Here We Go Again...

By Rob Last edited 152 months ago
Here We Go Again...

What is to be done with 'artist' Mark McGowan?

This self-serving, talentless no-mark has become a regular sight in our newspapers and (we regret to say) on this site.

First he pushed a peanut seven miles through London with his nose (a protest against student debt), then he sat in a bathtub full of baked beans to try and defend people's right to a full English breakfast, then there was 'pulling a bus wth his toe' stunt (a protest against London's transport system that one).

Then came the eating of a fox (something to do with 'crackheads' we seem to remember), and the attempt to catapult a 76-year-old pensioner into space (to highlight the way in which the young mistreat the old).

And lest we forget the botched attmept at cartwheeling from Brighton to London with rocks tied around each ankle and 18 sticks of Brighton rock cellotaped across his face in protest against people who take pebbles home from the beach, or the 'hilarious' car keying prank that he pulled.

Possibly McGowan's most infamous stunt was the 'running tap' installation to highlight water wastage. That one really captured the imagination of the national press and caused a bit of an uproar right across the country.

Obviously McGowan is not one to let a good formula go to waste and he's now reviving this contradictory form of environmental protest by turning on a car's engine for eight hours a day in a car park in Peckham:

"I know I will be upsetting people. What about car owners who drive to the local video store or the corner shop or in fact the school? How many times do you see mums leaving cars running outside the school gates or taking one child 800 metres to school in a 4x4?"

If you want to read the pros and cons surrounding this story then you can read the BBC article, we're loathe to give this tool more exposure than he's already getting.

Although we will make this promise here and now: "We, Londonist, hereby swear that from this day forward we will no longer publish any information regarding the self-proclaimed artist, Mark McGowan, as it is quite obvious to us that he is a bit of a dickhead".

Let that be and end to the matter.

Last Updated 22 September 2005


Whats this? Erudite Londonist reveals that its artistic heathen tendancys? I take it that Londonist likes to have its paintings of trees looking like trees and all that modern rubbish can be burnt?


Chris, you're talking about form, we're talking about content.

Last time we checked publicity-seeking was not an art in itself.


Rob, must we forswear ALL McGowan stories? I for one would like to write it up when he receives the kicking he so richly deserves.


His actions are designed to provoke people, clearly he has provoked you. If your main complaint is that he gets publicity then how do you cope when you visit a Picasso exhibition? And why do you call him a no-mark when his name IS Mark?


You are cordially invited to my performance art event, in a peckham car park. I call it "repeatedly punching mark mcgowan in the face"

Visitors are encouraged to interact with the exhibition


Chris - we admitted we'd been provoked and that's why we swore off any more stories. We have learnt our lesson.

And you're not serious about the Picasso question are you?


why do you call him a no-mark when his name IS Mark?

Good point. We should change that to 'no-gavin' or something.

How about locking him in the car with a length of hose attached to the exhaust?


Rob - I think he is more interesting than your average artist who gets picked by a gallery, flogs a dozen paintings and then gets dumped. Any artist winding up the national media gets points in my opinion. I didn't expect Londonist to come out on the 'outraged of Tunbridge Wells' side of the argument. Or the people who read the site to advocate beating him up or suffocating him!


Chris, we are not beign reactionary here. We've given this guy a lot of chances already and he's disappointed every time.

We have nothing against 'prankster art' (for want of a better term) but only if it has real worth. And, in my opinion, this guy's work has zero worth.

As I see it we have two choices: ignore him or interview him and get to the bottom of what he thinks he's doing. If enough readers want us to then we'll contact him with some questions.

But I'm not going to hide the fact that I think he's a waste of space for fear of appearing 'Daily Mail'.


Maybe we should also swear off Banksy stories too, in case we start a Londonist civil war.


I find it surprising that a London based website does not back a London based artist. Has Londonist investigated the thriving Camberwell art scene, often overlooked by its lack of tube and being on 'the wrong side' of the river?

Why not interview him? It might shed more light on the situation. Usually his media coverage is a London Tonight 'and finally'. Or a column inch of Daily Mail, that and a Wikipedia article.

On the matter of 'worth' there are millions of tons of 'worthless' material out there, but none of it calls itself art. Is your problem that your perception of what is art is being challenged by what Mark McGowan does as an artist?


Chris - maybe I'm not making myself clear:

"Is your problem that your perception of what is art is being challenged by what Mark McGowan does as an artist?"

NO! I just don't find what he does or how he does it to be interesting, intelligent or creative.

That's not a difficult concept to grasp is it? You seem intent on proving that I somehow 'misunderstand' this guy or I'm just dismissing him out of hand. Neither of those things are true.

I respect your opinion (and anyone else's) who may think that McGowan deserves their attention, so why can't you just accept I don't agree with that (and not assume that I'm a narrow minded heathen from Tunbridge Wells)?

If one more reader posts here saying that it would be a good idea to interview McGowan then we'll contact him.


Ok! Sorry for winding you up.

But we all know that people who don't deserve attention get it on a regular basis. But I, personally, would prefer a nugget of media attention was handed out to a wierd Camberwell artist than, say, anyone who was on the X-Factor ever.

I don't begrudge MM's artistic attempts. I am of the opinion that, when judging artistic matters saying 'I could do better' is one thing, actually doing better yourself is another!

He is an individual doing stuff, I think calling him 'self serving' and 'talentless' is what irritated me. Its an easy remark to make. I think by pushing a peanut miles with his nose he deserved somkind of credit for that exertion. And it is his right to turn on his car for as long as he wants, but I am sure they will make it illegal soon!


Actually, interviewing him isn't such a bad idea. In my humble opinion.

But I don't think we should automatically back someone just because they're London-based.