Sunday, February 7, 2010

Day 149: RECON

I am back in my room in providence. Much information gathered. New York is a great place. Advantages observed: exciting and inspiring, family, really cool people, good food, museums, free music shows.

Video technique learned: Making a stop animation video is very difficult and time consuming. Making any animation video is very difficult and time consuming. My brother and sister-in-law are wonderful, and knowledgeable and helpful.

Art Gossip: I read an article in January's New York Times Magazine about this performance artist named Tino Sehgal. He uses people as his medium, with a similar relationship to them that any other artist would have to paint or marble.

This weekend I visited the Guggenheim with my mother, boyfriend and 18 month old niece. Upon entering the lobby, we encountered a couple, lying in the middle of the floor, their bodies slowly and constantly moving between intertwined embraces without ever holding one. They exhibited an economy and power of movement. They were like dancers, graceful and deliberate about each shift of weight and tilting of the body.


I am back in my room in providence. Much information gathered. New York is a great place. Advantages observed: exciting and inspiring, family, really cool people, good food, museums, free music shows.
Video technique learned: Making a stop animation video is very difficult and time consuming. Making any animation video is very difficult and time consuming. My brother and sister-in-law are wonderful, and knowledgeable and helpful.

Art Gossip: I read an article in January's New York Times Magazine about this performance artist named Tino Sehgal. He uses people as his medium, with a similar relationship to them that any other artist would have to paint or marble.

This weekend I visited the Guggenheim with my mother, boyfriend and 18 month old niece. Upon entering the lobby, we encountered a couple, lying in the middle of the floor, their bodies slowly and constantly moving between intertwined embraces without ever holding one. They exhibited an economy and power of movement. They were like dancers, graceful and deliberate about each shift of weight and tilting of the body.

After watching for a while it became clear that their poses were looping, a continuous performance of an intense and intimate ritual. As we were watching another couple came beside them mirroring their actions. After a few seconds the first couple got up, their shift done, they retreated from the scene leaving the stage to the other couple.

Getting to see two different coupes perform "The Kiss" gave me more insight into the nature of using humans as media and how his performance work transforms through the audience and performers.

The second couple somehow felt much less powerful. They lacked intimacy an intensity. The same choreography was an entirely different, and much less powerful. After about 20 minutes watching "The Kiss", we managed to begin our climb of the Guggenheim spiral (not an ideal layout for someone pushing a very heavy stroller).

Before we reached the "first floor" We were greeted by a child. She invited us to participate in a Tino Sehgal work. We said yes. She led us up the spiral asking abuot Progress. She was most interested in a definition. We walked and talked with her for a while before she passed us off to the next person, and so it went all the way up the spiral, with a different series of interactions and conversations relating to progress and community and goals, each "guide" older than the previous.

This second piece, while provoking some interesting conversation, was much less moving. First of all, there were so many groups of people climbing the spiral that the walking pace was awkward, and we were constantly having to maneuver awkwardly around other people and each other (especially with the baby stroller), that it made it difficult to have any sort of conversation at all. On top of that, the whole situation seemed so artificial and contrived, it was hard to really get into the discussion.

As a great believer in the power of performance art, I'm really psyched to see this stuff in an established museum, and I think Sehgal is doing some very very brilliant things, but like any artist, he isn't always successful, and there are many more unforeseen difficulties and obstacles when working in such a precocious medium. The Kiss however, with the proper performers is a mesmerizing and evocative piece.

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