Leg of Lamb was lucky enough to catch a screening of Carolee Schneemann’s ‘Meat Joy’ (above) at the IMA in Brisbane last week. A performance piece first conducted in 1964 in Paris and re-staged in New York, ‘Meat Joy’ is an orgiastic ritual involving eight performers and an array of meats. Clad in furry undies, the participants writhe around with a selection of fish, poultry, red meat – and some paint for good measure. Schneemann described the piece as ‘an erotic rite – excessive, indulgent, a celebration of flesh as material’. In fact, it’s an interesting foil to the contemporaneous flesh and blood-based Dionysiac rituals of the Viennese Actionists like Hermann Nitsch. While the Actionists were out to shock, and no doubt Schneemann was too, ‘Meat Joy’ is ultimately an oddly playful affair, amplified by its cutesy 1960s pop soundtrack.
(Australian audiences might have seen a small screen version of ‘Meat Joy’ as part of the 2008 Biennale of Sydney. The IMA is projecting it large scale with surround sound, so if you can, check it out in all its full screen glory).
Carolee Schneemann’s Meat Joy at the IMA, 420 Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane until November 24.
Leg of Lamb was recently introduced to the practice of Berlin-based Javanese performance artist Melati Suryodarmo. One of her most well-known works is ‘Exergie: Butter Dance’ (above), a performance she first conducted in 2000. The premise is simple; the artist appears in a tight black dress and high heels and attempts to dance on several blocks of butter over a twenty minute period. Her initially graceful moves recall the gestures of Balinese dancers but as her balance becomes compromised by the rapidly melting butter, her performance quickly descends into a comical mess.
Since 2005 Seung Yul Oh has been recording people blowing balloons up until they pop. Entitled The Ability to Blow Themselves Up
, the project is about to launch into the realms of live performance for Made Active: The Chartwell Show
, an exhibition featuring works from The Chartwell Collection that opens at Auckland Art Gallery on April 14th. Yul Oh has enlisted the help of 50 volunteers who, on the show’s opening date, will be stationed throughout the gallery from 3pm blowing up balloons over a 30 minute period. Live performance is a rare beast at AAG (in fact, this show heralds the first multi-artist performance program presented by the gallery since the 1970s), so be sure to head along if you’re in AK. The show runs until July 15th.
Miss out on last year’s LA MOCA gala? Here’s their spin on the controversial event. (Via OTN).
Lady Gaga plays a piano designed by Damien Hirst at the 2009 LA MOCA Gala
Serbian performance artist Marina Abramović has been appointed the Artistic Director of the 2011 Gala at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art. She is responsible for programming an evening of music and performance that will feature an as yet undisclosed ‘guest musician’. Given that former AD Doug Aitken roped in Beck and Devendra Banhart last year and Francesco Vezzoli got Gaga to jam on a piano painted by Damien Hirst the year before, I’m guessing it’s going to be HUGE.
Millie Brown mid-performance
New York performance artist Millie Brown drinks coloured milk and vomits it onto canvases. She films the process for those who care to watch and sells the resulting paintings for over 2k a pop. Leg of Lamb prefers Alex Vivian’s down-home approach, that involved ingesting foods of similar colours and regurgitating them amidst unsuspecting passers-by on the city streets of Melbourne. And then of course there’s Keith Boadwee, who specialises in ejecting paint from an entirely different orifice….(below).
Keith Boadwee demonstrates his 'rectal squirt method'
Peter Roche delivered his first performance since 2008 at The Ambassador Theatre in Point Chevalier, Auckland, last month. The event coincided with the launch of the artist’s new website
that features an extensive archive of Roche’s work and 24 hour access (via four different cameras) into the artist’s studio. Keep an eye out for footage of his surprisingly elegant chainsaw wrangling ritual. Coming soon…
Portrait taken during Marina Abramović's performance at 'Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present'. MoMA
63-year-old Marina Abramović is the first-ever performance artist to be offered a retrospective at MoMA. And for the 700 hour duration of the three-month exhibition she is occupying the gallery’s atrium conducting a new performance.
Day after day, Abramović sits motionless and silent while members of the public are invited to sit opposite her, meeting her gaze for as long as they want. For many participants, this experience is so deeply moving that they have been reduced to tears. You can view their weepy reactions on a blog called Marina Abramović made me cry.
Other responses to the exhibition have been more prurient. Some visitors have been forcibly removed for touching the naked performers employed to re-stage key works by the artist. While it’s questionable whether these ephemeral pieces can be successfully re-enacted, it’s exciting to see a major insitution make such a strong commitment to live performance.
Marina Abramovic (right) mid-performance at MoMA
Marina Abramović: The Artist is Present, Museum of Modern Art, 11 West Fifty-third Street, New York, until May 31 2010.