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Best Defense Ever For Robbing A Bank Not Good Enough To Avoid Jail Time

Pour one out for bank robbing performance artists everywhere.
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In the grand tradition of people doing things that end up coming off to others as crazy, professionally-suicidal, or simply "inadvisable," chalking it up to "Just performance art!" has always been a bit of a wild card when it comes to a defense. Some times it works, some times it doesn't! Regardless, it's always worth a shot, whether you're trying to recover from accidentally sending an email about your boss to your boss, going into great detail about what a gigantic prick he is; sucking your company's petty cash account dry over a period of years to feed your Chipotle addiction; elegantly crafting a giant middle finger (using urine) on your firm's front lawn, following a wintry snowfall; or passing along inside information via Post-it notes and then eating said notes.

For the record, it turns out that "performance art!" does not hold up in court after you've robbed a bank.

Mr. Gibbons, a former lecturer in art at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was sentenced on Monday to one year in prison after he pleaded guilty in State Supreme Court in Manhattan to third-degree felony robbery for entering a Capital One Bank in Chinatown this past New Year’s Eve, stealing $1,002 and filming it all on a pocket-size pink and silver video camera. He claimed it was an act of performance art coupled with dire financial straits. Mr. Gibbons, 61, is something of a cult figure in the performance art world: His work, mostly film installations, has appeared four times in the Whitney Biennial and is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Centre Pompidou in Paris. His M.I.T. profile cites his predilection for exploring “the boundaries between fact and fiction.”

Filmmaker Joe Gibbons Gets a Year in Prison for a Robbery He Called Performance Art [NYT]


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