Mike Bidlo

Michael "Mike" Bidlo (born 20 October 1953) is an American conceptual artist who uses painting, sculpture, drawing, performance and other forms of "social sculpture." He was born in Chicago, Illinois and studied at the University of Illinois (BA,1973), Southern Illinois University Carbondale (MFA,1975), and at Teachers College at Columbia University in New York, (MA,1978).


Mike Bidlo first became known for his participation in the Times Square Show, in 1980. In an act of defiance Bidlo staged an event in his studio at the P.S. One Museum in 1982 called, Jack the Dripper at Peg's Place, both an installation and a performance. He produced 100 replicas of a Brancusi marble in plaster, Mademoiselle Pogany and is shown smashing one in a LIFE Magazine article. After meditating on and executing series of oil paintings by Fernand Léger and Giorgio de Chirico, Bidlo painted a series of paintings titled "Not Pollock" using the same media used by Jackson Pollock. In 1984, he recreated Warhol's Factory, in the top floor of the P.S. One Museum and members of the downtown scene enacted the roles of Warhol characters, Bidlo was himself in the role of Warhol. Bidlo's series of over 70 oil paintings on canvas, Picasso's Women, 1901-71 was exhibited in 1988 at the Leo Castelli Gallery. These and the other oil paintings by Bidlo were made at the same size as the originals but from reproductions in books and magazines, not from original paintings.


Bidlo created additional treatments for the Yves Klein, "Monochromes" and an enactment of the "Monochrome Symphony," Giorgio Morandi still life paintings, a Clifford Still blank canvas, and the Erased DeKooning drawings which were enacted in 2003 and exhibited in 2005. Historian Robert Rosenblum in an article titled "Something out of Nothing out of Something: Mike Bidlo's Erased de Kooning Drawings" described this action: "It was in Maine, on Mount Desert Island, where on August 18, 2003, a small audience, myself included, saw something that left everybody speechless. The occasion was one of the regular after-dinner events organized at what is affectionately called "Camp Kippy," a summer colony, run under the benevolent aegis of Marion Stroud, to which arty people are invited for a working vacation. Part of the program involved asking the visiting artists or curators, poets or musicians to offer samplings of their work. That night it was Mike Bidlo’s turn, and this is what he did. As soundless as a mime, he walked up to the front of the room and showed the group a drawing that appeared to be by de Kooning. Then he took out an eraser and, with minimal fanfare, quietly performed a magic feat. When he was finished, the drawing had disappeared. He then, like a magician, held up this white ghost for us all to see and walked back to his seat."


Bidlo has worked recently with concepts initiated by Piero Manzoni, and on the 4th of November 2015 signed over 100 people as living sculptures, giving signed and stamped certificates based in exacting detail on those used by Manzoni in 1961.