Compared to Mark McGowan’s previous performance pieces, his latest enterprise seems relatively harmless. For an artist whose three-year career has included an attempt to catapult a 76-year-old pensioner into space (to highlight the way in which the young mistreat the old), walking backwards for 11 miles with a 27lb turkey on his head while shouting at fat people (to draw attention to the obesity epidemic), and scratching 50 shiny cars with his keys and photographing the evidence (for reasons that have never been entirely clear), his decision to leave a tap running for a year sounds almost anodyne. But McGowan’s latest stunt – wasting water in the backroom of a south London gallery – has caused the kind of publicity he can only have dreamed of. It’s a Shangri-la scenario for a man whose art doesn’t really exist unless people take notice of it.

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