For Immediate Release

THE BRONX MUSEUM TO HOST
“A DAY OF COLLABORATIVE PERFORMANCE”

Featuring performances by contemporary collectives

(Bronx, NY) – In celebration of its current exhibition “Making It Together: Women’s Collaborative Art and Community,” The Bronx Museum of the Arts will host “A Day of Collaborative Performance” on Saturday, May 17, 2008, from 12 – 6pm.  Organized by guest-curator Carey Lovelace, the event will feature continuous carnival-like events and performances by contemporary and historic collectives including The Brainstormers, Guerrilla Girls, Inc., Spiderwoman Theatre, Ridykeulous, Broadband, Christal Brown and INSPIRIT, 6+ and The Waitresses

Highlights include performance-art group The Waitresses, who will kick-off the festivities with their All Waitress Marching-Band parade.  They will arrive en masse at the museum at 12:30pm, and then return at 4pm to stage an “Unhappy Hour,” serving drinks and snacks.   (Women will pay 77 cents to men’s $1.)  Anarchic spirits Ridykeulous will present “That Looks Really Cute On You!”, an afternoon-long performance event in which they build a towering statue made of plaster and found materials to the accompaniment of the band Legends. It will culminate with the smashing of the sculpture. The event will also feature poetry by Dr. Laurie Weeks, along with surprise guests. And Spiderwoman Theater will stage a historic retrospective, multi-generational performance based on “storyweaving.”

Other ongoing installation/performances include the young collective the Brainstormers.  In collaboration with the legendary Guerrilla Girls, Inc., they will hold a satiric demonstration in front of the Museum. And, via webcam, the transnational feminist collective 6+ will create an interactive travel "tour” of Bethlehem.  Organized by Christal Brown’s INSPIRIT, teenaged girls in Project: BECOMING will create living tableaux from exhibited art works, exploring issues of body image and objectification.   And the internet-based GuerrillaGirlsBroadband will enlist “soldiers” at an anti-war “Feminist Recruitment Center” in the Museum’s lobby.

“A Day of Collaborative Performance” is the live-performance component of the exhibit “Making It Together” which explores an important chapter in recent history when women artists, inspired by the 1970s Feminist Movement, worked collectively in new ways to engage communities and address social issues.  The exhibition, which runs through Aug. 4, was cited in The New York Times as “full of historical detail,” reminding that “feminists could raise hell as well as consciousness.”  The afternoon of installations and performance will demonstrate, in a rowdy and anarchic way, how feminism’s innovative approaches to activism continue in the present, illuminating spectators on issues ranging from gender equality to race, violence, technology and international politics.   

Performer Bios and Project Descriptions:

The Brainstormers, Maria Dumlao, Elaine Kaufmann, Danielle Mysliwiec, and Anne Polashenski, is a collective of younger artists who, through public performance, exhibition, publication, internet, and video, has rekindled discussion on gross gender inequities in the contemporary art world.   They are collaborating with the legendary Guerrilla Girls, Inc to picket the Bronx Museum, protesting the lack of males in the Museum’s "Making it Together" show.  They will also complain about the glut of feminist shows littering the museum world. And they will entice passersby to help create funny, crazy “Mad (Feminist) Libs”-style letters.  These will be sent to galleries, museums and other perpetrators of art world S & M (sexism and misogyny.)  Guerrilla Girls, Inc. established by two founding Guerrilla Girls to continue the use of provocative text, visuals and humor in the service of feminism and social change.  They have written books and create projects not just about the art world, but also film, politics and pop culture.

INSPIRIT was founded in 2000 by Christal Brown, formerly of dance troupe Urban Bushwomen, bringing together and showcasing young African-American female artists and choreographers. While navigating her own course in the field of dance, Brown came across many young female performers whom she admired and desired to collaborate and/or perform with.  As a part of INSPIRIT's “rites of passage” program for teenaged girls, Project: BECOMING, participants will engage in an activity called "On Display," in which troupe members will tackle the issues of public perception and objectification.  In the tradition of Agusto Boal's Theater of the Oppressed the young women will take inspiration from the exhibitions around them, attempting to embody the essence of the pieces, forming tableaux, and becoming “living art.”  A discussion about being on display will follow, to unearth discomfort and examine self-perception among the young women.

Founded by noted artists A.L. Steiner and Nicole Eisenman, Ridykeulous is a collaborative effort to subvert the languages, both theoretical and visual, which are commonly used to define Feminist or Lesbian art. By exploiting the style of a periodical and borrowing heavily from the aesthetic sensibilities of Oezine culture, concert promo-flyers, and counter-culture manifestos, Ridykeulous purports to distill a cultural moment or tap into the blood and guts of an underground movement.  “That Looks Really Cute On You!” will be a rough + tumble dive into the polemics of sculpture in dialogue “with our favorite icons du jour. Live object fabrication with accompaniment from those who wish to be associated with us.” Performance features Ridykeulous, the band Legends, Dr. Laurie Weeks, Nicola Tyson, Celeste Dupuy-Spencer and special surprise guests.

6+ (Saima Alshaibi, Wendy Babcox, Rozalinda Borcila, Mary Rachel Fanning, Yana Payusova, and Sherry Wiggins) is a collective of women artists from different cultural backgrounds, located around the world who seek to develop a supportive, creative network through a practice of direct engagement, exploring different possibilities for artistic cooperation across great distances, both geographic and cultural. “Walking Bethlehem” is a media-based live performance which proposes a series of narrative and descriptive experiences situated in the Holy Land city - based on the group’s collective travels there during the course of the last four years. The performance, which will involve interactive exchanges between a “guide” in Bethlehem and museum visitors via webcam, draws inspiration from the importance of existing “alternative tours” or “unplugged tours” provided by a variety of Palestinian organizations.  These are an effort to offer the Western visitor a glimpse into the lives of Palestinians living in the Holy Land, to act as a counter-narrative to the images in the Western Media.

Founded by sisters Lisa Mayo, Gloria Miguel and Muriel Miguel, Spiderwoman Theater has expanded storytelling methods, Native traditions and feminism throughout their 30-year career.  The women call their technique of working story-weaving, as they produce designs and weave stories with words, movement and rhythms, and more to create an overlay of interlocking stories, where fantasy and power are comically intertwined.

A sister organization to the Guerrilla Girls, Inc., GuerrillaGirlsBroadBand, www.ggbb.org, is a bevy of young, next-generation feminists and artists of color. “The Broads” combat sexism, racism and social injustice, exploring such taboo subjects as feminism and fashion and discrimination in the wired workplace through their website and live interactive activist events.  In celebration of Armed Forces Day and in allegiance with other activist collectives, GuerrillaGirlsBroadband will be setting up a Counter-Recruiting Station to aid in the anti-war effort.  Counter-recruits will be enlisted to help shut down recruiting stations, especially those which target students in High School and College.

The Waitresses is a collaborative performance group formed during the late seventies in Los Angeles by artists who were also waitresses. From 1978 – 1985, the group created site-oriented works for public places, like restaurants, parades, women’s conferences, labor conferences; and designed installations for galleries and museums.  They discovered the waitress is analogous to the position of women worldwide.  They focused on four areas of interest:  work, pay equity, sexual harassment, and stereotypes of waitresses and women, such as mother / nurturer, servant / slave, and sex object / prostitute.  When The All City Waitress Marching Band first lock-stepped in the Pasadena DooDah Parade in 1979, women made 43 cents to every dollar a man made. Now, they make 77 cents, and people of color make 71 cents, for every dollar a white male makes - for the same job.  Original Waitresses Jerri Allyn, bandleader Chutney Berry, and Anne Mavor, are marching again to a pot, pan and kitchen utensil band, still singing for a living wage--striking up the pans to raise awareness about the discrepancies between genders and classes.

The Bronx Museum of the Arts

The flagship cultural institution of The Bronx, founded in 1971, The Bronx Museum of the Arts focuses on 20th-century and contemporary art, while serving the culturally diverse populations of The Bronx and the greater New York metropolitan area. The museum’s home on the Grand Concourse is a distinctive contemporary landmark designed by the internationally-renowned firm Arquitectonica.

The Bronx Museum of the Arts maintains a permanent collection of 20PthP and 21st-century works by artists of African, Asian, and Latin American ancestry.  Additionally, the Museum collects works by artists for whom The Bronx has been critical to their artistic practice and development. The Museum’s educational offerings spring from these central programs with outreach to children and families as well as adult audiences. For more information please visit www.bronxmuseum.org