Experimental Action: Performance Art Houston, February 23 – 25th, 2017

Last entry, September, 2016. Since then…professor of art, teaching art appreciation, and interim gallery manager at a local college. Resting, yoga, walking, time with spouse and dogs and family and friends – HEALING. Today, co-Manager of the Cliff Gallery, Mountain View College and member of ART BEEF/BEEFHAUS collective, Dallas, Texas. Now am honored to be invited to speak at the Contemporary Art Museum Houston symposium for the international performance art event in Houston, Texas. Excited!

EXPERIMENTAL ACTION 2017

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The Value of Empty Space

Yesterday afternoon I joined several people in the ongoing dialogue on the topic of value, specifically the value of the artist/curator in the art industry. Chagrin I missed the weekly conversations which took place at Central Trak beginning April 18th yet caught up in a way as the walls void of “art objects” such a paintings, drawings, and the like were full of an alternative visual stimulator, text. The words included complaints, desires, and ultimately solutions related to the topic at hand.

problems

wall 3

CTWall4

Thanks to a problem, artist and independent curator Leslie Moody Castro, rather than forcing a curatorial exhibition with objects and artifacts, decided to “produce weekly articles that explore the relationships between value and the visual arts in Dallas, the United States, and even internationally.  Thus, CentralTrak’s exhibition space will be “empty”, and will be a metaphorical and conceptual reflection of the intellectual property, capacity, and the time spent curating an exhibition with little, or no existing budget.” (Central Trak website)

Leslie and Heyd

Thus, conversations began at Central Trak, taking on the role as an incubator for discussions. The public was invited via their website and a variety of social media sites. As far as I understand there have been a core group of people who have attended every conversation while many took part in at least one or two. To catch me up Moddy Castro pointed me toward each wall where thoughts, ideas, rants, complaints, desires, and solutions were given validity. These ephemeral feelings and hopes typically get squelched or even disappear under the weight of everyday life. Yet it seemed to me that this time they did not. There on the wall, as if objects and even artifacts created by a variety of artists in the area an “exhibition” of sorts proclaiming truths often shared yet typically set aside to honor what has always been, a struggle.

Central Trak Director, Heyd Fontenot, served as moderator and collaborator alongside Moody Castro. Intelligent, honest, vulnerable, thoughtful, and with years of experience in working with others as liaison, agent, curator, and leader/supporter both created an atmosphere which allowed me to feel comfortable and willing to share my thoughts openly and equally as honestly. It seemed to me others must have experienced a similar sense as most in attendance pressed thoughts of particular passion and desire for the arts in Dallas.

Several big ideas regarding how to create change in the dynamic of art venue, patrons, and the artists, especially local artists. Discussions revolving around the Dallas Art Fair and how to respond to its success and it failures. Do we ride on the coat-tails of the fair or do we create works or a dialogue of criticism of the venue/event. Someone brought up the reality of differing opinions about venues such as the fair many don’t see the fair as extravagant or unrealistic while many do, stating that some of that expense could go to scholarships, grants or support for local artists. A response to this was the statement I won’t forget, “this isn’t a competition is about ecosystem”.

A woman sitting in the back with her adorable dog pressed the idea of making one thing happen so that all these efforts, thoughts, ideas, and energy don’t fall flat one more time. Needing to leave the gathering early, this long time supporter of Central Trak, reiterated please don’t conclude the time together without scheduling one action.  Discussing a few possibilities both Darryl Ratcliff and an artist he has been working with brought us to an understanding of how much a casual gathering around a meal is worth. Ratcliff reminded us that the issue of our need to build trust among one another – artists, gallerists, collectors, patrons- is one of the most important steps to building community. Another valuable thought related to the idea of a meal or pot-luck was made by Central Trak artist-in-residence K Yoland, meet in a variety of locations to help others feel included.  So it was set, Ratcliff and artist friend will take on this first gathering around the table, a pot-luck, Sunday, June 7th. A Facebook event will soon be posted.

After a few disappointments following grad school, this has given me some hope. Thanks guys.

Read more detail about the conversations here:

Leslie Moody Castro Interview       By Leslie Moody Castro      Witness To Change

The Conversations on Youtube:

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Reviews of “In The Room We Discovered An-Other In The Corner”

A couple of writers contacted me with interest in viewing and eventually writing about the month long exhibition. No reviews have been written by them. I’m guessing because they didn’t even attend. In the art world it is helpful to have something written about your work. My hope was that would occur this time. The last performance art “festival” entitled Inside)(Outside, was during the summer of 2014. PerformanceSW (Courtney Moezzi Brown and me) organized and curated the exhibition. Brown and I spent months preparing for this event. We are essentially pleased with they way things unfolded though some of the performances changed from our discussions with the artists and ended up less successful than we imagined. This is what can happen when working with live bodies and live audiences. A few articles were written about the exhibition one felt snarky and the other focused on the unsuccessful live works thus seemed one sided and in fact the writer didn’t even see all the performances. One article written by a non-art writer left us feeling accomplished and understood. That was helpful as well as affirming.

Remembering this last article lead me to search the internet for anything that might have been written by anyone who attended even just one of the performance events of In The Room… I found a few and am linking them in this post as well as including a some of their comments.  Thank you to all of you who attended the live events and to those of you who took the time to write your thoughts out in the virtual world. I appreciate the support.

Dark Entries 2/5/15

We also watched a performance called Tessellated Fold at Beefhaus. This performance was part of a series called In The Room We Discovered An-Other In The Corner, which will feature a different performance every Saturday in February. Tessellated Fold was very beautiful – it was a collaboration involving sound, video, textile, and dance. The singer, Lily Taylor, had such a beautiful voice! I finally sat down and read my latest copy of Arts+Culture magazine that I picked up, and coincidentally she was mentioned along with her husband, Sean Miller, who did the video. They have a gallery in Exposition Park – Midway Gallery. I need to visit that gallery soon!
Kieone Young (This was posted on facebook) Kieone was a drop in and wanted to take photos.

The final performance which really caught me off guard at first actually happen to be the one that I connected with the most. The story that the young man was telling was an expression of anger he felt in the loss of a friend or loved one due to either racism or police brutality and he took his anger out on two doors that was stationed in the center of the room and he punched the doors until his hands became bloody and it was almost like he was painting the all white doors with his blood to tell his story about his pain and I really connected with this one I don’t really know why but I understand where he’s coming from. Good job and kudos to him. Thank you Alison for having me…

 Canvassing, by Darryl Ratcliff. The second article he’s written about the February exhibition at BEEFHAUS.
Time Based Art Forms. This month has been a revelation for time-based art forms, and specifically in regards to performance and video mediums. … the Alison Starr-curated “In The Room We Discovered An – Other In The Corner,” are about to enter their final weekends. Don’t sleep on these events. They represent exactly the type of programming that the City of Dallas needs more of in the future. Hats off to all involved.
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February 7th, In The Room : Tessellated Fold

Lily Taylor

This February, Dallas independent curator and artist Alison Starr will bring together more than a dozen local and national artists to make work that references the body and explores the idea of “the other” in a variety of media.

Exhibiting artists are from Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, Houston, New York City, and Norman, Oklahoma.

The first weekend: Tessellated Fold
Lily Taylor and Sean Miller explore sound and video in collaboration with fiber artist Chesley Antoinette of Cantoinette Studios, costume designer Whitney Bracey and dancer Jacquekya Lee (Kya) of Brown Girls Do Ballet in an immersive installation at the Art Beef / Beefhaus gallery space in Exposition Park, Dallas, TX.

Lily Taylor Live on YouTube 

Photo: Clinton Butler

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