Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance Art Recipient 2006

Claire Oliver Gallery
Opening: January 12 from 6 to 9 pm

513 West 26th Street
NY, NY 10001
212 929 5949

The year is 2125. The American Empire is on the verge of collapse, its white population on the edge of extinction. Fearing continued attacks from foreign nations on its Caucasian population, particularly its women, the United States signs a treaty known as Don’t Touch the White Woman.

This treaty successfully brings peace and stability between world governments, however it does little to deter attacks by rogue terrorist cells. In order to combat this unrelenting enemy, a special Antiterrorist Force is formed. An array of heretofore mythological beings – vampires, werewolves, and the like – previously forced to hide in secret societies emerges after centuries underground. These beings are enlisted and soon become the cornerstone in the global struggle to save the Caucasians. This new antiterrorist taskforce is dubbed the Global Protection Syndicate (GPS).

In the turbulent twenty-second century, the high profile nature of the GPS in ensuring security and stability creates new paradigms of beauty and style. Public devotion escalates, their images multiply and abound. Capitalizing on the newly established stardom of the GPS, some companies even succeed in marketing robotic replicas of its members. Portraits of GPS members posing in the manner favored by European masters of the renaissance and baroque periods – but in the attire of the late twentieth century – grow rapidly in popularity. As their fame escalates, “personality contests,” which allow people to imitate their GPS member of choice, become one of the most representative events of twenty-second century pop culture.

This exhibition recreates one of these “personality contests.” Become jury and contestant at the same time. Vote for the portrait with the best attributes and attitude and compete in the contest by answering questions on the official form. The winner will receive induction into the GPS and have their portrait taken.

The gallery will provide the official form for the contest. Come to see the original portraits and join the contest.

The official presentation of the contest will take place during the opening of the exhibition.

The artist will give tours every day from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm explaining the nature of each portrait as well as its relationship with the history of art and performance.

see GPS Biographies

Artist Biography

Paco Cao (Asturias, Spain 1965) lives and works in New York. He studied Art History at the University of Oviedo ( Spain), where he received his Ph.D. in 1992. Analyzing art, the mechanics of art-making, and advertising strategies, he favors open-ended projects in which artistic processes and their theoretical and commercial components become key elements. Cao, unfaithful to any particular medium, uses a wide array of creative languages and materials.

Among his projects in New York are the 1996 “Rent-a-Body” business enterprise organized in collaboration with Creative Time, in which the artist’s body was offered for rent for a diversity of tasks, and the 2003 look-alike contest “Do You Look Like JP?” organized in collaboration with El Museo del Barrio in NY, Casa de América, Teatro Real, and the Prado Museum in Madrid. For the latter, by organizing a public competition, Cao searched for and found a live doppelganger of the character depicted by Velázquez in the 1650 painting “Juan de Pareja,” on exhibit in the Permanent Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NY.

Among his public projects and one-solo exhibitions are “Usted Misma,” 2003 (Museo Jovellanos, Gijón, Spain); “Ignoto,” 2001 (Museo D’arte Nuoro, Italy); “Border-Line,” 2000 (Skoghall, Sweeden); “La ciudad de Dios,” 1999 (Artfutura, Seville, Spain) and “Alma Mater,” 1997 (Joan Miró Foundation, Barcelona, Spain). He has participated in group exhibitions and events organized, among others, by Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain; White Box, New York; Blue Star Art Space, San Antonio, Texas; Anne Faggionato Gallery, London; Nie Gallery, Munich, Germany; and Círculo de Bellas Artes, Madrid, Spain. He has been awarded grants by the Marcelino Botín Foundation (Spain) and the Consejería de Cultura del Principado de Asturias ( Spain). He has lectured at Princeton University, NJ; Parsons School, New York; University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; Göteborg Universitet, Gothenberg, Sweden; and at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, and Universidad Politécnica de Barcelona, all in Spain.

His latest project “Fèlix Bermeu. Vida soterrada” (“Fèlix Bermeu. A Hidden Life”), 2004-2005, is a fictional biography published as a book written and designed by the artist. During the book’s official inaugural presentation at the Instituto Cervantes (New York), the artist held yet another contest in which the winner was prized with a trip to the literary protagonist’s country of birth.

Models: Fernando Alba, Phil Andrews, Andre Britt, Carlos Castillo, Mario Cervero, Esteban Cordero, Máximo Díaz, William Figueroa, Eugene Karmazin, Yolim Khoo, Thomas Lacronique, Shaka McGlotten, Walter Mondragón, Frédériq (Maître Pâtissier), Kelvyn Pérez, Camilo Rojas Lavaro, Gunjit Singh Sawhney.

Thanks to: Javier Agostinelli, Trenton Dean, Nicolás Dumit Estévez, George Durán, Luis Foncillas, Eugene Karmazin, Ryan Kuonen, Kike Llamas, William Martin, Brenda Ortiz, Harley Spiller, Carmina Leabres, Rosemary Rodríguez, Carla Stellweg, Martha Wilson, Dolores Zorreguieta.

This project was funded in part by Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance Art supported by the Jerome Foundation in celebration of the Jerome Hill Centennial and in recognition of the valuable cultural contributions of artists to society