Andy Kaufman is the only other person besides Elvis Presley to continuously perpetuate a half-serious belief among the public that the rumors of his death have been greatly exaggerated. According to his official web site, Kaufman died at the age of 35 on the evening of May 16, 1984, from a rare form of lung cancer. The fact that his alter-ego, Tony Clifton, a lounge act from hell who is a perfect mix of Robert Goulet at his schlockiest and Vegas-era Elvis at his least lucid, continues to make live appearances hasn’t helped anyone rule out that his death was a hoax. In the ’70s, when Kaufman created the character, it could be hard to tell if it was Kaufman himself playing Tony Clifton, or his frequent collaborator Bob Zmuda, or someone else altogether. A lot of people thought Tony Clifton was just some ass hole washed-up lounge singer. So, Tony Clifton was Tony Clifton, a performance piece so believable that the act transformed into a live suspension of disbelief; it ceased to matter who was portraying him, or if he was fictional at all. Read More
Habit, an art installation/one-act play billed as “The Real World meets No Exit” by experimental director David Levine, will be coming to New York City in the fall. In past performances, Habit has been staged inside a “four-walled, fully furnished and functional American ranch house” where three actors perform a 90-minute play on a loop for eight hours everyday for 10 days. The actors eat when they are hungry, shower, go to the bathroom and basically live normally inside the house while reciting their lines. The audience looks in through windows set up around the house’s perimeter. Read More
Last week, we had a live stream, courtesy of the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami, of Ragnar Kjartansson’s most recent performance Du Holde Kunst. This was performed on the opening night of Mr. Kjartansson’s solo show at the museum, “Song.” In case you missed it live, the good folks at MOCA have archived Read More
Below you’ll find a live video stream for Ragnar Kjartansson’s opening night performance at the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami, which is holding the artist’s first solo American museum exhibition, “Song.” The performance, of Mr. Kjartansson’s recent work Du Holde Kunstis, is being streamed live via the museum’s website, who were kind enough to share it with us. The performance goes live around 7:15 p.m. or a bit after. Read More
Rhys Chatham, the legendary guitar player and former musical director at the Kitchen, will be performing at Postmasters Gallery with performance artist GH Hovagimyan on June 24. The news comes from a tweet by Magdalena Sawon, Postmasters owner and co-director. Read More
Marina Abramovic Wanted to Open Her Performance Art Institute in Bushwick, But Brooklyn Was Too Toxic
Marina Abramovic, the iconoclastic performance artist (aren’t they all?) was in Queens today to talk about her “legacy” in Hudson, N.Y., a project that it turns out was nearly built in Brooklyn. “It was impossible to find the right location,” she explained to a crowd of nearly a hundred arts journalists assembled inside the giant Kraftwerk dome in the MoMA PS1 courtyard.
Instead, she settled on the upstate town along the river with which it shares a name, for the new Marina Abramovic Institute, the embodiment of her life’s work, but also more, she insisted. “Why I didn’t want to make a foundation?” she asked herself. “Because a foundation shows only your own art. For me, it was important to create a situation for other forms, as well.”
“Why my name?” she continued. “I feel like I could become a brand, like Coca-Cola, or Levis for jeans. My names is now about performing art.”
But will crowds truly flock to Hudson to engage in long-duration art, as Ms. Abramovic characterizes the work to take place at her institute, where “who is the performer and who is the audience is impossible to tell,” Serge Le Borgne, the institute’s director, said. Read More
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. Read More
‘You Know You Want It, Baby’: Clifford Owens Is Joined by Kara Walker, in Her First Live Performance
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. Read More
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.” Read More
For the 15th anniversary of North Miami’s Museum of Contemporary Art, Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson will follow-up his 2011 Performa biennial commission, Bliss, with Du Holde Kunst. The artist will sing “a slow and repetitive version of Franz Schubert’s ‘An Die Musik’ accompanied by a pianist, brass quartet, harp, timpani, large crash cymbal, and showgirls with big feather fans,” according to a press release. Read More