October, 2008, Maximum Perception, Contemporary Brooklyn Performance @ English Kills Gallery

October, 2008, Maximum Perception, Contemporary Brooklyn Performance @ English Kills Gallery
Maximum Perception: Contemporary Brooklyn Performance

An Alternate Mode of Performance
English Kills Gallery Presents:
Maximum Perception: Contemporary Brooklyn Performance

“ Are you in Bushwick? You have to come see what’s happening in the street right now, you’ll freak out.”

So said a bystander upon witnessing the first annual “Cloud City Parade,” a creation of the Mercury Twins, Emcee C.M., Master of None and Huong Ngo. None of the spectators of procession knew what to expect, myself included, and as we were handed baby blue felt flags incised with the shape of a cloud by participants dressed in different cloud-like ensembles. We were all summoned to the recitation of the Cloud City mandate by the Co-Mayoral Body (The Mercury Twins); in the midst of the celebratory Maximum Perception closing BBQ. Curious as to what the speech and costumes could lead to, witnesses waved their flags and listened attentively as the Co-Mayoral Body proclaimed their manifesto. Cloud City, they said, “is a haven from the boring the endless horizon of work and no play, it is simultaneously a social critique on nationalism, a call for revolution and a celebration of innocence and the ephemeral.” The inspiration for Cloud City came for a need for an alternate mode of performance, to get the word out about Cloud City and (amusingly enough) to host an ice cream social. An alternate mode of performance, as sought by the Co-Mayoral body, is a most perfect ideal when considering the entire conglomeration of artists presented at the “Maximum Perception: Contemporary Brooklyn Performance” show hosted by the English Kills Gallery in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

On the events website,http://www.maximumperceptionperformance.comexhibitioninfo.htm, can be found the entire performance schedule, which took place over a four week time span and featured over 30 artists. “This exhibition thoroughly seeks to open and explore the crucial dialogue produced by these artists within Brooklyn and its artistic community”

The closing reception of the Maximum Perception show offered to any passerby the opportunity to truly feel a part of the Brooklyn Art Community. Entered through a side wood door, people came into what could easily have been a gathering of friends barbequing on a sultry late summer night, but that was in fact a gathering of some of the most up and coming Brooklyn artists and their supporters. While the “Cloud City” performance offered a more interactive and eccentric experience, the indoor exhibits offered a contemplative, personal look into the artists mind.

Performing on closing night Leah Aron known to the art community as Amber Alert, created a much different performance, one that could be seen as completely in opposition of the carefree sentiment derived from The Mercury Twins’ performance.

Amber Alert sat in a kiddy pool full of white liquid, surrounded by empty long stemmed wine glasses. She was dressed in nothing but a white shoulder length wig, knee high stockings and four-inch platform heels and rolled around in the white substance of the pool coating her naked form .The glasses were filled by the artist herself as she proceeded to self-induce vomit. Behind her played a video of herself masturbating as another participant ejaculated onto her face.

This scene, while obviously disturbing and uncomfortable, spoke strongly of society’s perception of the female body. The choice of the pseudonym “ Amber Alert” is a strong clue into the idea of “lost girls,” with the artist exemplifying the insecurities of so many female members of society. These societal expectations seen in the pool performance were also prevalent in her works entitled “American Peril,” where she takes the well known media image of American Apparel advertisements and makes already provocative imagery even more so, while adding titles that beg to be read more deeply. The series attempts to examine the inner workings of overt marketing strategies by making a spoof of an ad campaign that has often been frowned upon for its overtness.

The Mercury Twins’ and Amber Alert’s performance were just two of many stimulating performances and installations available for the four exhilarating weeks of the Maximum Perception show. By offering these two examples, it is evident that the works presented throughout the show had a wide and encompassing oeuvre, which hopefully allowed many of those newly initiated into the Brooklyn art world, as well as those veterans of the scene, to find a new appreciation in media they were unaware and most importantly could be inspired by.

whitehot gallery images, click a thumbnail.

Desiree Rose

Desiree Rose is a recent graduate of New York University where she studied art history, studio art and urban design. She is currently head of catalogue design at one of the nation's leading philatelic auction houses, as well as an amateur painter focusing mostly on portraiture and single subject works. Desiree lives in Brooklyn, New York.


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