A forced, sudden awareness of proximity (let’s call it “pandemic proprioception”) has lodged itself into our brains of late. Bodies in public have always been vulnerable — of course, some more so than others — but even for those previously privileged to a life of free, nonchalant movement, kinesthetic awareness has intensified at the hand of these chaotic and contagious times. This attention to motion and embodiment, long latent and lately front-of-mind, is the subject of Sarah Friedland’s Assembled Choreographies, an online solo show at Hartnett Gallery at the University of Rochester, on view through April 26.
Friedland’s films conjure a sense of heightened, almost spiritual attunement to a body’s movements, expanding the boundaries of “choreography” to describe any number of daily motions. Dance, here, is not so much a discipline as a state of awareness, a frame of mind by which any motion can be invested with artistic potential. Assembled Choreographies is a suite of dance films, heightened representations of commonplace gestures that see every configuration of bodies with a choreographer’s exacting eye.
Home Exercises (2017) attends to the physical experience of aging, following older adults as they move about their homes. A woman’s belabored descent down her staircase, captured by Friedland’s camera with an intimate precision rivaling Chantal Akerman or Ulrich Seidl, becomes a performance of contact improv, giving and receiving weight between body, cane, and banister. Drills (2020) stages eerie reenactments of the physical gestures that convey our collective anxiety: simulacra of corporate instructional videos, Boy Scout exercises, and active shooter situations. With both films, Friedland challenges us to think beyond the boundaries of our discrete bodies, vivifying the ways that control, paranoia, disability, and collective affect are routed through our immediate physical experience.
CROWDS was originally presented in Bologne as a three-channel installation, the screens configured in a zig-zag so that no viewer could watch all three at once. Friedland plays at maintaining the spirit of the physical exhibition with an inventive online screening platform designed with new media artist Jonas Eltes, where the three videos overlap, inviting the viewer to shuffle between them like desktop windows.
The online viewing platform is appended by “A Score for Distant Viewing,” acknowledging the weird modes of embodiment that at-home viewership permits. The only direction: “position your body towards the light of the screen.” This simple stipulation, in concert with the online installation, ingeniously re-invests laptop and mobile viewing with a sense of purpose. In a moment when togetherness feels like a distant memory and bodily vulnerability permeates the everyday, Assembled Choreographies offers a gift of agency, a toolkit for probing the poetics and politics of our motions, from the mass-scale to the menial.
Sarah Friedland’s Assembled Choreographies continues online through April 26 at Hartnett Gallery at the University of Rochester. The exhibition was curated by Almudena Escobar López.
The Project of Independence at MoMA probes the limits of modernist construction in South Asia.
The newly opened Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture — also known as “The Cheech” — celebrates, spotlights, and complicates representations of Chicano art.
Convened by Erika Sprey, Lamin Fofana, Sky Hopinka, Emmy Catedral, and Manuela Moscoso, the public program unfolds this summer at CARA in New York City.
The Detroit-based artist draws from her Russian, Ukrainian, Jewish, and African American roots to create a dazzling new ornamental language.
Stuffed with references to historical and contemporary film, Olivier Assayas’s miniseries version of his own 1996 film Irma Vep is sometimes too clever for its own good.
The Bay Area art book fair is back this July with free programming at three different on-site venues, new exhibitors, and fundraising editions from renowned artists.
The authenticity of the works, whose owners say Basquiat sold to Hollywood screenwriter Thaddeus Mumford in 1982, has been heavily scrutinized.
The Utah site has been subject to longstanding contention over federal lands management.
Shows at the Hudson Valley’s Hessel Museum of Art feature artists Dara Birnbaum and Martine Syms, as well as new scholarship on Black melancholia as an artistic and critical practice.
At a time when many Black artists turned to figuration, Gilliam harnessed the power of abstraction, freeing the canvas from its support.
The artist’s portrait of her mother, painted in 1977 and reproduced on the vaporetti of Venice, may be one of the most evocative artworks in the Biennale.
A new box set of four of the Iranian director’s features offers a great opportunity to get to know his singular style.