Saturday, January 10, 2015

Novel Defense For Accused Bank Robber: I Was Doing It For Art

From the New York Post: A surveillance image
said to be showing artist Joseph Gibbons robbing
a bank, reportedly for art's sake.  
If a report in the New York Post is to be believed, an artist and former MIT professor robbed a couple banks, not to get some quick cash, but for the sake of art.

Now that's a novel defense: It wasn't a bank robbery, your honor, it was a work of art.

Joseph Gibbons, 61, is accused of entering a Manhattan bank on New Year's Eve and demanding money while video-ing the whole thing on a camcorder.

Rhode Island officials say they were looking for Gibbons in connection with a bank robbery there in November.

Gibbons was an instructor at MIT for about nine years, ending in 2010, according to his bio.

MIT no longer has his information up on its web site, but a cached version says:    

"Gibbons' work in film and video is characterized by a time-honored approach - that of the artist's use of his own life as source material, a laboratory for self-observation and experimentation."

In a past interview with an art magazine, the Post said Gibbons said the following, though he was talking about taking drugs, not allegedly committing crimes:

"The romantic idea of the artist getting involved in these kinds of activities as a kind of research, gaining experience. But that was the big inspiration for me."

Then again, the Post also notes Gibbons hasn't really been employed for the last four years, so maybe he did need the money.

I'm sure this will all get sorted out in subsequent court cases. In the meantime, I think most creative people would be wise to not suffer quite as much as Gibbons appears to be doing for your art.

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