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Photos from the Event: Video Islands

Posted on February 3, 2015


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Video Islands

Photos from the Event: “You Belong Here”

Posted on February 12, 2015


Posted on February 14, 2015

Ebony G. Patterson, Invisible Presence: Bling Memories, 2014, Jamaica. Courtesy of the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery. Photograph: Monique Gilpin and Philip Rhoden.

Priscilla Frank of The Huffington Post recently highlighted the upcoming opening of En Mas’: Carnival and Performance Art of the Caribbean. Titled “Where Caribbean Carnivals And Contemporary Performance Art Meet,” the article discusses the diverse traditions and geographical spread of Carnival across the globe, and gives insight into the impetus behind the exhibition. About the relationship between Carnival and contemporary performance art practices, En Mas’ co-curator dj maxtreme Claire Tancons states:

“In the context of contemporary art and the discourse thereof, it is one of the cultural traditions through which artists of Caribbean descent have found a path toward performance. At a time when the discourse of performance is so prevalent within the contemporary art context, it’s important for me to highlight these genealogies of artistic practices and where they stem from. They were not inspired by the European avant-garde of the last century, which is the discourse usually associated with performance art. Instead they were inspired, at least in part by, some of these cultural traditions which offer an incredible repository of creative practices.”

Tancons goes on to discuss the importance of the ICI tour as a means of connecting oft-conceived disparate notions and expressions of Carnival:

“First of all, it’s not that often that contemporary art travels to the Caribbean. But also, the reason why we attempted the feat of covering various key landmarks in a Carnival season was to be able to show them to all these different populations who may only ever have previously only been able to witness their own cultural event. Now they will be able to appreciate those of the neighboring islands. In one exhibition you have an entire year worth of Carnival.”

To read the full article, visit The Huffington Post website, here.

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Afterall Journal discusses Salon de Fleurus

Posted on February 18, 2015

Salon De Fleurus, installation view, New York, 1992-2013. Courtesy of Salon de Fleurus.

Afterall Journal’s recent article ‘The Doorman’ by Our Literal Speed discusses the Salon de Fleurus project The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, on view at 41 Spring Street, New York from 1992–2013. The article describes in third-person, narrative detail the approach and reaction of “an upper-middle-class, straight white man” to the long-term installation, a near-exact replication of the Paris salon of Gertrude Stein. The curator, who doubles as doorman/guide/docent, subtly forces the visitor to reconsider his notions of the boundaries of art/not art and contemporary narratives of art history.

‘Before I go, please tell me if you agree: I believe that recognising art is now the principal experience of art and you cannot any longer really experience art that you had already earlier recognised as art.’ The Doorman’s face retains an unnerving frown of equanimity. The white man assumes that no response is forthcoming. He goes on, ‘I’m planning to write an essay about your practice. I’m looking at ideas of the body, networks and institutionalisation. I’m looking at your creative activity, your re-imaginings of key moments in the history of art.’ He pauses. The Doorman’s face betrays nothing benign, nor hostile. The white man continues, ‘You haven’t been looked at in depth yet,’ he pauses again, glancing downward, ‘— to my knowledge, at least. I believe your work poses genuinely compelling questions not only about historicisation, but also about the author function and the transmission of knowledge.’ The Doorman looks discouraged. He coughs into his arm and says, ‘The biographical model, historical accuracy, causality? Huh? Some people believe these things are important.’ He utters the last sentence with ironic inflection. The Doorman’s eyebrows flicker upward. He says, ‘But what you just saw is not art. It is about art.

To read the full article, visit Afterall‘s website, here.

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Martha Wilson Profiled in Artforum and Interview Magazine

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Karen Finley, A Woman’s Life Isn’t Worth Much, installation view at Franklin Furnace, 1990. Image courtesy of Franklin Furnace.

In a recent article in Artforum, Martha Wilson discusses her early artistic practice, the impetus behind the founding of Franklin Furnace, and the upcoming opening of the ICI exhibition Performing Franklin Furnace in New York. In the article, Wilson describes the climate in the 1970’s towards performance art and the early days of Franklin Furnace:

I realized that the major institutions then were not taking seriously the work that was being created downtown. We were doing street works, posters on the curb for the rat population of New York, and inflammatory essays about capitalist pigs who were running the economy.

Performance was way far away from the discussion and that was all we were doing. Everyone was in three bands or doing work with film, so I thought, “We are going to start collecting this material and preserving it and exhibiting it.” The artist’s voice is seldom valued and recognized to the degree that it should be.

To read the full article, visit Artforum‘s website, here.

Additionally, Interview Magazine highlighted Wilson in conversation with fellow artist Anton van Dalen. Wilson and Van Dalen speak together about the New York art scene in the 1980s and how attitudes and relationships in the art world have shifted over the last 30 years.

The work that we were creating at that time was explicitly trying to undermine the commercial gallery museum’s access with ephemeral performance art and posters on the wall and posters for the rat population of New York—stuff that undermined the pillars of values that were established in the art world. That’s what we were doing all that time.

To read the full article, visit Interview’s website, here.

Wilson, whose personal archives were recently donated to New York University’s Fales Library, is the focus of the upcoming three-part exhibition Performing Franklin Furnace. Two concurrent exhibitions will be on view at the Fales Library and Pratt Manhattan Gallery from February 19 – April 30, 2015. The exhibitions will be accompanied by a series of live performances and screenings at Participant Inc. from February 26 to March 1, 2015, with works by Michael Smith, Coco Fusco, and Clifford Owens.

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Nicolás Dumit Estévez Interviewed in Small Axe

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Nicolás Dumit Estévez, C Room, 2014 at Museo Folklórico Don Tomás Morel, Santiago de los Treinta Caballeros, Dominican Republic. Photograph: Raymond Marrero.

Small Axe recently profiled En Mas’ contributing artist Nicolás Dumit Estévez. Estévez, in conversation with Maja Horn, describes his relationship to the Caribbean and its diasporas as well as the impact that his performance C Room, created specifically for En Mas’, has had on his ever-evolving notions of identity.

It has become clear to me that the Caribbean as a mental-spiritual-physical locus is the fiery cauldron out of which everything that I was, am, and will be grows. This witches’ cauldron, radically speaking, is where my cosmology boils like a thick sancocho. I see this soupy mess as a Big Bang always in the making and never reaching a state of completion. At the end of the day, it may well be that caribeñidad encapsulates any possible identities I may dream of undertaking; I never think of myself in traditional diasporic terms, but more as a two-legged island overlapping/interacting with the geographies I encounter along my path.

However, going back to Santiago in 2013 shifted this pattern for me. The reason for returning to the island was to produce C Room, an eight-hour multidimensional experience part of En Mas’: Carnival and Performance Art of the Caribbean, a project curated by Claire Tancons and Krista Thompson. C Room entailed working in the context of the local carnival. At the end of my stay, as my friend Josué Gómez had suggested, I found a piece of my umbilical cord that remained buried in the Dominican soil. There are still many more pieces of it to be excavated. The carnival provided for me the context for an active enactment of family. More than that, the presentation of C Room at the Museo Folklórico Don Tomás Morel shook some of the identitarian foundation that I had been carefully building abroad, brick by brick. Have I gone full circle in regards to dominicanidad?

The interview goes on to discuss Estévez’ performance art oeuvre, his mentorship under legendary performance artist Linda Mary Montano, and his challenge of traditional gender stereotypes in his artistic practice.

To read the full article, visit the Small Axe website, here.

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Photos from the Event: David Brooks and Meredith Johnson