“I tell you how much money to spend, and you spend it,” said Sara Friedlander standing on a podium in a gold-sequin skirt and a jean shirt tied at her waist. “It’s like I tell my husband.” Ms. Friedlander, a post-war and contemporary art specialist at Christie’s, was moonlighting last night as an auctioneer at Performa’s first benefit auction.
The benefit for Performa, which organizes a performance art biennial in New York, was held at the Flag Art Foundation’s Chelsea gallery, which was filled with sun for almost the entire evening as guests sampled porcini mushroom pastry puffs and endive spears filled with crab salad while surveying the works at auction by artists like Mike Kelley, Laurie Simmons, Christian Marclay and Shirin Neshat, among many others. A black crown fashioned from black leather and rhinestone studded stars, by Rashaad Newsome, sparkled in the sunlight streaming in from the balcony. A dancer with the Trisha Brown Company said he had bid on the Marclay piece, a torn corner of a page from a comic book.
Last week, artist Clifford Owens told The Observer in an interview that he planned to force a sex act on an audience member for his final performance at MoMA PS1. The performance, based on a score written by artist Kara Walker, called for French kissing an audience member and demanding sex. He had performed it several times during his 10-month residency at the museum, and planned to take the performance further and to break out of a comfort zone he had settled into. In response to the news of Mr. Owens’s plans, which we shared in search of comment, Ms. Walker responded via email that she wasn’t aware of his plans for his final performance and stated, “If he goes through with it he leaves no room for imagination or freedom of choice.” The next day, when she withdrew her involvement from Mr. Owens’s performance, demanding, via email, that he “cease and desist” from using her score, The Observer found itself an unwitting participant in the evolution of that last performance.
Armory Week 2012
This week, Gallerist had all kinds of fun. Beginning at the piers for the Armory, we continued on to the Independent in Chelsea and then the Dependent Art Fair at the Comfort Inn on Ludlow Street, where hordes of people crammed into tiny hotel rooms to catch sight of all the ways emerging galleries made Read More
The artist Kara Walker had a surprise cameo today in Clifford Owens’s last performance in his exhibition “Anthology” at MoMA PS1. It was a resolution, it seemed, of what began unfolding last week when Mr. Owens made known to Gallerist in an interview his intention to force a sex act on an audience member during his last performance in accordance with a set of instructions Ms. Walker had given to him to enact. Yet, while Ms. Walker had supplied the instructions, or a “score” as Mr. Owens calls them (as did 27 other artists) she had no idea, we learned from her in an email, that he planned to take her instructions so literally for this performance, instructions which read, in part, “Force them against a wall and demand Sex.” As a result, she called off her involvement with the performance. Thus, when the door opened today and Ms. Walker appeared and walked slowly toward Mr. Owens, the performance, we knew, had taken a turn no one could have expected.
The artist Kara Walker has withdrawn a piece scheduled to be performed by the artist Clifford Owens as part of his “Anthology” series at MoMA PS1 this Sunday.
The exhibition includes a series of performances in which Mr. Owens interprets instructions, or what he calls a “score,” given to him by many other artists, including Ms. Walker, whose piece includes a demand for sex and mention of a “forced sex act.”
Since November, when his solo exhibition opened at MoMA PS1, the artist Clifford Owens has intimately kissed and groped strangers, fondled vegetables, and handled chickens in a suggestive way. At least two people have walked out of his performances, which are enactments of instructions—he calls them “scores”—written by other artists, like Kara Walker and Glenn Ligon. This Sunday, for his last performance at the museum, he will go above and beyond what he’s done so far, at least where Ms. Walker’s score is concerned.
Armory Week 2012
“Somebody just bought that video,” artist Clifford Owens told Gallerist this afternoon and laughed. “It was the weirdest thing. A guy and his wife.” We looked over at the video screen on which he is shown in close-up filling his mouth with food and making faces. “Why would you want to live with this? It’s kind of gross. Apparently,” he said as if to explain this surprising interest, “they’re board members at MoMA, so they’ve seen the show, and seen the work.”
WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 8
Tour: ArtWalk Chelsea: David Zwirner, Gagosian and Gladstone
The American Federation for the Arts takes visitors on a tour of three exhibitions of three very different artists in Chelsea–Doug Wheeler, Damien Hirst and Shirin Neshat. –Michael H. Miller
Meet at David Zwirner, 519 West 19th Street, New York, 4–6 p.m., $25 for AFA members, $35 for non-members.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 9
Opening: “Happenings” at the Pace Gallery
Over 300 photographs document performance pieces from the movement, featuring work by Jim Dine, Simone Forti, Red Grooms, Allan Kaprow, Claes Oldenburg, Lucas Samaras, Carolee Schneemann, and Robert Whitman. Sounds like a stellar tribute to a too-short movement, and you never know, someone may stage a be-in right at the opening. –Dan Duray
The Pace Gallery, 534 West 25th Street, New York, 6-8 p.m.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 10
Opening: David Lamelas at Maccarone
Argentinian conceptual maestro David Lamelas–whose spotlight-in-a-dark-room piece you may have seen in Peter Eleey’s “Talent Show” exhibition at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and MoMA P.S.1–”will exhibit a site-specific installation based on his drawings made during the 1960s,” when he was in his Read More