I was invited by my good friends Cara Megan Lewis and Alejandro Figueredo Díaz-Perera to participate in Cantos Comunes, a day of Fluxus and Fluxus-inspired happenings at the Blockhouse in Havana, Cuba during the 13th Havana Biennial.
The day included performances of known Fluxus scores, including June Nam Paik’s One Violin Solo (performed by Yasmany Guerrero), Alison Knowles’ An Homage to Every Red Thing, and a number of new Fluxus-inspired scores, including works by the performance collaborative Research for the Bermuda Triangle (Regina Mamou and Lara Salmon), two works by Balas and Wax (Susy Bielak and Fred Schmalz), solo works by Alejandro Figueredo Díaz-Perera, Benjamin Del Castillo, Carmina Escobar, and Alberto Aguilar, and my day-long performance, Franz Kafka’s 15-Minute Workout.
Just weeks before I was invited to participate, I’d read about how Kafka had been an adherent to an early 20th-century fitness craze, “My System,” developed by Danish athlete, JP Muller, that consisted of daily calisthenics, a method for proper bathing, and a series of post-bathing skin-rubbing exercises.
Through conversation with Alejandro and Cara, we decided it would be interesting if rather than simply performing Kafka’s 15-minute calisthenic workout, I “performed” my normal day in the house, with adding in my attempt to learn Kafka’s workout, as if I were in my home. I spent the day in the Blockhouse while the other events were happening, doing what I normally do: eating breakfast, washing dishes, meditating, working on art, doing some exercise (in this case, following the instructions in Muller’s book, just as Kafka would have done), and bathing. I stayed present to what was happening around me in the house, but did not engage with it. It was as if I were at a silent meditation retreat — not ignoring anyone around me, but simply being silent. It was as if the house were mine and it was any day of the week. The art that I made was to embroider “Motion is life” and “Save your progress!” on the ends of a red bath towel, a towel that I used throughout the day for the workout and for drying myself after the bath. Muller stresses in his book that “Motion is life,” and it felt appropriate to write that on the towel with silk embroidery thread. After I finished the day, I went into the courtyard of the house and placed the embroidered towel in one of the squares of Knowles’ An Homage to Every Red Thing to complete the piece.
Thesaurus for Ceasing War, three embroidered silk panels with a 12-part poem completed in 2009, is being exhibited in Staged Meaning/Meaning Staged: Landscapes from the the USC Fisher Museum of Art’s permanent collection through mid-April, 2019. Other artists in the exhibition include Jan Brueghel the Elder, Mary Weatherford, and Carlos Almaraz. From the press release:
“To celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Elizabeth Holmes Fisher Gallery at the University of Southern California, Fisher Museum of Art is pleased to present Staged Meaning/Meaning Staged. This exhibition features selections of Old Master and Contemporary landscapes from Fisher’s permanent collection. Through the prism of landscapes, these artworks collectively examine visual and ideological shifts in pictorial meaning.
“Each artwork embodies the aesthetic and pedagogic trends of its original historical context. As an aggregate, the works reflect changing approaches to representing and interpreting art and societal values. Staged Meaning surveys how the Old Master artists in Fisher’s permanent collection utilized landscape imagery to stage meaning prescribed by religion, history, allegory, and nationalist or expansionist ideology. The second part of the exhibition, Meaning Staged, adopts the concept of using landscapes as a vehicle for deriving individualized meaning, removed from the requirements of these historical contexts. Contemporary artists have initiated a shift by endowing the viewer with greater interpretive agency. That is, giving the viewer an opportunity to collaborate with the artist and partake in meaning-making, unburdened by conventions of the past.”
Join me for a Master Class (artist talk and interactive performance/workshop) at the Brentwood Art Center, 13031 Montana Ave., Los Angeles, January 23 from 6-8PM. I first staged this installation and collaborative artwork at Mana Contemporary Chicago in 2016. Read more about the Mending Wall Project here.
Incredibly honored to have “Warm Bones (For Agnes Martin)” included in UNTITLED (House), an exhibition of the Diane and Browne Goodwin Family Art Collection at the Illinois State Museum, Lockport Gallery. The quilt is a damaged and discarded worker’s quilt that I’ve inadequately repaired with gold straight stitches. The gold thread is old-new stock from Japan and was once used to make the shimmery gold elements in kimono and obi. It is incredibly delicate and breaks easily, as it’s made of paper with gold leaf pressed on it. The exhibition includes work by wonderful artists and friends, including Joanne Aono, Robert Burnier, and Sherri Denault, and is curated by Lauren Ball, Erik Wenzel, Gwen Zabicki, and Robin Dluzen. Opening reception is October 28, 2-5PM.
Honored to have a studio residency at Santa Monica’s Camera Obscura Art Lab, April 25-August 1. I’ll be leading image/text collage workshops nearly every week during the residency and will have the studio open to visitors on the days I’m working there. Here’s a nice little q+a the director of the program posted recently:
My work is included in Altered, a four-artist show at Prairie State College’s Christopher Art Gallery curated by Beth Shadur, featuring work by myself and Katsy Johnson, Javier Chavira, and Rose Camastro-Pritchett. I’m showing Last Fisherman and Dark Waters, two image/text pieces from the Dream of Water project and series. If you attend the show, let me know what you think!
I’m honored to have two poems from my Ruins of Modernity series published in The Magazine Santa Fe. These poems were extracted from an essay by Dr. Shannon Lee Dawdy, “Clockpunk Anthropology and the Ruins of Modernity,” about the aftermath of Katrina in New Orleans. Shannon is an archaeologist, filmmaker, theorist, and exceptional thinker, who I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know after meeting her in Oaxaca. Many thanks to editor Gabe Gomez for including my work.
Joanne Aono and I will be exhibiting work in our two-artist show, “Attention Is the Beginning of Devotion,” at The Victorian House Art Gallery, a unique venue run by curator and artist Sherri Denault. Please join us!
April 8 – May 4, 2017
The Victorian House Art Gallery
Olivet Nazarene University
577 S Main Street
Betty Cleeland and I are opening our studio on Saturday, June 18, for Mana Contemporary’s Summer Open Studios. Join us to see our newest work and some of our older work (for sale!) and visit the other studios and happenings around the building. It will be a great night of exceptional art!
Mana Contemporary Chicago Open House, 6th Floor
2233 South Throop (at Cermak)
Saturday, June 18, 7-10 PM
Other opportunities to see my work this summer:
ROCKFORD ART MUSEUM
My embellished mourning quilt, The Relatively Brief Preponderance of Moments, is currently on view at the Rockford Art Museum’s Midwestern Biennial, curated by Sarah Krepp, through September 25, 2016. Read more here.
HYDE PARK ART CENTER
Artist and curator Connie Noyes included my piece, Drunken Forest: View from the Chromosphere, in Taking Shapes, a group exhibition at the Hyde Park Art Center. On view until August 16.
Joanne Aono and I are collaborating on an interactive performance/installation at Perry Farm in Bourbonnais, Illinois. Curated by artist Sherri Denault, we will be presenting installations with Denault, Margie Sula, and Patty McWilliams during the park’s annual Nightscape extravaganza August 26. The installations/interactive works will be on view through October 7, 2016. More info to come on my website and on Facebook.
Hope to see you soon!
I’m honored to be in a group show curated by Sarah Krepp at the Evanston Art Center, DIALOGUE 12. I’ve known Sarah since undergrad at U of Illinois, where she was one of my painting professors and my mentors. When I moved back to Chicago in 2010, I joined her monthly Dialogue critique group where I met some amazing artists and colleagues, including Robert Burnier, Karen Azarnia, Mara Baker, Melody Saraniti, Gregory Scott, and Chris Smith. When Sarah invited me to show with these artists, I jumped at the chance. The show is on view until April 17, 2016. I’m showing two quilts and a number of scratched photograph drawings from my Damaged Goods/Small Repairs series. Here’s an installation view: