In a performance at Fergus McCaffrey gallery, Clifford Owens used his body as an instrument to propel others not to fear, but to trust.
Standouts from some of the artists’ studios open to the public last weekend in the Brooklyn neighborhood.
Overall, the work in Enacting Stillness suggests that, contrary to some of the grander claims made about art’s political efficacy, most art intervenes in the world in a more limited, but no less essential, way.
In the past five or six years, Clifford Owens’ provocative performance work has begun to garner notable, sometimes polarizing, attention.
“Be African-American. Be very African American.” Thus reads a typed instruction on an otherwise blank piece of paper sent by veteran performance artist William Pope.L to Clifford Owens as part of Anthology, the latter’s crowd-sourced performance project staged last year at MoMA PS1.
Marianne Vitale’s “The Missing Book of Spurs,” her commission for Performa 13, features half-naked women in corsets, a man in assless chaps, and “natives” in outfits inspired by traditional Native American clothing; it features blocks of wood, a wooden sculpture that looks like a torpedo, and a large, old-fashioned wooden bar; it features loud music, a smoke machine, and erotic dancing. It is a big spectacle. Unfortunately, I’m not sure it’s anything else.
Radical Presence gives a great taste of some of the work done by black artists working in performance over the past five decades. And one of the best things about it is that it’s not just a static archive.
Get out the syringe, it’s time for your shot of art for the week. We promise it won’t be painful. This week the medicine comes in the form of museum exhibitions both big and small, including Sherrie Levine’s retrospective at the Whitney, the much anticipated opening of the Met’s Islamic wing, and round-up of seminal art from the 1980s in Hudson Valley that’s worth the trip to upstate New York. We’re also prescribing two events that mix visual art and music, a combo that is sure to cure any illness.