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.
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.
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
#AliveAtSatellite - Performance IS Alive PRESENTS 4 DAYS OF PROGRAMMING AT SATELLITE ART SHOW, MIAMI ART WEEK
We have been hard at work reviewing hundreds of performance proposals from incredible performance artists across the globe for #AliveAtSatellite, Performance Is Alive's non-stop programming at SATELLITE ART SHOW during Miami Art Week 2016. We are incredibly delighted to present these daring projects from an amazing group of artists. Throughout the fair’s duration multi-media performance artists confront a myriad of contemporary issues such as body politics, race, economic inequality, climate change and intimacy in the digital age. Over twenty short form, durational and video based performance works will be presented throughout SATELLITE 2.0. We hope to see you in Miami but if you can't join us on the beach, stay tuned for live stream details! - Quinn Dukes + Alexandra Hammond
SATELLITE ART SHOW // The Parisian Hotel, 1510 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, FL 33139
PRESS PREVIEW: December 1st: 12 – 3 pm
December 1st: 3 pm – 10 pm
December 2nd: 12 pm – 10 pm
December 3rd: 12 pm – 10 pm
December 4th: 12 pm – 6 pm
Confirmed artists include: Agrofemme and Ian DeLeon (NYC), Thomas Albrecht (NY), Trevor Amery (CA), Joseph Bigley (NC), Monica Jahan Bose (DC), Hector Canonge (NYC), Alberto Checa (FL), Dominique Duroseau (NYC), Ayana Evans (NYC), Sean Fader (NYC), Whit Forrester (Chicago), Vanessa Dion Fletcher (Chicago), Philip Fryer (Boston), Elan Jurado (NYC), Olga Kozmanidze (Moscow, RUS), Jenna Maurice (TN/CO), Sergio Mora (FL), Violet Overn and Emma Sulkowicz, Miriam Parker in collaboration with Christina Smiros and Jo Wood-Brown (NYC), Sarah H. Paulson (NY), Miles Pflanz (NYC), Selma Selman (Bosnia/Herzegovina) Alexandra Sullivan (NYC), Marcela Torres and Chase Calloway, J.R. Uretsky (RI)