I BITE AMERICA AND AMERICA BITES ME (1997)

Featured Long Durational Work

I Bite America And America Bites Me (1997), Oleg Kulik in collaboration with Mila Bredikhina  

Duration: Two weeks

Text and photographs courtesy of Oleg Kulik

For two weeks at Deitch Projects in New York, Oleg Kulik lived in a specially-built box. He took upon himself the role of a dog inside a cage. Always on all fours, he drank water out of a bowl and growled instead of speaking. Gallery visitors could watch him through the windows of the box or enter, one at a time, wearing a protective suit. If Joseph Beuys' performance "I Like America and America Likes Me" (1974) was a symbolic domestication of America, this domestication of Kulik was a diagnosis of the state of contemporary American society.

Writer and artist Susan Silas, shortly after visiting the gallery sent a letter to Kulik describing her experience. She wrote, “So, it's not about animal rights. Maybe it's about our animal natures. Not a metaphor for being treated as a dog. Women are treated as dogs by culture. Minorities too. But not white men. […] You come very close. Your face is covered with sweat. Or perhaps it is just water lapped up from your bowl. Now your face is a few inches from mine and you are snarling. A dog that close — you'd feel it's [sic] hot breath on your face. If you were my sister's Doberman acting like this — I would be afraid. I don't keep pets myself. But I would keep you. And that, it seems to me, is conclusive proof, my dear sweet Oleg, that you are not an animal, you are not man's best friend, you are — quite simply — a man.”



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Oleg Kulik is a Russian performance artist. Born in Kiev (Ukraine) in 1961. He graduated Kiev Art School in 1979 and Kiev Geological Survey College in 1982. He was the art director of Regina Gallery in Moscow (1990–1993), Berlin Senate stipendium (1995–1996). He has been awarded with the medal "The Worthy" of the Russian Art Academy and is the winner of the award for Curator's project, III Annual Russian national award for contemporary visual arts Innovation He is now the Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters, France and lives and works in Moscow. His website can be found here. His Youtube channel can be found here.