Wednesday, December 17, 2014

"AUNTSforcamera" show opens at New Museum

Dance is an art of live bodies in charged space. If that space exists inside a machine, if the artist's delivery system is a screen, are the bodies in recorded time any less live to us, the space between us and them any less charged? Is the divide between viewer and do-er ever more distinct and unbridgeable? Is the work a discrete, permanent object, an owned commodity like anything else on display in a museum of visual art?

Test your responses to these questions at the New Museum, now through February 15, with AUNTSforcamera, an installation of dance-for-camera works created and filmed last September in a shared open-studio process at the museum.

The project, originally commissioned by Amsterdam's Stedelijk Museum and TrouwAmsterdam, occupies transitional, non-gallery space, dispersed around various locations from lobby to stairway to Sky Room. A handy map helps you find your way. In the flexible and inviting AUNTS way, you're left on your own to make of this show what you will, choosing to go in order or mix things up, stay in front of one monitor for as long as you'd like or zip around, catching bits and pieces of the art in action.

Anya Liftig's A Very Something or Other might be a strategy for dealing, literally head-on, with her admitted discomfort in front of a camera. Her screen, set on a counter tucked into a tiny alcove, frames an extreme closeup of her face, in florid color, and the continual contortions of her facial muscles. A chair beckons a single viewer to sit close to Liftig's screen--the best way to get that alchemical charge, I'd say--although you can certainly stand in the space or even linger at the door as a few visitors did.

Saturated color in Cara Francis's REMOTE might signify human individuality, but images of blindfolded bodies and depersonalizing AR drone aerial shots, jerky framing and limbs detached by editing pull things in a completely opposite direction. An interesting and ominous tension.

The member of Collective Statement (Felicia Ballos, Jean Brennan and T. Charnan Lewis) solve the logistical challenge of not all being available at the same time by using the "exquisite corpse" technique. Their dance, drawing a line with my body straight to you, plays out in supple imagery over a stack of three monitors, one for each section of the human body--head, torso, legs. Each body section has costuming, props and activity all its own. Yes, in this patchwork world, it's possible to blow up a beach ball and nurse a child at the same time.

Other works on show:

#auntsforcamera (Karl Scholz)

Level Up: The Real Harlem Shake (Salome Asega, Chrybaby Cozie, Ali Rosa-Salas) Note: Accessible only on Saturday and Sundays.

Dancing the Edits (Vanessa Justice)

Primary Source (video): AUNTS at the New Museum 2012, 2014 (Gillian Walsh)

Star Crap Method via Lens (Larissa Velez-Jackson)

STAGING STAGES (IMMA/MESS)

#trouwforcamera, #newmuseumforcamera (Karl Scholz)

AUNTSforcamera runs through February 15. Click here for hours and other visitor information.

For more on AUNTS, click here.

The New Museum
235 Bowery (one block south of Houston Street), Manhattan
(map/directions)

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