Sarah Lucas, the controversial British artist, has been brutally murdered. Luke Haines freely admitted to killing Lucas, choosing to confess in song form. The resulting lyrical confession, Death of Sarah Lucas, is featured on his 2001 album, The Oliver Twist Manifesto. On the same album, he also confessed to a litany of other crimes against popular culture. Shortly before his most heinous crime, he had also called for the First National Pop Strike, calling on all pop stars and karaoke singers to down tools and cease to make, distribute, discuss or perform their work. Haines used the term “pop stars” loosely in order to describe artisans, automata, circus acts, comedians, pimps, whores and illuminati. We should have realised his endeavors to save the world with art weren’t just limited to pop stars but it is too late. As he states on The Oliver Twist Manifesto’s title track, “It’s a beautiful night to paint the wall white again”.
Sarah Lucas was an English artist and was part of the generation of Young British Artists who emerged during the 1990s. In her work, she often used visual puns and bawdy humour, specialising in a number of different forms including photography, collage and found objects. Sarah Lucas was known for her self-portraits, including Human Toilet Revisted (1998), a colour photograph depicting the artist sitting on the toilet smoking a cigarette. Cigarettes were a mainstay of the artists work, as Haines says whilst speculating about how she died, cunningly trying to throw us off the scent: “Could be death by cigarette or one true blow to the head”.
In 2000, her solo exhibition The Fag Show consisted of art made from cigarettes, including Self-Portrait with Cigarettes. Haines spoke of Lucas’s love of the cigarette in his taped confession with the lines, “Take the cigarette Sarah, Put it in your mouth, smoke the fucker, Light it, suck it, don’t blow it, Don’t make a big deal about it”.
In 1997, Lucas appeared on the British TV show, The Car’s The Star to talk about her love of the Ford Capri, also mentioned in Haines’ murder confession: “The Car’s The Star to glue the cigarettes on”. Other examples of the Lucas’s work included Eating A Banana (1990), a photograph of Lucas, you guessed it, eating a banana whilst looking into the camera provocatively.
As the tale of Haines’s evil doings unfolded, he told of how he “traced her to a member’s bar, She’s holding court, she’s talking art, Doesn’t fruit look funny in a gallery?” As the confession drew on, Haines showed remained unapologetic and intoned joyously over and over again, “I shot Sarah Lucas”. As Haines rightly says in a three minute confession which was imbued with his usual sarcastic wit, Lucas will be best remembered for “playing with morality”; “using ambiguity” and “using humour to question our preconceptions”.
*As a disclaimer, Sarah Lucas is still very much alive and still making art. And still smoking.