Last month I witnessed an evening of performance at Panoply Performance Lab in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Performancy Forum featured local artists: Huisi He, David Ian Griess, Sara Debevec, Jon Konkol and Emily Oliveira. Debevec embodied an anthropomorphized insect self. Griess looped home video in dedication to his grandmother. Konkol threw up condiments while yelling in German at his latex-blob children. He tiptoed barefoot thru active mousetraps while reciting self-affirmations on “making it“ in NYC. Lastly, Oliveira presented a complex, 3-part performance exploring female archetypes within Catholic doctrine.
Following Emily Oliveira’s performance, I spoke with fellow audience member and feminist artist powerhouse, Katya Grokhovsky about Oliveira’s piece. We mutually agreed on its success. The following day, a VERY heated online Facebook discussion began between several audience members about Oliveira’s work. Albeit somewhat difficult for me to negate individual names here - I have decided that since the online post/conversation was initiated with some anonymity (and has thus since been deleted) – I will keep individual names out of this post. But I will say, that the dissatisfaction and frustration toward Oliveira’s work stemmed mostly from male audience members. Several prominent performance art leaders within the Brooklyn community were polarized on the work. I thought to myself, WHOA! – I can’t believe I am reading such drastically different critiques on a work that I deemed so successful! Oliveira’s performance hit several nerves. So much so that a divide grew between Brooklyn’s intimate performance art community. Which, in my mind, really means something. Yes, critical dialog in performance art is much needed and the only thing missing in this discussion was the perspective of the artist. So... I reached out to Oliveira and offered an opportunity for her to discuss her intentions and respond to the FB critique. Since Performance Is Alive is devoted to sharing the words of the artist - I am delighted to share Emily Oliveira’s voice with you here. - QUINN DUKES
CURATORIAL RECAP: THOMAS ALBRECHT, BUTCH MERIGONI + ALICE VOGLER AT FOUNDATION FIGHTING BLINDNESS BENEFIT
I was given the opportunity (thank you Susie Watkins!) to bring together an incredible group of artists to present performances at Foundation Fighting Blindness' benefit event, Taste for Sight. This unlikely pairing of performance art plus benefit within a winery was all very intriguing to me. In addition to the many wines available, the audience present at this benefit also got a "taste" of sincere, daring and inquisitive performance. For most guests, this was the first time they heard the words "performance art." I am deeply grateful to Thomas Albrecht, Butch Merigoni (plus 9 performers!) and Alice Vogler for braving the non-traditional aspect of the evening and forging forward to present dynamic work. The benefit was a wild success. Please consider donating to the cause at blindness.org. - Quinn Dukes
BUTCH MERIGONI >> All Of It (Part 2)
ALICE VOGLER >> Disappearance