Katya Grokhovsky is a powerhouse-bad-ass-feminist who employs video, collage, painting, sculpture and performance art within her artistic practice. She is brave, daring, unwavering and I am thrilled to present her as our 2018 inaugural FEATURED ARTIST. Grokhovsky was born in Ukraine, raised in Australia and completed her MFA at the School of the Art Institute Chicago. She has an impressive artist residency, fellowship and international exhibition history that she has undoubtedly worked tirelessly to achieve. Katya is also an independent curator who curated, among others, projects such as “CALL OF THE WILD: Pioneers, Rebels and Heroines” at VOX Populi Gallery (Philadelphia, PA) in 2015 and most recently announced her appointment as lead curator for Art in Odd Places NYC edition premiering this fall (October 2018).
Last December, Katya performed "Bad Bad Woman" in conjunction with our programming presented at Satellite Art Show, Miami Art Week 2017. After witnessing the 2-hour durational piece, I felt empowered, exhausted and curious. I am delighted to continue the investigation of Bad Bad Woman with you here. Read, Enjoy and Share! - Quinn Dukes
Performance is alive Presents 4-days of programming during miami art week once again at satellite art show
Performance is Alive brings yet another ambitious, 4-day performance art program to Miami Beach for Satellite Art Show. This year's program features interactive performances, durational works, a panel discussion with slumber party, performance video screenings, lectures and because performance is never entirely predictable, the unknown! PIA artists are encountering the complexity of migration, oppressive patriarchal constructs, trans identity, mental health care, silencing, race relations and many other human rights issues threatened by the Trump administration. So join us for the only non-stop performance art uprising during Miami Art Basel! #AliveAtSatellite #notbasel #performanceisalive
FROM DUST TO DUST: CLOSING THOUGHTS ON THE CONTEMPORARY PERFORMANCE ART EXHIBITION, REMAINS BY IAN DELEÓN
In Politics We Trust: Observing JUST SITUATIONS
Various Locations across Brooklyn, NYC | July 2017
By Polina Riabova
Sitting at Panoply Performance Lab (Brooklyn, NY) on Thursday, July 20th I am sweating buckets. “It’s so HOT in there!” I say to Esther Neff, organizer of JUST SITUATIONS (alongside Kaia Gilje and Leili Huzaibah) as I smoke in-between performances.
“It’s just because there’s so many people,” Esther tells me.
JUST SITUATIONS, a “hybrid-convention, festival and ‘political science fair’” with an intent to create alternative structures and “modes” of being under a capitalist, power-hungry system through performative methods, spanned a total of 10 days (July 13 - 23). For an intensive festival involving more than 60 performers (or ‘situators’), the crowd makes sense.
REMAINS PROVES PERFORMANCE ART STILL HAS A PULSE
Fergus McCaffrey, NYC, July 2017
By Ian Deleón
To use the word remains is to invoke in someone associations with death, decay, and possibly even dismemberment. Generally speaking it refers to the parts left behind, once some significant change in status has taken place. That change is usually framed in terms of a negative, destructive event but of course destruction can be a kind of creation as well. The word’s linguistic ties to remaining mean that it can also convey that which lives on, or that which stays put.
In relation to the art of live performance, talking in terms of remains certainly articulates some of the finer points about post-action detritus and extended duration times, but it’s also important to address the aspect of performance art’s own supposed untimely demise. The notion that one art form or another has died at some point is pervasive in contemporary art historical discourse. Painting has died so many times it has spawned zombie movements. But that kind of makes sense, painting was old. But performance art is fairly new...at least, by some accounts.
When we talk about performance in this article we may concede to the influence of its antecedents: of the theater, of dance, of magic, of cinema, of protest. But performance art cannot be all of those things if we are going to have a productive conversation about it. It has to be its own thing, while often appearing in the guise of those other art forms. Performance wasn’t a flash in the pan either, with its death knell rung by an explosion of consumer culture, information, communication or globalization in the early 90s...NO. Performance Art is NOT dead and this exhibition is the proof––the exhumation, the surprise discovery that the remains are intact...and ALIVE.
JUST SITUATIONS - a hybrid performance conference + festival BEGINS TONIGHT IN BROOKLYN AT PANOPLY PERFORMANCE LAB
Performance art organizer-extraordinaires, Leili Huzaibah, Esther Neff and Kaia Gilje have taken on yet another enormously ambitious series of performance events which promise to "host artists and active citizens who are working in performative ways, moving beyond the trending commercialization of art “about” politics." Under the title of "JUST SITUATIONS," over 50 artists are slated to participate/perform/activate the nebulous web of un/convention. The “political science fair” (as it is also referred to by the organizers) begins this evening, Thursday, July 13th at Panoply Performance Lab, Brooklyn, NYC. JUST SITUATIONS opens their programming with specific invitations. Chloë Bass invites viewers to consider how our lives have changed since the election of the 45th president while J. COATL/KEVIN LENNY invites guests to consider how to "make space for engagement."
All events during JUST SITUATIONS are "pay-what-you can" with a sliding scale recommended donation of $5-$20. You can also support this incredible project and the participating artists on the festival's Generosity page. Full festival details are available here.
Preparing for "Not a Rehearsal"
El Museo De Los Sures, Brooklyn, NYC, April 5, 2017
By Polina Riabova
On Wednesday, April 5th, I attended a movement, text, sound and action-based feminist performance event while going through what I can only refer to as a minor breakdown.
Prior to leaving for Not A Rehearsal (curated by Jean Carla Rodea and Kathie Halfin) at El Museo De Los Sures (NYC) I had written a dramatic Facebook status about the TV show Girls, which somehow resulted in me missing the first performance of the evening by artist Sierra Ortega, “I scream the body electric." I was told by audience members who experienced the piece that Ortega described her problems that day (such as subway delays making her late - hi, yes, me too) then proceeded to record and loop the audio, in between takes of which she shrieked. I entered the space fuming at myself for the unprofessionalism inherent in prioritizing a Facebook status over a paid writing gig. Ironically, in not seeing Ortega’s work I made what I understood of it the essence of my reality. For the next 2 hours or so all my problems were looping inside my head and in-between them, I too, shrieked.
Performance participants sought, Governor’s Island, NY, June 3-4
Participants needed to take part in a participatory weekend public performance project SLOW DANCE by artist Katya Grokhovsky for DREAM BIGGER : NYC Figment Festival on Governor's Island!
Saturday and Sunday 3rd and 4th of June 2017, 3-6pm
DREAM BIGGER: Figment NYC
*Video of previous version of the project for reference below, no dance training needed, just desire to slow dance, connect and talk to people. You can do any part or all of the set time, with breaks as needed.
Murakami Saburo, Passing Through, 1956. Performance views, 2nd Gutai Art Exhibition, Ohara Kaikan, Tokyo, ca. October 11–17, 1956. Photo: Otsuji Seiko Collection, Musashino Art University Museum & Library, Tokyo. © Otsuji Seiko and Murakami Makiko. Courtesy Musashino Art University Museum & Library. Photo: Otsuji Kiyoji.
Summer Performance Art Show at Fergus McCaffrey
By Ian Deleón
“Ruins unexpectedly welcome us with warmth and friendliness; they speak to us through their beautiful cracks and rubble”.1
For six weeks this summer, Fergus McCaffrey gallery in Chelsea, NYC will present a unique program of more than twenty-five live performances by internationally acclaimed and emerging artists Máiréad Delaney, Hee Ran Lee, Daniel Neumann, Clifford Owens, Nigel Rolfe, and Liping Ting.
It is with great pleasure that we jump back into one of the founding components of this site, the Artist Feature! Multi-media artist, Trevor Amery, joined the #AliveAtSatellite programming during Miami Art Week at Satellite Art Show. His performance initiated with the cross-country journey from California (where he is completing his MFA at UC San Diego) to Miami Beach, Florida. In our interview we discuss the importance of community within Amery's practice and he recalls the terrifying capsize experience while performing Baidarka. - Quinn Dukes
You may have noticed a new name for the Performance Is Alive correspondence team when we published "ARTISTS IN HOPE: A SOFT POLITICAL DISSENT" by Polina Riabova. I first met Riabova at one of Fritz Donnelly's infamous performance events at BIZARRE Bushwick. We spoke casually about the Brooklyn performance community as live performers slung chocolate sauce all over themselves, the venue and anyone in their path (you know, normal performance stuff.) Months later we picked up our conversation at Grace Exhibition Space where Riabova expressed an interest in writing about performance. Intrigued by her poetic approach and fresh immersion into performance art, I found Riabova to be an apt addition to the site. In our interview, Riabova explains her relationship to writing, immigration and highlights a few standout performance pieces. - Quinn Dukes
Boxing with Szilard Gaspar
Zorzini Gallery at Volta Art Fair, NYC, March 1, 2017
By Alexandra Hammond
As a steady stream of people breezed through the long corridors of the Volta Art fair at Pier 90, concentration gathered at booth F01, occupied by Zorzini Gallery of Bucharest, Romania. A slender young man, Romanian artist Szilard Gaspar, with the face of a saint from a Spanish Golden Age painting, arrived in the booth, seated himself and began changing his shoes and taping his hands. His preparations were executed with the specificity of a trained athlete.
The intimacy of these actions was heightened by the art fair setting, where everyone’s gaze is trained to the external world of images, objects, opportunities for social networking, sales. The spectacle of the person changing from one activity to another, dressing and undressing, took on the importance that Mr. Rogers so aptly demonstrated in his children's show, where the ritual of the daily change of clothes, from outdoor jacket to cardigan, dress shoes to sneakers became a stabilizing routine and a marker of a boundary from one place and one kind of activity to the next. It was not so much a necessity, that the new activity could not be performed or inhabited without the wardrobe change, as a decision to enter a new mode of operation.
Maybe it's the warmer weather, maybe it's the temporary escapism but we are really looking forward to New York Armory Week. Several art fairs have upped their performance art programming and some, well, we just can't seem to get any information from... thus is art week. So here it is, our top NY Armory Week 2017 performance art picks. Hope to see you around!
The evening begins with Nora Stephens introducing herself and her onstage compatriots (Cecilie Beck, Eli Tamondong and Naomi Elena Ramirez) by read-singing from a sheet. Stephens credits a previous work for bringing the collaborators’ together, earnestly looking up from page to audience. “Welcome to our show,” the performers’ harmonize warmly, arms extended in greeting while colorful, glittery outfits sparkle as they move about. They come together in the center of the room and hold flower-like positions. Silently - slowly - the flowers wilt. Within minutes they are in a heap on the floor and begin to transform and undulate as the human bodies roll backwards into the space.
It was Friday night in the East Village and I decided to give Colby Cannon Welsh’s performance, "Millennials," a shot. I was not previously exposed to Welsh’s work but his flashy email invitation and direct invite caught my attention.
Upon arrival, I was herded into the brown brick lobby of the historic NYC Public Bath Building, now known as Bathhouse Studios. Two women holding iPads asked the crowd who wanted to give their phone numbers as a way to participate in the performance. They entered our anonymous digits into a Google form and later handed us a small piece of paper with instructions to leave our ringers on and place the call on speaker upon answering.
We are back to the business of sharing our top performance event pics with you! Get ready... the artists presenting performances this month are the type of thoughtful and inquisitive artists that we love to support. See you in the live performance realm...
- Quinn Dukes
Performing our Reality / Dreaming our Escape - Notes from Satellite 2.0
Alexandra Hammond for Performance is Alive
It’s just before the opening of Satellite 2.0 and the Parisian hotel in Miami Beach is as ready as it will ever be. Each room has been cleared of furnishings and occupied by a gallery, curatorial project, artist collective or publication. Many have been transformed beyond recognition while others, including our booth for Performance is Alive, revel in the dingy tones of cream and pale-peach paint, making use of the vaguely sordid yet standardized markers of the hotel’s architecture of transience: dated carpeting, wall-mounted televisions and lamps.
We have covered the linty carpet with an uncanny layer of adhesive plastic rug-guard topped with beige drop cloths. Artist, Curator and Performance is Alive founder Quinn Dukes has been performing and managing performance events for years and knows that “performers get messy”. She is keen to support the artists and tend to the realization of their works as much as possible under the constraints of a nonexistent budget and the hotel setting. The only rule: no fire.
After a day and a half of nearly round-the-clock preparation (more for many of the elaborate booths) the Satellite Art fair feels like a possible setting for a Borges story: a world within the world, with its own sense of time and cultural mores.
The lobby is now equipped with a giant cereal bowl, titled F+++ Off, fashioned from a modified Doughboy pool and filled with enlarged Captain Crunch pieces sculpted out of foam. A bubble-bath fountain shaped like a giant milk carton pours down from above. Its creators, Jen Catron and Paul Outlaw don bathing suits and float in doughnut-styled inner tubes from time the fair opens until it closes each day. They take their job seriously, just like the exotic car rental agency that normally shares the lobby of the Parisian and continues its usual business throughout the fair, tending to and lending out a small stable of Lamborghinis and Rolls Royces that are parked out front.
Curator Jesse Firestone (creator of the Soothing Center and an organizer of the fair along with Founder Brian Whiteley) stops into our booth for Performance is Alive. Jessie, Quinn and I joke that if we had to stay at the Parisian forever, we would survive and make our own world. Like the Eagles’ Hotel California, but with more exuberance and less downfall.
The fantasy of the self-sustaining art-pod was particularly poignant in the days immediately following the presidential election. The final dissolution of the myth of American exceptionalism calls for action, and the temporary world-building represented by repurposing a hotel for a few days of art viewing (even as it participates in the commercial crush of Miami art week), can be seen as a utopic gesture, perhaps even an act of love towards a world that has revealed itself as a more troubled place than we had imagined.
Nestled on the second of three floors of this most wacky and artist-powered of the Miami art fairs, Performance is Alive’s room 15 was poised to be occupied by the first of its politically-charged performances. Artists addressed the interconnected subjects of landscape and environmental destruction, race, gender, consumer capitalism, labor, violence and eroticism. In short, the range of issues that arise when the medium is the ever-political, ever-present body.
Earlier this year, I had the great honor of participating in a residency coordinated by the Feminist Art Group and IV Soldiers Gallery in Rosekill, NY. During that residency, I collaborated, cooked, performed, cleaned, chopped fire wood, tended to a fire for 12 hours and shared the most profound moments and memories of my artistic career with members of the Feminist Art Group. Fellow participants, Lorene Bouboushian and Kaia Gilje presented a daring and physically challenging performance across an overgrown field at Rosekill. Contained within giant plastic water containers, Bouboushian and Gilje yelled towards eachother, using sound as the only directional tool. The scale and physical intensity of the piece was so wonderfully bizarre and unlike other performances that I had witnessed ... anywhere!
Bouboushian is presenting a new project this week entitled, extent of explosive lament at The Exponential Festival based in various locations across Brooklyn, NY. I can't wait to experience Bouboushian's latest performance dimensions and invite you to experience this work first hand. Full details below. - Quinn Dukes