KING FOR A DAY
Published on the occasion of the exhibition:
King for a Day
11 March 1972
When Bruce McLean was offered a solo exhibition at the Tate, London in 1972, McLean's response was – in his typical fashion – a parodical, self-aggrandizing artist's retrospective that lasted just one day: 11 March. He was 27. 'King for a Day' took the form of a catalogue detailing the titles of 1,000 proposed works. For the Tate, McLean presented the work in black booklets sealed with a label saying: ‘Another Major Breakthrough Piece Note Casual Tat’. Laid across the gallery’s floor, each catalogue contained the titles of works ranging from proposals for sculptures and performances – 'Little classical head piece' and 'Travel piece, lasting ten minutes, stretching 2 miles piece' – to confounding examples of concrete poetry parading as plans for physical artworks – '. . . ___ . . . piece'.