Here's What Happens Inside Shia LaBeouf's Bizarre Art Exhibit
Shia LaBeouf made headlines over the weekend when he walked out of a Berlin press conference for his latest project, Nymphomaniac, before hitting the red carpet wearing a bag over his head that read, "I am not famous anymore." Now, the recently "retired" actor is taking things to another level with an LA performance-art exhibit called "#IAMSORRY." Shia, in a collaboration with artists Nastja Säde Rönkkö and Luke Turner, has invited viewers to sit with him, one by one, in a tiny gallery space and ask him questions — the catch being that Shia apparently stays completely silent while wearing a suit and tie and the aforementioned paper bag over his head.
So far, the stories coming from Shia's visitors have ranged from intensely moving — Vulture's Kyle Buchanan reported that Shia was crying under his mask, and a Daily Beast editor snapped the above photo of the actor — to kind of creepy, with multiple stories about how the silent Q&A was so powerful that they got up and left well before the allotted time. Overall, though, we've been able to glean some details about how the exhibit works:
- First (after waiting in line, of course) a security guard escorts you into the small gallery, and Finnish artist Nastja Säde Rönkkö asks you to pick one item to bring into the room with you. The options reportedly include a whip, a bowl of Hershey's kisses, a copy of Daniel Clowes's graphic novel The Death-Ray, a pink ukulele, a Transformers toy, and a bowl of paper slips bearing a mix of positive and negative tweets about the actor.
- You then go behind a black curtain, where Shia sits at a table wearing a tuxedo and the "I am not famous anymore" bag over his head.
- According to multiple firsthand accounts, Shia doesn't speak; some visitors were able to see him smiling or crying underneath the paper bag, but apparently he says nothing, all while keeping constant eye contact.
- While it appears that Shia leaves the bag over his head during each visit, The Daily Beast's Andrew Romano asked the actor if he "was really Shia LaBeouf." When Shia removed the bag, Andrew snapped the above photo.
- You can talk to him, ask him questions, and even hold Shia's hand, but he won't respond with words. Many visitors reported that the actor began to cry or appeared to have been crying before they walked into the room.
- Critiques of the project have been mixed; some guests have concluded that they were "moved" or "actually felt something real" while one guest wrote, "It was just the sort of thing that makes you shake your head."