Archive for re-performance

Karen Finley, Catch 23 Broken Negative, Carpenter Performing Arts Center, Long Beach, September 28, 2012

Posted in reviews and commentary with tags , , , , on October 2, 2012 by Carol Cheh

Karen Finley, We Keep Our Victims Ready, 1989

This is going to be short because there is no way I can do this justice. I don’t have the time right now to properly meditate on the arc of Karen Finley’s career, which is what this review would require, and due to a very long day, I even fell asleep for part of this riveting performance. It wasn’t at all due to Finley, who struck an amazingly perfect balance between visceral access and commanding poise—the mark of a mature and accomplished artist at the top of her game.

The occasion was the final, culminating event of The B-Word Project, a yearlong symposium on censorship organized by the Carpenter Performing Arts Center at California State University, Long Beach. Incredibly, the organizers had secured all of the original NEA 4 artists (Finley, John Fleck, Holly Hughes, and Tim Miller) for a panel discussion and newly commissioned performances. Finley’s was the last performance and probably the most powerful (I did not see Hughes or Miller’s performances).

What she did could essentially be described as a performative slide lecture with live musical accompaniment in which she reflected at length on We Keep Our Victims Ready, the notorious work that got her into hot water with conservative politicians and helped to launch the culture wars of the 1990s. Finley began with the iconic image of the chocolate-smeared woman, and talked about how it was a response to Tawana Brawley and the wreaking of violence upon the female body. She extended this theme to other instances throughout recent history where violence has been visited upon racially marked bodies, lingering notably on a Japanese photographer who documented Chicago’s St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.

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Pacific Standard Time Performance and Public Art Festival Launches Tonight!

Posted in noteworthy, upcoming events with tags , , , on January 19, 2012 by Carol Cheh

Niki de Saint Phalle

The art world has gotten off to an uncharacteristically early and eager start this year. I’ve barely had time to catch my breath since getting off the plane from my vacation—and that was on New Year’s Eve.

As I write this, we’re only a couple of hours away from the official launch of the Pacific Standard Time Performance and Public Art Festival. Like all things PST, the festival, which runs through January 29 (with a few events continuing past that date), seeks to overwhelm. During a preview event at SoHo House last month, organizers Glenn Phillips and Lauri Firstenberg even said that they purposely overloaded the program so that people would have to choose between amazing events that conflict with each other. Evil, I tell you! Luckily the hardworking folks at ForYourArt have thoughtfully organized a team of correspondents, including yours truly, to report on the festival as it happens. This will include blog posts, reviews, live tweets, and so on.

I’ve already done a practice run of live tweeting to make sure I can actually use my new smartphone (yes I know, I was really late to that table). Check out my coverage of Tuesday night’s Kim Jones / Barbara Smith talk at LAXART, complete with photos, on my Twitter page. Last night I even downloaded Twitvid so that I can post videos of some events as they happen, woo!

There are a lot of great events coming up, but probably the one I’m most excited about is Tirs: Reloaded, a recreation of Niki de Saint Phalle’s shooting paintings organized by Yael Lipschutz. In 1962, Virginia Dwan invited de Saint Phalle to Los Angeles to create the first Tirs series outside of Europe. Enacted in Malibu and the Sunset Strip, the LA Tirs performances, which involved many artists and even Jane Fonda, were popular and emphasized the social and communal aspects of the piece.

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