Peachy the Magazine December 2013 - Page 83

ART + ARCHITECTURE had a pulse and was taken to the morgue, the New York economy was in the tank, and the go-go art sales of the ‘60s were a distant phenomenon. Artists fascinated with linguistics, dance, music, theater, social work, commercial media and visual art rented cheap storefront, industrial and loft spaces in SoHo. They experimented with every conceivable art form (except painting). The art market was at rock bottom, so artists had little to lose. This eclectic group created layered performances addressing, both directly and obliquely, the politics of the day, the commercial and media landscape, and, of course, commentary on “high” art. Jay Sanders, the curator of the Whitney show, included notable performance artists such as Vito Acconci, Laurie Anderson, Mike Kelley and John Zorn, but he also brought on the artist Ralston Farina who has faded from memory due, in part, to the fact that he refused to allow his work to be photographed. Farina stated that his medium was time and thus his work was temporal and evanescent by its very nature—thereby defying documentation. Admittedly, a lot of the art in this show looks as if it were culled from a garage sale or someone’s basement. Even so, the impact of much of the work has real visceral punch. It somehow leaves you wanting more. If you “get” this show and find it intriguing, find a way to make it to (1) the Mike Kelley retrospective at MoMA’s P.S.1; (2) Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art at the Studio Museum in Harlem; (3) “Chris Burden: Extreme Measures” at the New Museum (the 5th floor of which has videos of many of Burden’s excruciating performances, including “Shoot” from 1971 where Burden purposefully took a bullet in his shoulder from a .22 rifle. Insane, yes, but somehow the piece fits the dystopian era in which it was produced—reflecting the nation’s angst over Vietnam and echoing the plaintive futility of the 1968 assassinations); and (4) Isaac Julien: Ten Thousand Waves, the immersive film installation presently on view in the 2nd floor atrium at MoMA. If you simply cannot get enough performance art, make plans to attend the New York performance biennial Performa 15 in the fall 2015. Performa 13 just wound down from its monthlong run in November. Lunch at Swifty’s or Sette Mezzo (cash only) or tea at the Carlyle may be in order now to keep up your art-gazing stamina. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2013 83