Iain Forsythe and Jane Pollard, two art students from London's Goldsmith's College of Art, had the idea to distribute limited edition art by young artists in boxes.
They asked Momus to write a short text for the first box. His parody of a classic art movement manifesto gave the series its title: 'Ultra-Paranoid (Extra-Spatial) Portable Art'. The manifesto attained respectability when it was shown in a glass case in the Musee D'Art Moderne in Paris as part of their 'Live / Life' British Art Show in 1996.
A Dagger to the Heart of British Phlegm!
A Spurt of Blood for our Glorious and Flamboyant New Movement!
This is Ultra-Paranoid
Errata to the Original Manifesto (June 1994)
Our Manifesto, which this summer proposed the bold new artform 'Ultra-Paranoid (Extra-Spatial) Portable Art', aroused vigorous debate in the British art world. Unfortunately it also contained certain dangerous inaccuracies. At the behest of Detective Superintendant Ken Bradwell of Scotland Yard's Serious Fraud (Art Movements) Squad we have issued the following list of errata, apologia and retractions.
(Nevertheless, long live 'Ultra-Paranoid (Extra-Spatial) Portable Art'!)
1. In paragraph 17 (green calligraphy on a purple background) we stated: 'Burn down The Academy, for it does not represent 'Ultra-Paranoid (Extra-Spatial) Portable Art' !'
Our legal representative, Mr Bernard Bloom, has asked us to make it clear that no libel or calumny was intended against Norman Rosenthal, the board, trustees and friends of the Royal Academy, or in fact any public institution of art, be it gallery or college. And our thanks go to Reginald Longley of London Fire Brigade for pointing out that arson is, quite rightly, illegal. We do not for a moment endorse in the name of 'Ultra-Paranoid (Extra-Spatial) Portable Art' any act of fire-setting. We rather intended to represent, by 'The Academy', a state of mind, and by 'Burn down', a wish for peaceful, democratic change.
Therefore, long live 'Ultra-Paranoid (Extra-Spatial) Portable Art'!
2. In paragraph 23(b) (orange Letraset on scraperboard) we said: 'A dagger to the heart of British Phlegm!...We will fight to the death the reactionary neo-conservatives, and reserve special torture and obloquy for those verminous and atavistic buffoons of figuration...'
Our sincere apologies go to Brian Sewell, Giles Auty and the British Guild of Watercolourists. We are deeply sorry for the distress we have caused. 'Ultra-Paranoid (Extra-Spatial) Portable Art' does not, in principle, exclude the noble, timeless traditions of the landscapist and portraitist, artisans for whom we have the greatest respect.
Notwithstanding, long live 'Ultra-Paranoid (Extra-Spatial) Portable Art'!
3. Paragraph 58(g) (sulphuric acid on marbled pink sandpaper), beginning 'Yes! Obscenity too is our ally! Like Rabelais and the Divine Marquis...', may appear to be making a case for the promulgation of inflammatory materials to an unadvised public. Our thanks to the Heritage Ministry for advising us that this is not in accord with general British practise. As we believe self-censorship to be a matter of individual choice we have excised this paragraph from future imprints of the Manifesto.
Quibbles and peccadilloes aside, viva 'Ultra-Paranoid (Extra-Spatial) Portable Art'!
4. Paragraph 79 is headed 'The Revolution begins at W.H.Smith!'. We wish to inform the public that, following the breakdown of negotiations with Smiths' management, 'Ultra-Paranoid (Extra-Spatial) Portable Art' will not now be available on the shelves of that famous vendor of print-media multiples. Our intended edition of 100 000 copies has therefore been cut to 100, which will be available in small galleries with Bolshevik tendencies (the ICA, Whitechapel and Serpentine). We in no way endorse their sometimes irresponsible cultural policies.
If we may be so bold, long live 'Ultra-Paranoid (Extra-Spatial) Portable Art'!
All opinions in this erratum slip are those of its author, Momus.
Iain and Jane decided to stop at Box 10. They asked Momus to write the movement's obituary.
Ten Extra-Spatial Artists
10 Extra-Spatial artists making box art:
This is the tale of how the movement fell apart
The tenth, a schizophrenic, thought he was Andre Breton
He expelled himself for communism, then there were 9
The ninth filled the box with jumping beans which hatched as moths and ate
All the other pieces, and then there were 8
The eighth, a gay believer, declared the gates of Heaven
Were better than the art world, and then there were 7
The seventh, inspired by the Bobbit case, boxed her exes' pricks
But the police arrived with sniffer dogs and then there were 6
The sixth, a whizz at physics, reduced a black hole's size
To an inch across, got sucked in the box, and then there were 5
The fifth took the box to Waddington's after adding on a board
He became a Monopoly millionaire, and then there were 4
The fourth, an environmental artist like Andy Goldsworthy
Felt sorry for the cardboard trees and left, and there were 3
The third used the box to kill people with an arsenic-tipped kazoo
They put the bitch in prison and then there were 2
The second made jewel-encrusted eggs and signed them 'Pierre Cardin'
But a writ arrived from Faberge, and then there was 1
The last Extra-Spatial artist, although it broke his heart
Wrote a trenchant memoir when the movement fell apart
(They read it to this day at all the better schools of art)
The moral? Nothing ever disappears that lives for times to come
The last artist may die, but words and pictures will live on