Brenton Moore

The Mannequin Challenge: Our Generation’s Peak Creativity

A new trend has emerged from the U.S. in the mannequin challenge. I feel such artistic bent is historic and places us up there as a generation.


It’s hard to compare the artwork of generations, but without a morsel of hubris I say that we’ve trumped the heralded Renaissance. While the old “masters” applied their experience on canvas, we live our output, shirking the canvas, and thusly making it completely meaningless.

This meaningless/meaningful art movement moves swiftly with each trend dying just as quickly as it crests. Who’s to say whether the Plank or the Harlem Shake or the meme do or do not eclipse Post-Modernism, Impressionism, or Post-Impressionism?

Me, that’s who.

The medium that has tipped us past the artisans named after the amphibian crime fighters is the latest trend from the U.S., the mannequin challenge.

The rules are simple. A collection of people (read: a collection of artists) stand completely still in various poses, because it’s, as Liszt would describe it, dope af.

Also on The Big Smoke

Now, while the generation before ours may criticize this art that we create on the “regs,” at least we used our creative youthful brains to create something that is disposable but lasting. We didn’t lie around in fields trying to wring social change by taking a heroic amount of psychedelics.

How did that social upheaval go, by the way? Do you use it in your everyday lives working behind a desk?

Anyhoo, let us compare the pair, and indeed the brushwork, between the following.



This daring example of shape and line emanates from the middle of the “planking” art movement, 2010-2011. Thumbing its nose at what a bathroom is normally defined as, the artist, through use of subject, has drawn a line above toilet humor. The lack of movement moves us all to push above the accepted normalcy of punchlines gleaned from bowel movements.


Toilet plank – Artist unknown


The Yawn of Adam

The next work, with which we’re all familiar—from mugs to tablecloths to turgid, pedestrian tourist photos we all ignore—depicts the struggle of man when man has to reduce himself to borrowing money from Dad, hence the laconic look on the face of old-mate. Yes, Dad, I need you to cover my rent, because you didn’t raise me better. It’s ostensibly something we visit because it’s on the guide map; we go there, because it’s there, like the Big Merino in Goulburn: we pause to look at it, but only because there’s a Subway nearby.

Anyway, back to the image: the grandest accomplishment one can take from the chapel which contains it is that the floor isn’t covered in paint. Moreover, it seems that the Renaissance used the passé vehicle of nudity (see: jangly bits) for shock value to keep the audience interested.

Not unlike this generation’s most religious of viewing experiences, one may suggest, Game of Thrones.


The Creation of Adam – Michelangelo


Doggin’ It Wit Da Boat Boiz

Below is Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s Pissup with the Boat Boiyz (1882), which depicts the rowdy, boating club end of year bash. What makes this painting unique, and completely passé, is its use of individuality. Every subject is doing something different in the tableau. Your eye wanders as you catch something new …


Luncheon of the Boating Party – Pierre-Auguste Renoir

… be it this woman who brought her dog to the party and has since bored the piss out of everyone by talking to it and is now ignored:


… the hipster behind her, who’s only mate in the club dogged it and has filled his void with too much craft beer and now leans up against the rail for ballast:


… or whatever the hell is going on here, which indeed proves that the woman-disrespecting “fuckboi” is a nineteenth century phenomenon. Why even paint this, Renoir?


Note please: the hand around the hip



Compare that staid, seedy scene with a recent effort from the mannequin school. We cross genre, scene, and indeed theme as we walk alongside the subjects in the paintings above. We are not removed from the action, shut off by the dust of history, or a frame hanging on a foreign wall somewhere—we live it; see below:

Interesting stuff. For those who are interested in further work of this movement, here is a collegiate effort from a Michigan school which, before now, has only been known for the creative movements of the modern car (and towering anti-semitism), ways to dodge a murder beef, and destitution.

Now, they are at the forefront of this sparkling and dull movement.

Take that, Tuscany.



Brenton Moore

Brenton is somewhat a musician, somewhat a writer, and has worked with a number of writers and musicians in Australia and intends to continue doing so. Even if he has to work retail.

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