Alternative to passé thought, art not only hangs on a wall to be viewed while nursing a highball of scotch. Art moves, dances, writes, sits, yawns—that is—when art happens to also be the artist. On Tuesday, March 1, BOMB Bash, 2011, clearly demonstrated the presence of performance in contemporary art ideology. Presented were six collaborations: FRANKLIN EVANS, NIALL NOEL JONES & PAUL DAVID YOUNG; JOYCE KIM & KATHARINA STENBECK; DEVILLE COHEN & BRANDON DOWNING; RASHAAD NEWSOME & CO.; BLVCK AMERICA & JOSHUA SEIDNER; LOVETT/CODAGNONE & RAUL MARTINEZ. Additionally, BOMB Magazine offered a “Build Your Own BOMB” station, where viewers selected past articles from back issues, then Xeroxed and stapled with a special cherry on top—a personal cover designed by Tom Otterness.
To further promote a healthy appreciation of performance art, BOMB Bash, 2011, reached a new audience by trading grassroots for the Chelsea piers. In 2010 the event was held at Glasslands Gallery in Williamsburg, BK, but this year BOMB Magazine threw the party at a Blue Chip gallery. Even the drink list was on view; Hamid Rashidzada and Greg Seider owners of The Summit Bar, nominee for “Best of Metromix New York 2011,” exhibited mixology. Rashidzada and Seider mastered the cocktail after years of practicing alchemy and roaming the world where they found herbs and spices grown only in certain climates. They either purchased seeds to grow in New York City or ordered the ingredients. Perhaps The Summit Bar might even go down in history with once one of its cocktails becomes an acquisition to The Museum of the American Cocktail in New Orleans, LA.
Unfortunately, the only crux of performance remains its ephemeral nature. Without documentation, performance may continue to be forgotten by some art critics.
When faced with the challenge of analyzing performance art in his 2010 New York Times article, “Sitting With Marina,” Arthur Danto considered the average amount of time a person spent looking at a painting, sculpture or another fixed work of art. He noticed that performance art rendered a tension between viewer and art. When presented with a living person, a viewer must deliberate social axioms as well as the artist’s intention. In turn, a viewer appeared to spend quite a bit more time involved with a performance; eventually, the a few would return multiple times to view the same work.
A performance artist nearly coerces the viewer to fully engage with the work, and therefore naive or veteran art followers receive the luxury of taking time to contemplate and question the “meaning.” Whether the viewer enjoys or is perplexed by what he or she sees, the person lingers. Fascinatingly, during a performance the artist displays the objective of his or her art. This honesty renders anxiety similar to a car accident, when one attempts to look away.
Why does one stare at a girl who sits on a gallery floor for an uncomfortable amount of time, yet one presumably would not glance twice at the same girl on the street or subway?
The revival of performance reflects upon past conceptual ideologies and forms, yet also refers to humanity and psychology. BOMB Bash’s simultaneous performances complicates the experience, which forces the viewer to consider choreography, text, paint, dance, costume, planning, composition, construction, projections, music and the fleeting visual image. The viewer constantly digests each movement or noise. A bombardment of fragmented thoughts and experiences results in a theory proposing that the canonical concept of art proves to be more ephemeral than the performance.