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Emile Nolde is a Rat by Bob & Roberta SmithThis image is one of the set of five works by Bob & Roberta Smith.  They are witty slogans which ridicule various figures from the art world.  As well as Emile Nolde is a Rat we have Oskar Kokoschka is Stupid, Watteau is a Shyster, Paul Klee Reeks and Martin Kippenberger Smells. 

Bob & Roberta Smith is the pseudonym of artist Patrick Brill.  Brill was born in London in 1964, and studied Fine Art at the University of Reading before going on to do an MA in Fine Art at Goldsmiths College, London.  Brill’s use of a different identity is an important part of his practice, as it allows the assumption of this persona by any person who wishes to participate in his exhibitions.  This audience participation is integral to his art.  He often invites people to produce their own art, slogans, images or text, using equipment in the gallery space, and to add it to the exhibition.  The exhibition consequently develops and grows throughout its duration.  Brill aims to alter people’s perceptions of art and the art world, his philosophy being that art belongs to everybody and not just a select few.  As well as encouraging participation in making art, in a previous exhibition, in New York, he also discouraged artists.  Artists were asked to bring examples of their own art to discard in a large skip at the front of the gallery.  The artists could then sign a certificate promising to make no further art and received a badge in return saying ‘I am no longer an artist’.