December 20th, 2012

Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art

Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art

Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art examines the practices of performance in the work of three generations of black artists. Traditionally, black performance has been largely understood through the lenses of popular culture and the dramatic arts. However, black visual artists have long utilized performance as a stand-alone practice to address such themes as the fluidity of identity, the limitations of the body, and the interaction between viewer and performer.  This exhibition approaches the material from the perspective of the visual arts, beginning with the “happenings” of the early 1960s and into the contemporary practices of a new generation of artists.  

Given the nature of performance as an experiential medium, this exhibition features a variety of performance documentation in the form of photography and video.  In other instances, artists have performed directly for the camera, and thus the records of these events are both art and document.  The exhibition also includes objects used in performance or performance relics, installations and constructions that serve as the remains of these performances. In addition to the works on view here, live performances are scheduled throughout the duration of the exhibition.

—Valerie Cassel Oliver, Senior Curator, Museum of Contemporary Arts, Houston, and curator of Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art.

 

Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art is on view until February 15, 2013.

Photos:
Installation views, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston. Photos by Jerry Jones.

Performance views:
Terry Adkins (and musicians) performing The Last Trumpet (1995) at Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, November 16, 2012. Photo by Max Fields.

Jamal Cyrus performing Texas Fried Tenor from the series Learning to Work the Saxophone (2012) at Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, November 29, 2012. Photo by Max Fields.

Theaster Gates performing See, Sit, Sup, Sing: Holding Court (2012) at Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, December 1, 2012. Photo by Max Fields.

Maren Hassinger (and members of the Houston community) performing Women’s Work (2009) at Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, November 17, 2012. Photo by Max Fields.

Shaun El C. Leonardo (and wrestler) performing The Arena (2012) at Progressive Amateur Boxing Association, Houston, December 8, 2012. Courtesy Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. Photo by Max Fields.

Maren Hassinger performing Senga Nengudi’s RSVP (1975-77) at Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, November 17, 2012. Photo by Max Fields.

Tameka Norris performing Untitled (2012) at Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, November 17, 2012. Photo by Max Fields.

Performance of Pope.L’s Costume Made of Nothing (2012) at Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, November 16, 2012. Photo by Max Fields.

 

End of article