Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sebastian Horsley, 1962-2010. R.I.P.

Performance artist, painter and writer Sebastian Horsley has died of an apparent heroin overdose. He was 47.

His death comes only 48 hours after Dandy in the Underworld, a play adapted from his autobiography of the same name premiered at the Soho Theatre in London to much praise.

Horsley is perhaps best known for subjecting himself to a crucifixion in the Philippines nearly a decade ago.

His notoriety was sufficient to deny him entry into this country back in 2008 on the grounds of moral terpitude when he was promoting Dandy in the Underworld. In retrospect, it seems quite shortsighted. Horsley was a greater threat to himself than to others.

But when I think of Horsley I think of this piece he wrote in The Observer in 2004 about his sexual escapades with prostitutes. I suspect that many people would be put off by the subject matter and his approach to it. But his writing was just too superb. He also did not portray himself as a romantic figure. "Yes, yes, I know. Prostitution is obscene, debasing and disgraceful. The point is, so am I," Horsley concluded.

For a man who by all appearances was pretentious turned out to be anything but.

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