Join Simone Leigh and Saidiya Hartman—author of the acclaimed new study Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Social Upheaval—for a Frieze Talk this week in New York.
“[Hartman’s] work has always examined the great erasures and silences—the lost and suppressed stories of the Middle Passage, of slavery and its long reverberations. Her rigor and restraint give her writing its distinctive electricity and tension. Hartman is a sleuth of the archive.” — Parul Sehgal
1071 Fifth Avenue (at 88th Street), New York City.
From top: Saidiya Hartman (left) and Simone Leigh, courtesy of the author and artist; Leigh with Brick House—her High Line Plinth work—in process, photograph by Timothy Schenck, courtesy of the artist and the photographer; Hartman book cover courtesy W.W. Norton &Company.
Okwui Okpokwasili, FrançoiseVergès, Lorraine O’Grady, Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts, and DionneBrand are among the many artists, authors, and educators who will be at the Guggenheim this weekend for the LOOPHOLE OF RETREAT conference.
1071 Fifth Avenue (at 88th Street), New York City.
The name of the conference—and Leigh’s concurrent show at the museum—refers to a chapter title in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs, who referred to the opening line of the poem “The Task” (1784) by WilliamCowper.
“In 1983, BenNeill moved from Ohio to New York City. What was going on at the time in music was a very free improvisatory kind of style, a way of fusing different elements together through oppositions and similarities. The result was rather superficial. Ben was more interested in isolating some elements in order to produce a kind of deep resonance keeping each element separate, unexpected, untimely, a kind of creative chaos, in which the pieces clashed and resonated in the distance without ever being pinned down logically. It was the aesthetic of the collage. This is what attracted Ben to David Wojnarowicz’s work.
“With David you always got the feeling that the pieces weren’t randomly chosen; they made some kind of underlying structure that held the pieces together. There was something in his visual work that Ben was trying to do in a musical sense, putting together styles from different historical periods and contemporary forms, but always with the idea of creating some kind of larger by-product. It was very profound. So he called up David and he suggested that they do a collaborative piece at the Kitchen with him. And this was ITSOFOMO [In the Shadow of ForwardMotion].
“In 1946 Antonin Artaud recorded a radio version of his famous text To Have Done with theJudgment of God. Directed by Artaud himself, this remarkable recording set shrieks and drumbeats inspired by the Tarahumara Indians against Artaud’s reading of a text about the mid-century American technology of war. War in a test tube, as the Virus of the Invisible, a destruction that is accomplished without bodily contact, spreading as seamlessly as the dream-transmission of primitive plagues.
“Fifty years later we are plagued by the invisible violence of a technology so accelerated that human life has come to a standstill. A globe cut up into cities of dead time. The texts that Wojnarowicz reads are an antidote to abstraction. Passionate, grounded, and dead precise, these texts violently reclaim the body by forcing us to experience the visceral reality of space and time. Set against Neill’s delicate, composed mutantrumpet, percussion, interactive electronics, and South American ethno-music, ITSOFOMO‘s forward motion becomes a battle to reclaim the organism of life.” — Sylvére Lotringer*
This weekend, Wojnarowicz and Neill’s multimedia performance piece ITSOFOMO will be restaged and performed by Neill and Don Yallech at KW Berlin.
“Songs are like tattoos,” wrote Joni Mitchell, echoing the pain of their creation. For the composer, songs often outlive the love that inspired them. For the rest of us, they’re emblems of the faces and places they evoke and the times they define.
John Kelly—visual and performance artist, writer, choreographer, and Mitchell interpreter nonpareil—brings his new, highly subjective work TIME NO LINE to Los Angeles for a three-night stand at Redcat.
Based on journal entries spanning forty years, TIME NO LINE bridges the decades with movement, music, and art. As an on-the-ground witness to the initial devastation of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s and the culture wars of the 1990s, Kelly is an artist-activist of rare insight and experience, and this engagement is not to be missed.
“The spoken word was the last thing I cared to add to my arsenal as a performer… [Journal writing is a] habit that has accumulated and become a significant body of work, a source of both insanely good raw material and embarrassment and remorse. It’s tough to read back through this stuff.” — John Kelly
On opening night, Kelly will join writer and professor David Román for a post-performance talk.*
John Kelly, Time No Line performance photographs, from top: Paula Court; John Kelly‘s Instagram; Theo Cote; Court. Images courtesy of John Kelly and the photographers.
John Kelly (above) at Sideways into the Shadows, his portrait series of lovers, friends, and colleagues lost to the AIDS epidemic, Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, 2018. Photograph by Susan Rand Brown, courtesy of John Kelly and the photographer.