Public Programs

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Public Performance Programs:

The Social Body, Performed: Feminist Art and Action of Mexico

An Armory festival within the Pacific Standard Time Festival: Live Art LA/LA

Wednesday, January 17, 7-9pm

Artemisia Clark: La clase de dibujo libre/Free Drawing Class (2000-2004/2017/2018)

La clase de dibujo libre/Free Drawing Class (2000-2004/2017/2018) by Artemisa Clark is a “reperformance” by Los Angeles-based artist Artemisa Clark of Ema Villanueva’s provocative Mexico City street actions from 2000-2002.

La clase de dibujo libre/Free Drawing Class was a series of life drawing classes in public plazas in Mexico City and elsewhere from 2000-2002, produced by Edema, a collaboration between Ema Villanueva and Eduardo Flores. During these performances, Villanueva posed as a nude model while simultaneously engaging in discussions with attendees about contemporary issues such as feminism and social justice—using the objectification of her own body as a means to bring attention to pressing topics of the day. Clark’s reperformance considers Villanueva’s prior actions and offer another interpretation of the traditional role of “the model.”

More info here.

 

Sunday, January 14, 3pm

Amy Sara Caroll: A performative gallery walkthrough

In 1998 in Mexico City, Amy Sara Carroll began researching what would become REMEX: Toward an Art History of the NAFTA Era (University of Texas Press, December 2017). In that critical monograph, Carroll engages several pieces included in Below the Underground: Renegade Art and Action in 1990s Mexico. Part performative academic lecture, part poetry reading, part guided gallery tour: Carroll remixes REMEX—fragments of the “undocument,” its outtakes, and re-visions.

More info here.

 

Sunday, January 14, 3pm

If She is Mexico, Who Beat Her Up?If They are Mexico, Who Beat Them Up?          

If You are Mexico, Who Beat You Up?

If We are Mexico, Who Beat Us Up?

A performance by Lorena Wolffer and Amy Sara Carroll

In If She Is Mexico, Who Beat Her Up? first presented in 1997, Lorena Wolffer sited her own body as Mexico’s social, political, and economic crisis. The artist as a battered high fashion model—a beaten country that insists on performing itself as salubrious, fashionable, and attractive on the world market—vogued different garments and props on a white runway and posed for photos with audience members. At the time, If She Is Mexico, Who Beat Her Up? allegorized the especially abusive and codependent relationship of Mexico and the United States, exacerbated by the 1994 passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the demonization of Mexico in US immigration debates and US Congressional drug de-certification hearings. It cast audience members in an asymmetrical role with the artist insofar as they stood in contradistinction to Wolffer as “Miss Mexico.” Because the performance featured images of a transgender performer, it also implicitly posed the question, If They are Mexico, Who Beat Them Up?

Twenty years later, Wolffer in collaboration with Amy Sara Carroll, further gender-troubles the work’s title. Testing a range of pronouns, If She Is Mexico, Who Beat Her Up?’s rhetorical question mutates into other lines of inquiry that re-script relationships between Wolffer, critic/s, and spectators. Namely, during the re-performance, a make-up artist creates special-effects cuts, bruises, and wounds on Wolffer’s body while Carroll—one of the first scholars to write about If She Is Mexico, Who Beat Her Up?—voices the re-formulated question, If You are Mexico, who Beat You Up? Recounting the history of the performance, Carroll invites audience members in an echo of the work’s prior presentations to have their pictures taken with Wolffer. Interpellated spectators assume the mantle of the representation’s new question, If We are Mexico, Who Beat Us Up? Asked by Carroll to approach Wolffer and share the memories or events they associate with Mexico-US relations from 1997 through 2017, participant-observers co-perform the social body of Mexico becoming a collective action. Additional special affects: a timeline on the wall featuring key events that have taken place over the past two decades on both sides of the Mexico-US border serves as a periodizing guide for audience members to annotate or touch-up.

More info here

 

Sunday, January 14, 6pm

Katia Tirado: Parody Paradise 

In Parody Paradise, Katia Tirado uses the idea of the Roman coliseum to subvert an iconic architecture in which tragedy is consumed, desire is delocalized, and our predatory nature is controlled and administered by the power of necropolitics. Using images of “nichos púbicos,” she has built an “architecture of the flesh” where these relationships are reversed. The performance involves a “toro mecánico,” or mechanical bull – a familiar amusement at bars family parties, particularly along both sides of the US/Mexico border – onto which the artist places sex toys, while an original soundtrack plays testimonies of people and organizations that are looking for missing persons in Mexico. After approximately 20 minutes, once this action is completed, those present are invited to participate. The total duration of the performance is open and depends on the participation of the audience.

Parody Paradise extends from Katia Tirado’s Exhivilización/Las perras en celo (the bitch is in heat), a performance from the 1990s. The work presents an opportunity to focus on and expand the “nichos púbicos,” an under-represented element of Exhivilicación, on an unprecedented scale in a piece that bridges past and future. Subverting lucha libre’s customary machismo, Exhivilización/Las perras en cello involved two punked-out luchadoras on all fours connected by a series of chords and tubing that forced them to move in the same direction. The goal was to arrive at each of the large phalluses erected in the four corners of the wrestling ring in which the performance took place, and ignite them – setting off fireworks representing luminous orgasms, at which point a street singer was placed onto the backs of the still-kneeling performers and belted popular, melodramatic ballads. The reward of Exhivili-cación’s successful climax points to the violence and struggle beneath; quite literally, the romantic fixation on normative pleasures frames the body as the point at which to develop critique. In addition to contemporary references such as punk and lucha libre, Exhivilicación contains notable pre-Hispanic references, including the deity Coatlicue, the two-headed Nahuatl goddess who embodies birth and death, life and war, and moon and stars.

More info here.

 

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Past Programs:

Saturday, November 11, 1:30-4pm

Artemisa Clark: La clase de dibujo libre/Free Drawing Class (2000-2004/2017)

Los Angeles-based performance and installation artist Artemisia Clark will re-present a street action originally performed by artist/activist Ema Villanueva, who presented a series of performances in Mexico City's public plazas in the early 2000s. In La clase de dibujo libre/Free Drawing Class, Villanueva posed as a model, using the medium of nude figure drawing to reflect on contemporary social issues such as feminism and social justice.

La clase de dibujo libre/Free Drawing Class was a series of life drawing classes in public plazas. During these performances, Villanueva posed as the nude model while simultaneously engaging in discussions with attendees about contemporary issues such as feminism and social justice—using the objectification of her own body as a means to bring attention to pressing topics of the day. 

Clark's reperformance will consider Villanueva's prior actions and offer another interpretation of the traditional role of "the model." This Armory exhibitions event is free, open to the public, and will take place in the Armory's main studio in conjunction with our regularly scheduled adult life drawing class, instructed by Andrew K. Currey. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own drawing supplies.

Documentation from Villanueva's original La clase de dibujo libre/Free Drawing Class can be seen in our current exhibition Below the Underground: Renegade Art and Action in 1990s Mexico.

More info here.

 

Saturday, November 11, 4-6pm

Double Issue Release Party: Book Documents PST Festival of 2012

Double Issue records and responds to thirty-seven performance and public works that were presented throughout Los Angeles from January 19 to 29, 2012. The catalyst for these presentations was the Pacific Standard Time Performance and Public Art Festival, the second festival ever in Los Angeles dedicated to presenting performance art and the largest to date. The Pacific Standard Time initiative, funded by the Getty, brought together dozens of institutions throughout Southern California to explore the region’s art and cultural histories through exhibitions of art from World War II through the 1970s. The performance festival picked up where the exhibition programming left off; it was inspired by the rich history of Southern California’s performance art scene, conceived of and launched by artists in the 1970s and 1980s. 

Double Issue has been edited by Irene Tsatsos, the Armory’s Director of Exhibition Programs and Chief Curator and was designed by Brian Roettinger with Taylor Giali of Hand Held Heart. The book will be distributed by RAM publications and will retail for $30. Double Issue is 200 pages, fully illustrated, and printed in two colors by Typecraft.

More info here.

 

Saturday, October 28, 3pm

A Conversation: Below the Underground with Mariana Botey and Rubén Ortiz-Torres. The longtime colleagues share insights into Mexico City's renegade art scene of the 1990s and the circumstances that preceded it.

More info here.

 

tags: performance, urban intervention, radical, public space