Reverend Billy and The Church of Stop Shopping, by Bill Talen


Artist: Bill Talen

Title: Rev Billy and The Church of Stop Shopping

Year created: 1999 – on going

Location: New York City, USA

Materials: performance, including a choir.

What is the piece’s impact? The piece, performed numerous times garners a lot of attention, including a feature film, What Would Jesus Buy?, produced by Morgan Surplock. They have performed numerous corporate exorcisms and received lots of media attention.

How does this project relate to this change as art? Rather than being a performance piece confined within the walls of an art space such as a museum or theatre, this is a roving performance piece that goes right to the centre of consumerism and speaks directly to consumers. 

“We use theatrical forms to build a surprisingly moving, powerful critique of economic systems and environmental practices and instill a sense of responsibility in our audiences, leading them to simple actions they can take immediately (committing to ride their bike once a week, calling an elected or picking up trash in their local park) and others that require more work and cooperativity (defending a community garden, mobilizing a divestment or a boycott).” (source)

What makes this an artistic project? This is theater that uses spiritual metaphor of religion, church, sermon, salvation with theatrics, music, choir etc

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