Performancy Forum: Civic Reflex / Reflejo Civico
by Luke Mannarino
Over the course of six evenings from April to November of 2018, Panoply Performance Laboratory will be programming artist’s who will be “sustaining and framing ‘civic’, ‘civil’, and ‘reflexive’ performance practices and performance theories.”
The first two installments of Civic Reflex / Reflejo Civico took place in April and May of this year. Some necessary time has passed since the two evenings have happened, and taking the time now to reflect upon them has been an important part of the process. I will be covering each of the performance evenings not only to generate written documentations of each performance but with the intention of placing them all into context with each other.
Awilda Rodriguez Lora is a performance choreographer and cultural entrepreneur. Born in Mexico, raised in Puerto Rico, and working in-between North and South America and the Caribbean, Rodríguez Lora's performances traverse multiple geographic histories and realities promoting progressive dialogues regarding hemispheric colonial legacies, and the unstable categories of race, gender, class, and sexuality. Rodríguez Lora has been an invited guest artist at the Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance (BAAD), Brooklyn Museum, New York University, the Art Institute of Chicago, Columbia College Dance Center, University of Michigan and Universidad de Puerto Rico, among others.
Rodríguez Lora’s work was recently included in “Comfort Level,” a show at Field Projects Gallery, on view May 3-June 9th, and in “Tool Box” a limited artist’s edition and fundraiser for Agite-Arte, both co-curated by Alissa D. Polan and me, Sarah G. Sharp, and performances at La Mama Theater and the Brooklyn Academy of Music among others. We asked Awilda to create a performance for the “Comfort Level” closing party, La Mujer Maravilla: 4654, which was incredibly moving. I sat down to discuss creating that performance and her creative influences just two days before she performed La Mujer Maravilla: Cuerpa at The Brooklyn Museum, which was part of the Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960-1985 exhibit.
Our community continues to grow with the addition of Luke Mannarino to our correspondence team. Luke is a Brooklyn-based performance artist, writer and facilitator with a curiosity for the human/technology relationship and passion for LGBTQ activism. We discussed the local performance community and subtlety of performance writing in our interview conversation here. Please help me welcome Luke to our global community! I hope you enjoy learning about Luke's live art perspective. - Quinn
Let's Talk about Art in Odd Places - Interview with Founder, Ed Woodham and AIOP2018 Curator, Katya Grokhovsky
Each fall, the streets of New York City (more specifically 14th Street) are injected with a higher and more concentrated dose of public installation and performance art via Ed Woodham's grass-root initiative, Art In Odd Places. Curated by performance artist and curator, Katya Grokhovsky, this year's festival and corresponding exhibition exclusively features female identifying artists. After reviewing the largest number of applications ever received in the organization's 14-year history, Ed and Katya spoke with us about AiOP's exciting history, the necessity for reclaiming public space and the decision to focus on the (female) BODY. It is a great honor to share our discussion with you here and stay tuned for the incredible list of participating artists for AIOP 2018 BODY. - Quinn
Last December, artist and writer, Alexandra Hammond asked the visitors of Performance Is Alive at Satellite Art Show, "What Keeps You Up at Night?" It was a pleasure to witness the piece in it's full 3-hour duration. Unfortunately, I did not have an opportunity to participate in the conversation because there was never an empty spot at the "campfire!" I came up with a cascade of responses as I simultaneously eavesdropped and welcomed our guests. What keeps me up... planning art fairs, worrying about artists traveling internationally, posting on PIA... I'm sure you can create a laundry list of your own and I hope you do in comments! Luckily, the dutiful ethnographer transcribed her conversations of which I am pleased to share with you here for our latest Artist Feature. - Quinn Dukes
We are always happy to share performance opportunities, especially for events in beautiful locations! For the past 11 years, Marcy B. Freedman has curated performance on the Saunders' Farm, a 140- acre historic, working farm on Old Albany Post Road in Garrison, NY. Performance art proposals are due June 1, 2018. Full details below.
For the 12th year in a row, Collaborative Concepts has been invited by Sandy Saunders to create a temporary exhibition of outdoor sculpture and installation art on his 140- acre historic, working farm on Old Albany Post Road in Garrison, NY. For the ninth year in a row, a program of performance art will be curated by artist and art historian Marcy B. Freedman.
Last December #AliveAtSatellite artist, Ayana Evans, presented "Slick and Gritty" - a video screening and panel discussion organized to benefit Geraldo Mercado's family members who fell victim to the disastrous path of Hurricane Maria. The family farm was destroyed and US aid was minimal in their rural area of Sierra Alta. Geraldo's grandparents, Ruder and Brunilda Caraballo, as well as his great-aunts Rosa Sanchez and Catalina Sanchez, struggled to replace the roof on their homes.
The initial fundraising goal for Slick and Gritty was successfully surpassed per the tireless promotion and advocacy of Evans. The family has been busy with repairs and I thought it would be a perfect time to re-connect with Ayana and Geraldo for updates and event reflections. There is still much work to be done in Puerto Rico, please consider donating to the Viajero Hurricane Relief Fund.
Talking hotels, coyotes morphing into seductive, queer bearded men, grandmothers drifting away on glaciers: just a few of the surreal scenes from HOLIDAYS IN / COYOTE, a play directed by Jess Chayes and written by Adam R. Burnett in collaboration with the cast and crew. The play was presented by The Tank as part of this year’s Exponential Festival - an extensive, annual nonprofit presenting performance throughout Brooklyn and Manhattan during the month of January. I ventured out to the city on a blistering cold evening to see the production during it’s week-long run (Jan 14th - 20th).
Last December, a plastic covered and patriotic "Diane The American Swimmer" portrayed by NYC based performance artist, Diane Dwyer, set the out to Miami Beach with a very specific message about climate change. Learn more about this great "American Swimmer" in our latest artist feature! - Quinn Dukes
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
FROM DUST TO DUST: CLOSING THOUGHTS ON THE CONTEMPORARY PERFORMANCE ART EXHIBITION, REMAINS
FERGUS McCAFFREY GALLERY, NYC
By Ian Deleón
THE LONELINESS OF THE LONG-TROUBLED ARTIST
Going back as far as the Renaissance, when artists sought to differentiate themselves from the trade of craftspeople, an idea has persisted that the true artist is an outsider to the world––isolated and divinely inspired. Early on, artists were thought to be unified under the astrological influence of the planet Saturn, which explained their supposed melancholia and detachment. In their study Born Under Saturn: The Character and Conduct of Artists, Margot and Rudolf Wittkower dissect these persisting assertions and stretch an eclipsing hand of doubt over them while reaffirming their deep, symbolic significance, “Alienation, in effect, was a rung by which artists sought to climb the social ladder.”
And just how far up that social ladder have artists been able to climb?
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.