Steven Cohen

Steven Cohen was forced into two years of compulsory military service in South Africa at 23.
After six months in a military mental asylum, and while still in the army, Steven Cohen studied photographic silkscreen at Ruth Prowse School of Art in Cape Town. He has held five solo exhibitions and contributed to numerous group shows and has work in many major South African collections. Ten years later, after a long bout with glandular fever, he switched focus from applied art to performance art in the form of uninvited (and unexpected) interventions in public. Through states of dress or undress, social conventions are questioned. A video record of the interaction with the public exists as a digital artwork after the performance art is complete. In 1998 Steven Cohen's controversial work Living Art won the national FNB VITA Art Prize, he was voted cultural figure of the year (The Star), best-dressed artist (Mail and Guardian) and worst-dressed woman (Sunday Times). Steven Cohen works in collaboration with his life-partner, choreographer and dancer Elu.

Artist Code: 608


Maid in South Africa

2005, 12:00 minutes, colour, English


2001, 16:37 minutes, colour, English


1999, 37:00 minutes, colour, English

Living Art

1998, 24:00 minutes, colour, English

Critical Writing

Rightfully Yours
by Jon Davies. C Magazine, Spring 2008, no. 98.
Video Ground Zero
by Lisa Steele. Toronto: Vtape, 2002.
Bare-assed kugel takes township by design: Being near naked in...
by Caroline Hooper-Box. Sunday Independent, 2001.