CARE, A PERFORMANCE

Curated by Risa Puleo

OCTOBER 14 - NOVEMBER 18, 2017

OPENING RECEPTION: SATURDAY OCTOBER 14, 6 to 11 PM

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ARTISTS

Valentina Desideri (Amsterdam), Pepe Espaliú (Córdoba 1955-1993), Ben Gould (New York City), Stuart Horodner (Lexington), Carolyn Lazard (Philadelphia), Jaimes Mayhew (Baltimore), Park McArthur (New York City), Lynne McCabe (Houston), Carmen Papalia (Vancouver), Harriet Sanderson (Seattle), Sarah Sudhoff (Houston), Constantina Zavitsanos (Brooklyn)

ABOUT THE EXHIBITION

The exhibition Care, A Performance uses choreography as a lens to think through mobility, disability, debility, illness and institutional access in work made by artists with disabilities. The exhibition expands ideas of physical mobility to include navigating social spaces and political forums, positing how the disabled body might maneuver differently through institutions that are themselves disabling.

One group of artists makes work that speaks to the ways in which illness is social and not individual, and the interdependencies built in support networks. Stuart Horodner’s Dependency Project was conceptualized in response to Horodner’s then-role of caregiver for his aging grandfather. This endurance performance became a practice in knowing one’s needs and articulating them to another, asking for—and receiving—help from friends and strangers for acts often taken for granted, including going to the bathroom, eating, bathing and moving through the world. Park McArthur’s Carried and Held is a list of over 250 people that acknowledges family, friends, nurses and strangers who have physically carried the artist during her daily maneuvering. Constantina Zavitsanos’s Specific Objects riffs on Donald Judd’s essay of the same name by presenting handrails used to make bathrooms more accessible in an affectation of the Minimalist's stacked pieces. Zatvisanos & McArthur’s Score for Before is a set of instructions for accompanying a person who moves through the world in a wheelchair. Pepe Espaliú’s performance Carrying involves friends who carried the artist as a physical reality and a symbol of support.

Another group of artists work with the objects that help us navigate and move through the world. Sarah Sudhoff’s photographs of the metal implants left behind after a body has been cremated speaks to the residual histories of these objects and highlight the unique markings left on its surface by both the body and the cremation process. Precarity is a theme of Tilt, a video/sculptural performance by Harriet Sanderson, in which the four legs of a chair are balanced and propped up by four walking canes. Carmen Papalia’s Long Cane is a walking cane for the blind that has been adapted into a performance object eight times the length of a standard-issue cane. Lynne McCabe’s 2008 work Building a platform to support my weight, a set of instructions written by fellow artists and documentation of McCabe attempting to build the title platform, with a consideration of how Rheumatoid Arthritis has changed her mobility.

In his video performance, Ben Gould transforms the spasms caused by his Tourette’s Syndrome into dance and exercise. Developed through her dance practice, Valentina Desideri’s Fake Therapy Cards engage visitors in a game of “curing” each other through directives that encourage presence between people. In a series of videos, Jaimes Mayhew and curator Risa Puleo perform quack healing therapies including Primal Screaming to embody ideas of care in the artist/curator relationship. Carolyn Lieba Francois-Lazard navigates her maneuverings through bureaucracies of care, including the tedium of being on hold while on the phone with an insurance company and the waiting time of the doctor’s office.

The word “curator,” comes from the Latin “to care for,” and historically has directed that care to objects held within a museum collection. In the works included here, simple acts become the object—or objective—driven by empathy and endurance, activating the current national debate about health care in a personal and provocative manner.  

Risa Puleo, 2017

Previous versions of this exhibition have taken place at Roots & Culture in Chicago, and Charlotte Street Foundation in Kansas City.

ABOUT THE CURATOR

San Antonio native Risa Puleo is an independent curator and critic. She is currently working on exhibitions that will be presented at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston; Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, Omaha; Charlotte Street Foundation; Kansas City, ArtPace, San Antonio, and the Leslie-Lohman Museum in New York City. Puleo holds Master’s degrees from the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College and Hunter College’s art history program. She has written for Art in America, Art Papers, Art 21, Asia Art Pacific, Hyperallergic.com, Modern Painters and other publications. She is currently the inaugural curator-in-residence at Bemis Center for Contemporary Art in Omaha.

Image: Stuart Horodner, Dependency Project, 1985; documentation of performance

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