Featured Long Durational Work
I Bite America And America Bites Me (1997), Oleg Kulik in collaboration with Mila Bredikhina
Duration: Two weeks
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.”