Posts Tagged ‘Performance’

Serra Site for End Times Therapy

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

flyer serra site for end times therapy

Friends and Comrades! Thanks for stopping by on Friday, September 13th, 2013, for the long-awaited opening of the Serra Site for End Times Therapy! You joined us between 9 and 10 p.m. in front of the Carnegie Museum of Art as we embraced the moment, expunged our fears, and explored our connections with the cosmos!

—Tom Sarver, Tobias Madison, Flavio Merlo & Daniel Baumann

Lightplay: Experiments in Paracinema at Apartment Talks

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Kosugi piece 4

Apartment Talk #10: Brett Kashmere, Melissa Ragona, Nico Zevallos, and Jonathan Walley

On October 2nd, we hosted an event programmed by INCITE Journal of Experimental Media’s Brett Kashmere for VIA Music and New Media Festival 2012. With collaborators Melissa Ragona and Nico Zevallos of CMU and Jonathan Walley of Denison University, Brett treated us to recreations of two “non-films” of the 1960s: Hollis Frampton’s audio/projection performance A Lecture, first performed at Hunter College in NYC in 1968, and Takehisa Kosugi’s little known performance Film and Film #4 of 1966. The Kosugi piece is referenced in A Lecture, so Frampton saw or knew of the piece, though it has rarely—if ever—been performed since.


Richard’s Bar, Pittsburgh. The Housewarming Performance feat. Yamasuki

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

On Friday February 3, 2012, we met at 9 p.m. to celebrate the opening of Richard’s Bar at 4400 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA. We entered the freezing and badly lighted bar where Swiss artist Tobias Madison taught us the five movements as listed on the backside of the LP Le Monde Fabuleux Des Yamasuki (coll. John Paul MacDuffie Woodburn), an album described by Discdogs as follows: “The 1971 concept album was the brainchild of French pop composers Jean Kluger and Daniel Vangarde, who learnt Japanese before recording began and even enlisted the aid of a renowned black-belt Judo master to introduce the tracks, which were all sung in Japanese by a school choir. The result is theatrical, epic, freaky and exotic pseudo-Japanese pop that absolutely defies categorization.”

The performance that followed defied categorization as well. Due to lack of space, we had to go outside onto the bar’s vast terrace. There, we followed the movements / indications for a five-part performance as printed on the back of the LP Le Monde Fabuleux Des Yamasuki. Written in French, we translated it into English thanks to an Internet translator (which added some unexpected words and sense to the instructions, producing even more “de-categorization”):

the YAMASUKI is a sequence of attitudes and gestures that express the $ ·
of. Ia life. Is changed. position to each sound.

major themes

clasped hands, ((n in prayer, we look forward slowly year
(photo 1), one recovers, we turn to his right
then left 0 (Jand I are Chmura, begin to sing, it starts
not place a sill). ilar to that Ia ~ e samba. (phot ~ 2)

JOY ·:
· and legs spread arms are swinging it right and turn
gauehe emphasizing one of mouvenlent. appears on the legs.
(photo 3)

Rapla arms around the face. (photo 4)

arms perform graceful movements of oriental style.
Preparati9n: legs apart, hands on thighs, jump

Attack: Taking the positions of karate (photo 5) shouting
“C • aa ooh n.

Hara Kiri: you push the cry of the Kwai •
We start with THE SALVATION. JOY. and so on.

Richard’s Bar will open again, we will let you know!

James Lee Byars, 1964 Carnegie International

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

In 2010 one of our registrars, Elizabeth Tufts-Brown, turned up a treasure trove in the museum archives: a box filled with postcards and letters (performable objects?) sent by artist James Lee Byars to former Carnegie director, Gustave von Groschwitz, between 1964 and 1967.  Byars’s even, rounded lettering, usually in pencil or China marker, appears across this remarkable collection on everything from ultra thin Japanese rice paper to purple construction paper and newspaper, even cellophane. One was a large circle (printed only with “A White Paper Will Blow Through the Streets”), several were heart-shaped, some were scrolls. One was an entire 119-foot-long roll of cash register tape on which Byars had painstakingly written out a lengthy invite list complete with mailing addresses. Reading through all of these long-forgotten letters was amazing, and sometimes (as Byars undoubtedly intended) required quite a bit of maneuvering.

Many of the letters, which we exhibited as part of Ordinary Madness in 2010, pertained to three performances that Byars staged at the Museum in conjunction with the 1964 Carnegie International, which von Groschwitz curated. The first two took place on November 6, 1964  (1 x 50 Foot Drawing) and January 13, 1965 (A 1000-Foot Chinese Paper). Both were performed by a Catholic nun named Sister M. Germaine, and involved her carrying a folded paper object to the center of the room, then slowly unfolding and refolding it over the course of an hour. A third happening, The Mile Long White Paper Walk, was performed in the Hall of Sculpture on October 25, 1965, by dancer and choreographer Lucinda Childs. For this work, a riveted, 475-foot-long paper form was manipulated through the course of the performance by Childs, who was dressed in an elaborate white ostrich-feather costume. Alternating between each end of the paper form, Childs moved one riveted section at a time toward the center of the room, creating a pinwheel effect on the floor.

In both cases, a “performable object” of the artist’s design dictates the actions of the performer by virtue of its particular folded form, mechanizing her motions as she unravels an ephemeral drawing in time and space. In full habit or feather costume, she becomes a remote and ethereal icon, moving silently across the white marble floor. The Hall of Sculpture (which was constructed in the early 20th century to simulate the interior of the Parthenon) must have immediately appealed to Byars, with his penchant for purity and perfection, symbolism, and drama. Many artists have taken on the space since that time; most recently, Icelandic artist and musician Ragnar Kjartansson staged a long-duration performance there that Byars would surely have appreciated. In the photo above, Ragnar’s nieces recall the Three Graces, as they sing the refrain, “The weight of the world is love…”