Performance Dates: Wednesday, May 23, 7pm Friday, September 7, 7pm
Third Streaming presents Gifted and Talented, a group exhibition comprised of photography, video, and live performance curated by acclaimed artist Clifford Owens. Extending the timeline created in his recent exhibition, Anthology at MoMA P.S.1 – which highlighted performance scores that Owens solicited from a multigenerational group of African-American artists – Gifted and Talented features the work of a younger generation of up-and-coming artists whose practices are centered around performance. The exhibition includes artists Tom Chung, Élan Jurado, Ali Kheradyar and Tameka Norris, with contributions by Clifford Owens.
The artists, featured in Gifted and Talented, all of whom have studied with Owens, work with the specifics of ritual, and explore the labyrinth of identity politics without regard for the limitations of any specific media. Their practices incorporate live performance and those specifically created for the camera, blurring the boundaries between the two. This is especially evident in Norris’ Venus of the Rags (2012), in dialogue with Michelangelo Pistoletto’s work of the same name from 1967-68, and Chung’s Antidote (2012), which was taken just before the artist ingested a pill containing a wasp.
Chung’s work challenges preconceived attitudes towards race, gender and sexuality as shaped by religion. For this exhibition, Chung will premiere a performance that is part prayer, part confession to powerful effect, interweaving biting snippets of personal history conjuring otherworldly spirits while affirming his identity as a gay man of Chinese descent. Chung further explores the conflicts of religious representation through his interest in myth, shamanism and divination. While Chung claims a place for those that are ‘other’, Jurado’s performances painfully exploit and test the boundaries of physical endurance and tolerance through his submission to violent acts of aggression. In White Action Red Reaction (2012), the artist is shot with a paintball gun from close range nineteen times before falling to the ground in agony, providing an intense study of the limitations of the human body.
Norris’ investigation of the body takes a more outward approach, directly engaging with the audience to foment uncertainty, discomfort and critique. Her performance for Gifted and Talented leaves the viewer in control of her body, giving the audience members complete freedom to act out intimate hygienic routines. Norris thus engages concepts of surrender and accessibility, while activating the desirous nature of the gaze. Kheradyar’s photographic series of Betty Hair Dye deals with similar themes of sexual identity and the body, while referencing Minimalist photography in the clean lines of Dye (2011). Using seriality through the repetition of the female figure, with only the thighs and pubic hair visible, each image is defined by the specific dye applied. With titles such as Lucky Betty and Sexy Betty, the artist playfully questions individual ritualized practices and unconventional concepts of beauty.
The works featured and performed in Gifted and Talented challenge traditional notions regarding what is cultural or socially acceptable, particularly as defined by the current conservative political agenda. Collectively, their work clearly indicates that art and identity politics are as relevant and timely as ever.