bloc // May 2, 2005

bill drummond performs how to be an artist ⁄⁄

Date: Thursday 9 June 2005
Location: england


amino in association with BALTIC presents

performance lectures series



BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art ! South Shore Road ! Gateshead ! UK

Thursday 9 July 2005 ! doors open 7:00

£4 / £2 concessions ! ticket reservations from BALTIC on 0191 478 1810


In 1970, at the age of 17, Bill Drummond tried to walk across Iceland from top to bottom and failed.

In 1981 he fell in love with the work of the land artist Richard Long.

In 1994 Richard Long walked across Iceland from top to bottom. This walk was a work of art.

In 1995 Drummond bought a photograph and text work by Richard Long. It was called A Smell Of Sulphur In The Wind and cost $20,000. The photographic element of the work depicted a stone circle constructed by the artist while on his walk across Iceland. Drummond hung the work on his bedroom wall and was happy.

In 1998 he realised that his relationship with A Smell Of Sulphur In The Wind had become non-existent. An idea evolved that would rectify the situation. He would sell it for the original $20,000 (despite the fact that its value had risen); return to Iceland with the $20,000 in $1 bills; start walking across the island from top to bottom until he got to the remains of Richard Long’s stone circle; bury the money in the middle of the circle; take a photo of the enriched stone circle; and complete the walk across Iceland. Back home, he would develop, print and frame the photograph identically to the Richard Long original; call it A Smell Of Money Underground and hang it on his bedroom wall in the hope that his relationship with the work would be rekindled.

In 1999 he procrastinated.

In 2000 Drummond changed his mind. Instead of selling the Richard Long to one lucky art collector he gridded the whole thing up into 20,000 sections. His thinking was that if he cut out and sold off each of the sections to 20,000 individuals the burden of owning the art would be shared. Drummond did not take into account the logistics of doing this and by September 2004 he had not sold many more than 5,000 of the sections but the process had spawned much work of his own and evolved into the exhibition, performance and book How To Be An Artist.

Drummond still plans to do his walk across Iceland, bury the money, take the photo, hang it on the wall and call it A Smell Of Money Underground in the hope that his relationship with the work will be rekindled once all 20,000 sections of A Smell Of Sulphur In The Wind have been cut out and sold off.


Bill Drummond was born in 1953. Since leaving Liverpool College of Art in 1973 he has used various means to investigate and converse with the cultural landscape. These investigations and conversations have found expression via the written word, pop music and actions.

His written words include the following books: The Manual (1989), Bad Wisdom (1996), 45 (2000) and How To Be An Artist (2002).

The pop music (1977´1992) consisted of various projects, from Big In Japan to The KLF and The JAMMS, the details of which have now passed into the twilight world of pub pop-quiz questions and car boot sale bargain-box oddities.

The actions have been the one constant in his practice. There have been hundreds of them over the years, nearly all carried out anonymously and unrecorded. . Recently Drummond’s activities have included the production of a pack of cards titled Silent Protest, the foundation of the Intercontinental Twinning Association and The Soup Line and setting up the websites and

Since 1998 all Drummond’s work has been framed within the context of the Penkiln Burn. For a better understanding of this, please visit


this is the last in the current series of performance lectures, but watch out for series 2 later this year

available now from amino to accompany the performance lectures series

amino essays: twenty short performance papers

by fiona wright

64pp hardback ! £6.00 /£3.00 at performance lectures

available by mail order from amino:

Area: not in wales