Jul 122014

Bill Drummond. Photograph by David Rose

From British art provocateur Bill Drummond, we have the Ten (actually Eleven) Commandments of Art, forged during his “forty years in the wilderness,” as compared to Moses’ forty days and nights on Mt. Sinai. Drummond says, “Not that I can remember climbing a mountain and coming down with two tablets of stone. Mind you, I do recall a golden calf that had to be smashed, or slaughtered, or something. Or was it a dead sheep?”

Read Drummond’s Commandments, including “Don’t make punk rock,” “Let your lone ranger ride,” and “Burn the bridge” at The Guardian.

Along with writing and painting, Drummond founded a chart-topping band in the 1980s called the KLF, then publicly destroyed the band’s entire cash profit (one million pounds) in a bonfire. After declaring “recorded music has run its course,” he created a choir called The17, then deleted all its recordings. He is currently on a twelve-year world tour until 2025, or until “the Reaper sinks [his] raft.” Drummond will visit a different city each year, where he will display his “25 Paintings” and perform “direct actions,” like making beds (constructing them from wood), sweeping streets, and baking cakes.


The 25 Paintings—works on canvas, also advertisements for Drummond’s direct actions. Photograph by thecornpoppy.

A head painting, Black, White & Black. Photograph by The Guardian.

Before leaving Birmingham, England, where he has begun his tour, Drummond will chisel his Commandments into two tablets of stone. After watching the K Foundation burning one million pounds (that’s cash money), I think he might just as well take a sledgehammer to them and start over.



—Martha Petersen

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