A Short History of Performance

Part Two

A Short History of Performance - Part Two

Whitechapel Art Gallery, 18-23 November 2003

'What if artists were to take up the tools of academia and turn into professors ?' - Andrea Tarsia, Head of Exhibitions and Projects, Whitechapel Art Gallery.

A Short History of performance Part II was the second in a series of performance seasons at the Whitechapel. It was curated by Iwona Blazwick and Andrea Tarsia.

A Short History of Performance - Part II - Programme

Andrea Fraser, Official Welcome (2001), Tuesday 18 November

Andrea Fraser has called herself an 'institutional critic' and works on projects which expose the often hidden power relations between artists, collectors, galleries and museums. In 1997 she made Welcome Speech at the inSITE San Diego Triennial usurping the role of the museum director with her own version of the effusive welcoming speeches made at such occasions. In Official Welcome Fraser makes a fitting opening to this season by re-presenting a work which weaves verbatim extracts from actual speeches made by artists and curators at similar official museum occasions

Robert Morris, Screening of 21.3 (1964/94), Wednesday 19 November

Lecture on Contemporary American Sculpture

Robert Morris has been at the forefront of American sculpture since the 1960's as a practitioner and theorist. In 21.3 Morris lip-synced to a filmed projection of a lecture by the celebrated art historian Erwin Panofsky (Studies in Iconology from 1939). The work was re-created for the camera in 1994 for the Guggenheim with an actor taking Morris' role.

Carey Young, Optimum Performance (2003), Thursday 20 November

Carey Young draws upon the language of corporate culture to examine correlations between the world of business and contemporary art. In Optimum Performance, a work made for this series, an actor takes the role of a company manager exhorting his audience to better levels of performance.

Martha Rosler

Semiotics of the Kitchen (1975/2003)

Thursday 20 November

Martha Rosler is one of a group of American women artists who through the 1960's and 70's tackled political and gender issues with their art and performance. The Semiotics of the Kitchen was made as a short film with Rosler presenting to camera in the manner of an extreme cookery show hostess. For the Whitechapel she has updated the piece for a group of live performers.

Inventory, Endless Sonic Mania (2001/03), Friday 21 November

Inventory is a collective of artists and writers founded in 1996. They publish 'Inventory' a journal on contemporary urban life as well as organising exhibitions and artistic interventions. For the Whitechapel they update Endless Sonic Mania broadcasting music, poetry and polemic from a pirate radio station in the upper galleries to an audience in the lower galleries. Inventory asked the Whitechapel to make clear that they are not performance artists and have no sympathy for, or empathy with, the history or "tradition" of performance art.

Mark Dion, Notes Towards a Dystopian Dictionary (2003), Saturday 22 November

Mark Dion's artistic practice adopts the methods and strategies of the archaeologist and the ecologist. In Notes Towards a Dystopian Dictionary, a work made for this series, Dion presents an illustrated talk on the A to Z of ecology and politics.

The Atlas Group, The Loudest Muttering is Over (2003), Saturday 22 November

The Atlas Group was founded by artist Walid Raad to examine and document the contemporary history of Lebanon and here he presents some of their latest findings. The Group use carefully crafted fictions to document not "what happened" but "what can be imagined". Their practice acts as a counterpoint to the current artistic trend of using verite as source material and the use of the documentary format.

Joseph Beuys, Lecture Actions 1972-80, Sunday 23 November

Exhibition of works from Beuys' Lecture Actions made between 1972 and 1980.

Screening of Ken McMullen's 1972 documentary of Beuys in London.

Markings On and Off the Blackboard, a symposium on Beuys' lectures and teachings with Richard DeMarco, Robert McDowell and Norman Rosenthal and chaired by Iwona Blazwick.

As an artist, teacher and political activist Beuys was one of the most influential European artists of the second half of the twentieth century and the Whitechapel has devoted a day to presenting and examining his work, focussing on his lectures and talks.

The Felix Trust for Art was the principal financial supporter of this series with additional support from The Elephant Trust and the Henry Moore Foundation.

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Copyright The Felix Trust for Art, 2004