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Performance Artists Are Featured At ASU Art Museum

Dress rehearsal for performances will take place on Monday, January 27 from 10am - 4pm. The media is welcome to attend the dress rehearsal, please call (602)965-2787 for times of certain performers. (performance descriptions below)

Whispered conversation in a public restroom, an elaborate panniered dress being decorated with tiny bird nests, and an on-the-move visual commentary on same-sex life relationships are some of what is in store for those attending the public opening of 'Art on the Edge of Fashion'.

The new exhibition, organized by the Arizona State University Art Museum and featuring contemporary art that utilizes the highly readable visual language of clothing and fashion, will have its first public viewing on (Saturday) February 1 from 8 to 10 p.m. at the museum in ASU's Nelson Fine Arts Center at Mill Avenue and Tenth Street in Tempe, Arizona. The public is welcome to attend the reception and is invited to dress in his/her own wearable art.

During the evening, interior and exterior spaces of the museum housed in ASU's Nelson Fine Arts Center will serve as the stage for a variety of local artists and ASU art graduate students who will perform pieces along the themes of the exhibition.

Artists slated to perform include:

ANGELA ELLSWORTH - Addressing the issues of private and public, "waist/waste room" takes place in the museum's first-level men's and women's restrooms. Ellsworth will sit in a stall in the women's restroom, while her voice will be projected electronically via a one- way microphone into the men's restroom. While in the stall, Ellsworth will continually fit (and misfit) her body with approximately 300 belts. Simultaneously, she will whisper stories about body weight and size, combinations of clothing that hide a thick waist, horizontal versus vertical stripes, and fabric that are particularly abrasive to constricted skin.

The public in the women's restroom will be privy to the artist's activity by either peeping through the cracks of the stall or by periscopes positioned on either side of the stall. The same stories will be heard in the men's restroom, but at a level less than a whisper. The public's experience in each restroom will be different. In the women's restroom, there will be the privilege of eavesdropping by visual means and by sound. In the men's restroom, there will only be sound and no visual reference. This difference is designed to encourage discussion outside both spaces.

APRIL FLANDERS, ANNETTE FOSTER and ANGELA BETTRIDGE - "An Affected Appearance" is a ceremony/performance dealing with clothing and female relationships. The piece explores the issues of clothing as armor with which to face the world. There are five parts to the work. "Periodical Strutting" involves costume and dance. "Tic-Tac Coat" features one dancer wearing a coat covered with boxes of orange Tic Tacs. Another dancer opens all the boxes and turns the first dancer upside down. They are followed by a women in a business suit and heels who picks up all the Tic-Tacs. "Woman in the Mirror" features two dancers facing each other as if each was looking in a mirror. As the "real person" examines her body in the mirror, the other person stuffs squishy material into her outfit. "Layer Piece" has one dancer wearing many layers of clothing. Another dancer slowly cuts the clothing off the first dancer to reveal her painted nude body. "Feminine Products" features a dancer wearing a skirt and top made entirely of feminine products and a pair of cowboy boots. She moves around on stage and finally pulls out a fabricated rubber-band gun and shoots a tampon into the air.

GREGORY SALE - "Testing Waters" is based on the perspective of a gay man and will expose the personal dilemmas of being an "AIDS widow," i.e., a surviving partner of a person who deid of AIDS. Sale's performance will involve one object/costume, as well as a portable changing booth consisting of a collapsible metal frame with stretched fabric curtains.

The object/costume consists of two pairs of padded canvas britches connected by a sixteen-foot padded canvas appendage, much like the trunck of an elephant. The object/costume is from a collaborative body of work entitled, "A Fairy Tale, by Sale and his deceased life partner Ronald James Winterrowd which dealt with love and commitment in same-sex relationships. This will be the first time that the object/costume has been used in a performance. "Testing Waters questions whether or how to fill the void that the death of a life partner has created. The goal of the piece is to expose the complexity of experimenting with new acquaintances that could evolve into relationships and it investigates issues raised by this experimentation.

JEANETTE CARDON - The performance deals with memories. Cardon uses a dress os multiple layers, salt shakers and a reading lamp as integral components of a performance that will take place outside on the east side of the museum. Seated in a chair, Cardon will get up and leave a trail of salt as she walks around the plaza. When she realizes that the salt has soiled parts of her dress, she begins to use a seam ripper to unravel the dirtied material. As she does so, she becomes subject to and tells memories. The stories stop when all the soiled threads are removed and lie in a pile at her feet. She reaches for another salt shaker and begins the process again.

SARA CARLSON - The performance is a visual discussion that investigates issues of violence against women. Carlson is clothed in black and carries a red backpack-like body bag and roves through the museum leaving pieces of cut red cloth that she reconstructs into small sculptures. First in cut form, and then reconstructed, these different sculptures comment on the varying nature of violent acts on women, and how women heal differently.

RALPH CORDOVE, JEFF FALK AND ANNIE LOPEZ - The intent of this piece is to explore, to some degree, the way that appearence determine what people think of others actually "knowing" them beyond a superficial level. The artists will use costumes, props, sounds, physical action and language to create various personas that the public will be able to interact with/react. Personas will range from the commonplace to the exraordinary.

DANA FRITZ - Dressed in an opaque black suit, Dana Fritz will push or pull a portable "linen closet" through the corridors of the museum and across the terraces outside. Handmade garments of transparent fabric will be hung from the rack, which will be lit from the rear by a battery-powered lamp. The garments will contain small sacs that will imply various internal organs according to their forms and placement. The ironic garments fail to conceal what is commonly hidden beneath clothing. The form of the backlit rack and its contents reiterates the dualities of concealing and revealing opacity and transparency, private and public that permeate the work.

RITA GRENDZE - "Suburban Armor" is one of a series of wearable sculptures by Grendze that a person will put on and wear throughout the evening. The sculpture directly addresses the issue of clothing as a form of self expression. What does a pair of pants with 700 fingers, complete with glossy red nails, say about its wearer? Is it attractive? Repulsive" As a performance, "Suburban Armor" is an attempt by the wearer to transcend the constricts of the garment and simply act as naturally as possible. The garment changes the direction and pace of the performer's movements, just as the wearer's persona transforms the garment.

KELLY P. KIEVIT - Her piece will be performed on the Nelson Fine Arts Ceneter plaza atop a nine-foot-high welded steel tower, which is reminiscent of an airplane or high voltage tower. Clad in a red and white suit, Kievit uses props to become first a boxer, then a night watchman and finally a prisoner. The conceptional basis for the three characters stems from Kievit's ways of dealing with emotional situations: aggressively (the boxer), efficiently and distant (the watchman) and impotently (the prisoner).

MARIA LATOUR AND VIRGINIA SARDI - The artists willl create a living sculpture of a man wearing a garment made out of food (flattened and preserved vegetables or fruit). The model will lie on a table elaborately decorated with a screen printed table cloth, garnishes and flowers. The artists envision the display to be very inviting and sumptuous and for the viewer to be unsettled by the realization that the main dish is a person - playing on connecting the ideas of consumption of food and consumption through viewing.

SHERRIE MEDINA - "Red Velvet Gown" begins with Medina attired as a beautifully dressed woman looking at art. She retreats from the public spaces of the museum to add her costume - a black harness tethering wads of bed sheets. She returns with the third-level bridge over one of the main staircases as her destination. Here, Medina will begin throwing the wads of sheets over the balcony. After all the sheeting has been thrown, she will begin to pull them back up and collect them into her arms. Some she will disconnect and leave behind.

JENNIFER-MARIE WALLACE - "Nesting Patterns of the Carolina Weaver Bird" is an installation/performance that will take place in the museum's American Gallery. Wallace will be in a seated position, wearing a period dress with a skirt of cage-like panniers housing many small nests. During the evening, Wallace will remain seated as she carefully weaves additional small nests and places them around her on top of the fabric of her skirt.

Performances will take place the entire evening of the 1st of February and may contain adult themes and nudity.

Organized by Heather S. Lineberry and John Spiak for the opening of 'Art on the Edge of Fashion'

Arizona State University Art Museum
Tenth Street and Mill Avenue
Tempe, Arizona

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