Press Releases

02.19.09

It's All Yours Now

LINDA WEISS, CAREY ASCENZO, MARTHE RAMM FORTUN, RACHEL MASON, PETIT MAL, KALUP LINZY, NADER SADEK (in order of appearance)

SculptureCenter is pleased to present It's All Yours Now, an afternoon of performances taking place March 15, from 4-6pm. The participating artists will take over a temporary stage at SculptureCenter, using the format of a song or a love letter to examine identity politics, the credit system, political personae, and the inversion of institutional relations.

Selected by the In Practice panel last summer, Carey Ascenzo's piece Care, 2009, requires that SculptureCenter's Executive Director and staff perform a song of the same name by Kaada in front of an audience. In exchange, Ascenzo has allocated her production budget to the purchase of two gifts chosen by staff members: a digital camera and a new sump pump. Care seeks to invert the way artist commissions usually take place, and stretches the comfort zones of the staff and Director, something that Ascenzo considers required of artists on a regular basis. The other particularity of this piece is that the original version of Kaada's Care is in fact a sampling of existing songs, and this will be the first time the song is performed live.

Special thanks to Paul J. Ascenzo and Ten Minute Turns: ww.tenminuteturns.com

Ennui is History, by Marthe Ramm Fortun is described as a "celebration of failure," combining video, narrative content, and dancing. Fortun bases her piece on a quote by Ashley Dupré, who said when asked about her relationship with Eliot Spitzer, "I was whoever they wanted me to be, and he was whoever he wanted to be..." With this transformational model in mind, Fortun describes her piece as introducing Ashley Dupré to a young Norwegian soldier from the Second World War. In the artist's words, "together, they are un-identifiable. Separate, they are arguably historical. In this live work they are drifters, taking on new forms as desired. He, she, it, dances. Sincerity is taken to the point of mysticism in a collapsing cycle of gestures, image, and object. The escape route is a pirate taxi to reality."

Linda Weiss' privacy/policy-heidegger/arendt, 2007, is a DVD transcript of excerpts from love letters between philosophers Hannah Arendt and Martin Heidegger starting in 1925, covering the period when Arendt was Heidegger's student in Germany, through her exile in France and the United States, until her death in 1975. The love letters between Arendt, a survivor of the Holocaust and a violent critic of totalitarianism, and Heidegger, once complicit with the Nazi regime, capture a crucial part of twentieth century history, its contradictions, its problematics, and its mea culpa. As Weiss puts it, "these letters are an example of where the personal and the political meet."

Rachel Mason inhabits the minds of real and fictional characters in her evolving cast of musical collaborators for an unpredictable operatic experience. Impersonating figures like Saddam Hussein and Carlos II, the last of the Habsburg dynasty, Mason's lyrics are based on semi-fictional and found material to form a musical performance based on our collective consciousness and tragic-comic interpretation. Her co-performers for the evening include John Allan (guitar) and Sahba Sizdahkhani (drums), grouped under the provisional name, Trixy Santiago.

Petit Mal, which signifies tiny seizures in French, is an electro-pop duo composed of Ben Seymour (synths) and Melanie Gilligan (vocals). One of their songs, Crisis In the Credit System, composed over three years ago, prophesied the current economic debacle. Incorporating elaborate lyrics referring to social-economic processes, mystical and real, the musicians captivatingly croon melodies studded with literary and political references, and a nostalgic take on '80s synth-duos.

Kalup Linzy engages with different personas and recurring characters, using formats and dialogues from soap-operas and music videos, where the type-casts of the figures are in fact complex formations that riff-off gender and cultural expectations, while never entirely being reducible to them. His characters are approached with nuance, with the seductive qualities of the artist shining through the costumes, mises-en-scenes, and video projections. SweetBerry Sonnets are R&B-inspired songs from an album of the same name that combine humor and heartfelt energy.

Nader Sadek's new performance piece, B'doun Wag'h ("Faceless"), provocatively incorporates Middle Eastern design, Death Metal music, and Darfur activism. Current and former musicians from well-known metal bands include Steve Tucker (Vocals)- formerly of Morbid Angel, Flo Mounier (Drums)- Cryptopsy, Nick McMaster (Bass)-Krallice, Mike Lerner (Guitar)-Behold.. the Arctupos. The artists and musicians will play a specially commissioned composition on a stage featuring Middle Eastern elements that resonate with the occult iconography of this underground music scene. Woodwork screens, blistering guitars, and frenetic drumming blur configurations of private and public, holy and profane, ritual restraint and impulsive aggression. In a further twist of cultural signifiers and conventions, proceeds from the event, including sales from the "merchandise table," will go to victims of the Darfur crisis.