Monty Cantsin Set Things on Fire, Bled on Them on Orchard Street

11.15.13 Marina Galperina

Ducking blood drops and angle-grinder sparks, a couple dozen of gallery visitors watched artist Istvan Kantor perform as “Monty Cantsin” on the street. His performance at the Toyo Tsuchiya/Oris Carino/Benjamin Armas reception at the Van Der PLAS Gallery began with a little industrial music and a sort of various political salute sign macarena. By the time he went outside and was joined by another man grinding a metal canvas, the usual LES crowd gathered to watch cautiously from across the street.

Blood was expected. In the ’70s and early ’80s, the Hungarian-born Canadian artist conducted a “Blood Campaign,” splashing X’s of his own blood on walls and works in major museums and galleries around the world, getting himself banned from many of them.

Tonight, by the time he expertly popped open his vein with a needle and started squirting upwards of a pint of blood over the burning canvas and atop a vase of fake flowers as industrial pop blasted from his little boom box, faces began to pop in the windows. The dollhouse-type structure was burning dangerously close to the awning. So was the red flag Monty was swinging.

“We’re all Monty Cantsin,” the stalwart crew shouted in un-unison at the end. That name is sort of like the “Tony Clifton” of Neonism, a movement Kantor says to have founded.

In a philosophy anticipating that of free software and open source, anyone should perform in his name and thus contribute to and participate in his fame and achievements.

Monty? Was that you? I have had no time to process all this yet, especially the part where we sort kitsch from performative kitsch, but did I mention the blood? Everywhere. Surely, the now thoroughly wine-bar’ed LES neighborhood hasn’t seen anything this disruptive in a while. They’ve got gym in the morning. What’s was all that noise, huh? (Photo: Marina Galperina/ANIMALNewYork)