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Contents for March 24, 2010
1. Melinda Klayman, FF Alumn, at the Red Devil Lounge, San Francisco, April 10
2. Paul Henry Ramirez, FF Alumn, at The Newark Museum, NJ, thru May 23
3. Shirin Neshat, FF Alumn, at MoMA, Manhattan, March 30
4. Penny Arcade, FF Alumn, in The New Yorker, March 15
5. Nicolas Dumit Estevez, FF Alumn, at Project Luz, LIC, Queens, March 28
6. Heather Cassils, FF Alumn, in new Lady Gaga video, and more
7. RENO, FF Alumn, at Dixon Place, Manhattan, March 29
8. Frank Moore, FF Alumn, at Temescal Arts Center, Oakland, CA, March 27
9. Diane Torr, FF Alumn, at La MaMA, Manhattan, April 5
10. Halona Hilbertz, FF Alumn, at WAH Center, Brooklyn, thru April 11
11. Julie Atlas Muz, FF Alumn, at Abrons Art Center, Manhattan, April 19
12. David Medalla, FF Alumn, March-April events
13. Marilyn R. Rosenberg, FF Alumn, new publication now available
14. Nora York, FF Alumn, at Joes Pub, Manhattan, April 12
15. Urban Bush Women, FF Alumns, in the New York Times, March 21
16. Marina Abramovic, FF Alumn, in the New York Times, March 20
17. Deirdre Lawrence, FF Member, in the New York Times, March 18
18. Claudia DeMonte, FF Alumn, at Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson, April 6, and more
19. Mark Block, FF Alumn, at Emily Harvey Foundation, Manhattan, thru April 2
20. Martha Wilson, FF Alumn, at Parsons, Manhattan, April 7

1. Melinda Klayman, FF Alumn, at the Red Devil Lounge, San Francisco, April 10

Hiya Ant fans!

We've been busy little worker ants since the last time you saw us!

We'll be playing a weekend gig - Saturday April 10th at the Red Devil Lounge. We're playing along with other awesome 80s tribute bands that night - Erasure-esque, Luv 'n' Rockets, and Reptile House (Sisters of Mercy).

Hope to see you there!

-Madam & the Ants



2. Paul Henry Ramirez, FF Alumn, at The Newark Museum, NJ, thru May 23

BLACKOUT: A Centennial Commission
by Paul Henry Ramirez
Through May 23, 2010

Newark Museum
49 Washington Street
Newark, NJ 07102


Paul Henry Ramirez Transforms Newark Museum's Court Into Blackout

Related Programs for BLACKOUT:
Wednesday, April 28, 6-8 PM
Centennial Conversation: Abstract Art — A Living Legacy

Using a palate of playful pop-inspired colors and stark black, acclaimed artist Paul Henry Ramirez transforms the Newark Museum's formal architectural signature of the Engelhard Court into an animated, artistic space in BLACKOUT: A Centennial Commission by Paul Henry Ramirez, on view through May 23.

Organized by E. Carmen Ramos, Guest Curator, BLACKOUT is the fourth and final commissioned project initiated to celebrate the Newark Museum's Centennial year. To the delight of museum visitors, each site-specific installation has been extraordinary in its content, creativity and unique departure from anything else on exhibit.

Celebrating the possibilities of abstraction in contemporary art, BLACKOUT allows viewers to experience painting as an environment that one can enter. Using the Charles Engelhard Court as his canvas, artist Paul Henry Ramirez employs his signature curvaceous biomorphic forms amidst a profusion of pop-inspired colors that punctuate the twelve arches surrounding the sky-lit atrium.

Dynamic rounded and black forms and fine lines spill and shift against the adjacent walls further animate the space, as do three playful geometric canvases that are presented against bold, colorful backgrounds. Together these elements create a dynamic tension between curves and angles, color and form, movement and stasis, human and architectural scale. For visitors familiar and new to the Engelhard Court, BLACKOUT will spur a rediscovery of the beauty and monumentality of the Museum's traditional architecture.

Like some of the pioneers of abstract art, Ramirez seeks to empower viewers as active participants. His site-specific installations—which dissolve the boundaries between art object and gallery space—grow out of Ramirez's dialogue with specific environments. By painting wall surfaces and incorporating three-dimensional elements, deliberately integrating canvases into painted environments, and carefully orchestrating everything from lighting to furniture, Ramirez creates an aesthetic environment viewers physically experience as they move and take in the installation from multiple vantage points.

Born in El Paso, Texas, Ramirez moved to the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area in 1990 where he began to develop his signature style of pop-inspired abstraction. Since 1994, he has created site-specific installations that push the boundaries of how we experience and define painting.

"The transformation of the Engelhard Court is a remarkable undertaking, both in conception and implementation, and it is the perfect culmination to our Centennial Celebration," remarked Mary Sue Sweeney Price, Director of the Newark Museum. To mark the Museum's Centennial, five contemporary artists, Jennifer Angus, Yinka Shonibare MBE, Marylou Tibaldo-Bongiorno and Jerome Bongiorno, and Paul Henry Ramirez, were asked to explore spaces within the Museum to create insightful investigations that draw upon connections within the various collections, curatorial departments and the Museum's longstanding vision.

Wednesday, April 28, 6-8 PM
Centennial Conversation
Panel Discussion: Abstract Art — A Living Legacy
6-7 PM Coffee Reception; 7-8 PM Program
Pre-registration required; call 973.596.6550.

Matthew Deleget will moderate a discussion with an international group of contemporary artists including Lenora de Barros, Paul Henry Ramirez and Don Voisine. The artists will talk about the legacy of constructivist abstract art as it relates to their work and explore why abstraction continues to be a vital mode of expression.

Podcast: To view the podcast about Paul Henry Ramirez and BLACKOUT, please visit The Newark Museum's official page on YouTube, download it on Itunes, or watch it on http://www.newarkmuseum.org .

Newark Museum
49 Washington Street
Newark, NJ 07102
Mary Sue Sweeney Price, Director

For Further Information:
Please visit http://www.newarkmuseum.org
Contact: publicrelations@newarkmuseum.org or call 973.596.6638

Also check out the live interview at:

BOMB on the Scene Paul Henry Ramirez: BLACKOUT @ The Newark Museum
By Richard J. Goldstein Mar 10, 2010 Check it out here. http://bombsite.powweb.com/?p=8053



3. Shirin Neshat, FF Alumn, at MoMA, Manhattan, March 30

Dear Friends:

We are happy to announce that "Women Without Men" is finally coming to the New York, as part of the New Directors/New Films , a program of MOMA and the Film Society of Lincoln Center. Please join us if you can, the following is the exact information:

MOMA: Tuesday, March 30, at 6:15 pm
LINCOLN CENTER: Walter Read Theatre: Wednesday, March 31, at 9:15 pm

The link to purchase tickets is:

The film's link is: www.womenwithoutmenfilm.com

Much love,

Shirin & Shoja



4. Penny Arcade, FF Alumn, in The New Yorker, March 15

thought this would amuse you if you haven't seen it... here is the link to the profile on me and the new hard cover book
on my work BAD REPUTATION in the New Yorker ...unheard of that I and a book on me and my theater work would be touted in that august, tony magazine.



5. Nicolas Dumit Estevez, FF Alumn, at Project Luz, LIC, Queens, March 28

Looking for the Belliard Family
Borderless Talk at Project Luz
[This presentation will be in Spanish]

During this talk, Estevez will discuss in detail his interest in finding his Belliard family in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, and will project selected materials from the video-photographic documentation created by Sol Aramendi for Borderless in the Dominican Republic and New York City, plus Estevez’ television appearances in the Dominican Republic.

Sunday, March 28, 2010, 6:00pm
Project Luz
45-10 Davis Street
Long Island City, NY 11101
Free Admission
Directions: http://www.mapquest.com/maps?city=Long+Island+City&state=NY&address=4510+Davis+St&zipcode=11101-4306&country=US&latitude=40.74565&longitude=-73.945549&geocode=ADDRESS

About Borderless:
From 2008 until the present, Estevez has been journeying from his home in the South Bronx to his birthplace in Santiago de los Treinta Caballeros, Dominican Republic in order to trace and confirm any connection that he or his family may possibly have to the neighboring Republic of Haiti. Estevez goes to great lengths to prove what most Dominicans would prefer to bury as deeply as possible: any relationship with their neighbors.

Borderless is presented with support from Art Matters, Printed Matter and supported in part by the Ford Foundation, JPMorgan Chase and South West Airlines through a grant from the NALAC Fund for the Arts.

For more information, e-mail indioclaro@hotmail.com or indio_oscuro@live.com.
For a related Q & A between Linda Mary Montano and Nicolas Dumit Estevez visit:



6. Heather Cassils, FF Alumn, in new Lady Gaga video, and more

Check out my cameo in the new Lady Gaga Video:


Check out my interview:
heather cassils
out magazine

Hope all is well.




7. RENO, FF Alumn, at Dixon Place, Manhattan, March 29

"Money Talks w. Citizen Reno"
& Beverly Goodman, Wall St. Insider
MONDAY, MARCH 29th @ 8pm
Dixon Place
161 Chrystie St. (just N of Delancey)
212 219-0736



8. Frank Moore, FF Alumn, at Temescal Arts Center, Oakland, CA, March 27, and more

The Underground Hit!

CRITIC'S CHOICE: East Bay Express

experiments in experience/participation performance

Frank Moore, world-known shaman performance artist, will conduct improvised
passions of musicians, actors, dancers, and audience members in a laboratory
setting to create altered realities of fusion beyond taboos. Bring your
passions and musical instruments and your senses of adventure and humor.
Other than that, ADMISSION IS FREE! (But donations will be accepted.)

Saturday, March 27

511 48th Street
Oakland, CA 94609-2058
For more information
Call: 510-526-7858
email: fmoore@eroplay.com

2010 Dates!
Saturday, April 24
Friday, May 21
Saturday, June 26
Saturday, July 31
Saturday, August 28
Saturday, September 25
Friday, October 22
Friday, November 19
Friday, December 17

"...He's wonderful and hilarious and knows exactly what it's all about and
has earned my undying respect. What he's doing is impossible, and he knows
it. That's good art...." L.A. Weekly

"Merging improv, erotica, entertainment, religion and ritual, Frank Moore -
self-styled shaman, world-renowned disabled performance artist, and 2008
presidential candidate ...." - East Bay Express

Resisting "the easy and superficial descriptions..., Moore's work challenges
the consensus view more strongly in ways less acceptable than...angry
tirades and bitter attacks on consumer culture." Chicago New City

"If performance art has a radical edge, it has to be Frank Moore." Cleveland

"Transformative..." Moore "is thwarting nature in an astonishing manner, and
is fusing art, ritual and religion in ways the Eurocentric world has only
dim memories of. Espousing a kind of paganism without bite and aggression,
Frank Moore is indeed worth watching." High Performance Magazine

"Surely wonderful and mind-goosing experience." L.A. Reader

Downloadable poster here:


In Freedom,
Frank Moore



9. Diane Torr, FF Alumn, at La MaMA, Manhattan, April 5


April 5, 2010 (Easter Monday) at La MaMa E.T.C.

A SHOW TO RESURRECT YOU, La MaMa E.T.C. presents performance artist, Diane Torr, in her new performance, Donald Does Dusty.

Diane plays her brother playing Dusty Springfield.
Growing up on the outskirts of Aberdeen, Scotland in the late 1950s and early 1960s, aware of his sexuality but with no representation of gay identity in the neighbourhood, my brother Donald, focused on Dusty Springfield. It was Dusty and him on the queer team, and all other Aberdonians on the other side. As his sister, and 15 months younger, I took the role of confidant and appraiser, as judge and jury of his Dusty impersonations. Of course, half the gay population of the UK were singing Dusty songs into hairbrushes, but we didn’t know that.

Donald, like Dusty, was a perfectionist. When my parents were out, he would dress in my mother’s clothes and sashay around her bedroom doing the same exits and entrances, over and over. I would get bored, and Donald would stamp his foot and throw a tantrum because I wasn’t paying attention. Later as a dancer and actor, he performed with the BBC dance troupe The Young Generation, and met Dusty on the Rolf Harris Show. A big day indeed.

I started performing in drag in New York in the 80s, and we often joked on the phone that we would do a performance where we each played the other. This fantasy was never fulfilled. Donald died of AIDS in 1992. This performance is partly a homage to him, and his determination to escape Aberdeen and live the life of a gay millionaire in London. It is also a celebration of the lives of Donald and Dusty and those who have inspired each of us, and who have now passed on.

Diane Torr was born in Peterborough, Ontario. When she was four, she moved with her family to Aberdeen, Scotland where she spent her childhood. After graduating from Dartington College of Arts in 1976, Diane transferred to NYC to develop her career as an interdisciplinary artist, focusing on dance, performance and film. She quickly became an integral part of the downtown art scene, performing at Franklin Furnace, the Mudd Club, the Pyramid Club, PS122, etc. Torr is best known for her performances as a male impersonator and as an international pioneer of drag king culture. For the past 20 years, she has toured her performances and taught Man for a Day workshops in North America, Europe and Asia and has appeared on US and BBC television and in the documentary film Venus Boyz. She holds an MFA from Bard College and is a Fellow of Macdowell and of the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program. Over the years, Diane has received funds from the following: NYSCA, Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance Art, Jerome Foundation, Yorkshire Arts Council, Scottish Arts Council, among others. Her book, Sex, Drag and Male Roles; Investigating Gender as Performance, and co-authored by Steven Bottoms, is forthcoming from University of Michigan Press in June 2010. A feature film on Diane’s work, Man for a Day, is forthcoming from Berlin filmmaker, Katarina Peters in September 2010.

Donald Does Dusty is a Glasgay! Commission and has received development funding from the Scottish Arts Council. It has toured to festivals in the UK and Berlin. This is its first presentation in the US.

La MaMa E.T.C is located at 74A East 4th St. between 2nd Avenue and The Bowery
(F/V to 2nd Avenue, 6 to Astor Place, N/R to 8th St.)

Box Office (212) 475-7710
Student & Senior tickets are $10
ONLINE TICKETING www.lamama.org



10. Halona Hilbertz, FF Alumn, at WAH Center, Brooklyn, thru April 11


Creative Couples
Curated by Linda Smith
Saturday, March 13 - Sunday, April 11, 2010
Opening Reception with Performance by Kathleen & William Laziza
Saturday, March 13, 3:30- 6 PM

The Williamsburg & Historical Center (WAH Center) is pleased to present Creative Couples. The works of the six couples in this exhibition exemplify the progress made since the women's liberation movement first enlightened us. The exhibition includes lush and vital paintings, sculptures, photographs and mixed media by six couples:

Susan Gardner and Bruce Brooks, Halona Hilbertz and Donn Davis, Jan Hoogenboom and P.M. Laura, Sheryl Humphrey and Ed Coppola, Susan Jacobs and Larry Scaturro and Linda Smith and Sam Jungkurth.

No doubt the constructive criticism and natural exchange of artists living and working together strengthen and enrich their art, and mutual respect and emotional support create an environment for both man and woman to flourish. Influence between artists is natural. The natural evolution of human thought and culture has been based upon borrowing the best ideas of the other and creatively incorporating them into a new thought and vision.

Each of the twelve artists in this exhibition has a personal vision, distinctly their own, evidently not encroached upon by his or her partner. Thus the exchange of support and nourishment each might have received from the other is not apparent in the individual's work. However, is it hidden in the work, a natural response of love and mutual respect? Does today's "Equality" between a man and a woman make the natural influences between loving couples different than that of yesterday? Has “Individualism”caused each to resist the other's influence and make an effort to hold on to their own vision and expression as a part of artistic independence? While we commonly see jealousy and competitiveness among artists and the sexes, those six couples have managed successfully to give support to each other, respecting for individual expression while appreciating each other’s work. They have stayed together as Creative Couples. Also, it is interesting to imagine what each couples' work would be like if they had never been life sharing partners.

A multi-media collaboration by performance artist couple, Kathleen and William Laziza, will be featured in conjunction with the opening reception of Creative Couples. Kathleen and William have performed at various venues including CBGBs, the Knitting Factory, ABC No Rio and the WAH Center.

Kathleen & William Laziza
The Williamsburg Art & Historical Center (The WAH Center) is a Brooklyn-based non-profit organization founded in late 1996 by artist and philanthropist Yuko Nii. It is a multifaceted, multicultural art center whose mission is to coalesce the diverse artistic community, and to create a bridge between local, national and international artists, as well as emerging and established artists of all disciplines. To learn more about the WAH Center, visit www.wahcenter.net

For further information please contact:
Yuko Nii at wahcenter@earthlink.net, (718) 486-6012 or (917) 648-4290
Linda Smith at lsmithart@gmail.com

Gallery Hours: Saturday & Sunday, from 12 pm to 6 pm
Closed for the holidays, April 3rd & 4th
Yuko Nii, Founder & Artistic Director
Williamsburg Art & Historical Center
135 Broadway
Brooklyn, NY 11211
(718) 486-6012 or (917) 648-4290



11. Julie Atlas Muz, FF Alumn, at Abrons Art Center, Manhattan, April 19

What do you get when a natural born freak & a former beauty queen make a fairy tale?
Beauty and the Beast
By Mat Fraser & Julie Atlas Muz
April 19th 8pm $20
Abrons Art Center
466 Grand Street (At Pitt Street) NY, NY 10002

For directions visit:
http://www.henrystreet.org/site/PageServer?pagename=AAC_abt_directions <http://www.henrystreet.org/site/PageServer?pagename=AAC_abt_directions>

After receiving standing ovations in Zagreb, Liverpool, Zurich, Berlin, and Amsterdam, Beauty and the Beast FINALLY comes to New York City for ONE NIGHT ONLY. This innovative collaboration between British TV actor and Disability Arts celebrity Mat Fraser and New York Downtown Art Queen Julie Atlas Muz has inspired audiences to laugh, cry and question who is truly beastly and who is beautiful.

Exploding any notion of Disney schmaltz, this version of Beauty and the Beast is meant exclusively for adults, no children under the age of 18 are permitted.

As the Beast, Fraser uses his deformity to demonize the desires of humankind, & performs the majority of the show nude culminating in a tender and eye-opening bath in a golden tub. Muz plays Beauty revealing the unconscious obstinacy with which girls are brainwashed by the old fairy tales and yes, by the end of the show is also nude. Included in this wild spectacular is song, modern dance, poetry, shadow play, visually striking images and obscenely hysterical dinners for two.

Both Fraser and Muz are touted for their theatrical irreverence and have performed internationally as independent artists in theatres clubs and Art Festivals for over a decade. Fraser’s social activism & anti PC humour coupled with Muz’s feminist glamour & sexuality create the apex of inclusive (meaning disabled and non disabled artists) performance art theatre, where the message of accessibility is integrated in a engaging, funny, charged and truly joyful play.

Be prepared to feel outrageous love in this funny, moving, sexy, wanton, playful, intelligent and thought provoking show as Fraser and Muz reveal their fantasy world, and perform beastly & beautiful acts of love for you.




12. David Medalla, FF Alumn, March-April events

David Medalla, FF Alumn, is exhibiting two new beautiful art works in the 'Sculpture Now' show, curated by Anthony Heywood, at the Herbert Read Art Galllery of the University of the Creative Arts in Canterbury, England, which opens on March 18 and ends on April 1, 2010. The two art works by Medalla in the show are his 'Study for a Monument to Mondrian and Malevich, incorporating two large kinetic neon sculptures', which David began in Manhattan last year shortly before he was invited by Joao Simoes to participate in the group show 'Strips/Stripes' at the Emily Harvey Foundation in New York, for which Medalla contributed an art work of the young Piet Mondriaan gazing from a window through stripes with the colours of Dutch tulips. The second art work by David Medalla in the 'Sculpture Now' show at Canterbury is entitled 'Homonculus, 1', 2010. It is a mysterious and enigmatic sculpture which belongs to a new series of Medalla's new works collectively entitled 'Angels and Homonculi'. The series are the artist's twin homages to Alchemists of East and West and to 'Illuminati of Past, Prsentand Future'. These new works by David Medalla are linked, symbolically, to the art of William Blake, and, metaphorically, to the art of Marcel Duchamp. Duchamp created an art work dedicated to David: the 'Medallic Sculpture' , which was both a pun on David's surname and a visual metaphor for the bubbles in Medalla's foam sculptures, which are the first works of auto-creative. On Sunday, March 21, 2010, at 8 p.m., David Medalla will perform 'Irradiations' at the Foundry, Old street, Shoreditch, London, England, during the "Equinox" events curated by Jill Rock and David Binns. The event is open to the public, admission free. It will be the 'Envoi' to the Foundry, an important cultural venue in London since the start of the new millenium. The Foundry has been the venue of many London Biennale events and exhibitions. David Medalla's poem entitled 'Dogmaphobia: a Proclamation from the Eclesia Eclectika' will be declaimed by Adam Nankervis during the 'Radical Adults' evening on March 23, 2010, curated by Sebastiaan Schlicker and Lotte Moller, at the 'Forgotten Bar' in Kreuzberg, Berlin. The video 'DM by American Teenager', featuring a conversation between David Medalla and Sebastiaan Schlicher on the eve of Medalla's 'Winterlichter in Berlin' exhibition in 2009, was previewed recently at MUSEUM MAN in Berlin and will be shown in England during LONDON BIENNALE 2010.



13. Marilyn R. Rosenberg, FF Alumn, new publication now available

OK, etceteras is now public and you can preview some of the content directly at this website: http://www.lulu.com/content/8380410

etceteras was gleaned from fragments of visual poems, images of poetry bowls, and collage remnants from bookworks created by artist and visual poet Marilyn R. Rosenberg over the past 25+ years. Originally based on her bookwork named "5", from which many middle layers for etceteras pages can be found, Marilyn R. Rosenberg creates a totally new spatial and meaningful experience that evolves and grows through drawing, color, collage, semic and asemic writing, creating not only a visual feast for the senses but an implied narrative. etceteras is a gorgeous artist's book with strongly multi-dimensional and layered pages. It is unique, hard to put down, and hard not to pick up again and again.

Luna Bisonte Prods
Copyright ©2010 Marilyn R. Rosenberg (Standard Copyright License)
Language English
Country United States
Publication Date February 20, 2010
Page Count 56 pages, soft cover
Size U.S. Letter
Binding Black Coil Bound
Interior Color Full-color



14. Nora York, FF Alumn, at Joes Pub, Manhattan, April 12

& the amazing band
to sing


MONDAY April 12th 7pm

JOES PUB @ the Public Theater
425 Lafayette St.
New York

Book now!

After petitioning her fan base for song requests, the responses were so varied York decided to singEXTREME! songs from stadium bands, country western favorites, Broadway hits and her own iconic original tunes.

Sondheim meets Buddy Holly
Lady Gaga meets Cole Porter
Yip Harburg meets Elton John
Rolling Stones meet their match
LOVE and LOSS ... JOY and SORROW... WAR and PEACE... RICH and POOR.

the Amazing Band,
Jamie Lawrence on piano, Steve Tarshis on guitar, Dave Hofstra on bass, and Peter Grant on drums.
With special Guest
Jack Lawrence on guitar!
extra special guests!!!



15. Urban Bush Women, FF Alumns, in the New York Times, March 21

New York Times
March 21, 2010
The Soft Steps of Diplomacy
Grahamstown, South Africa
IN a municipal hall in the township of Joza, close to 100 children and teenagers stood looking apprehensively at Ronald K. Brown, the artistic director of the Evidence Dance Company of Brooklyn. As seven of the Evidence dancers gently organized the children into rough lines, another dancer, Joel Sulé Adams, beat out a rhythm on drums while Mr. Brown started to swing his arms in simple circles.

The children, many of whom spoke little English, followed intently, losing their initial shyness as the music took hold. As Mr. Brown slowly built more complex rhythmic sequences, they began to smile and infuse the dance with some of the energy and joy they had shown in their earlier display of traditional Xhosa dance. Afterward they sat on rows of chairs before Mr. Brown and raised their hands eagerly, bombarding him with questions. “How did you all come together?” “How does it feel to be in South Africa?” “What do you call your kind of dance?” “How can we learn more dance like this?”

It was Day 1 of the company’s visit to South Africa for a State Department-sponsored tour, the first major dance initiative of this kind in more than 20 years. Along with two other dance companies from the United States, ODC/Dance (which went to Indonesia, Myanmar and Thailand) and Urban Bush Women (which is touring Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela), Evidence was a newly official instrument of cultural exchange. As such, during its monthlong tour — which also included stops in Senegal and Nigeria — it would discover both the exhilarating potential and sobering limitations of such a role.

Joza, the township the company was visiting, is a 10-minute drive and a world away from Grahamstown, where the company was staying in a comfortable guesthouse. Home to South Africa’s most prestigious annual arts festival and one of the country’s top universities, Grahamstown — with its wide, tree-lined streets, restaurants and cultural facilities — stands in vivid contrast to the sprawl of dry, dusty roads and simple houses and shacks of Joza.

That day the Evidence company ate a lunch of tripe stew, soya mince in tomato sauce and stiff cornmeal porridge in one of those houses: a government-issued, one-room concrete structure with a toilet but no separate wash facilities. Containing only a bed, some rickety shelves and two large drums, it is home to Vuyo Booi, a slight man with a broad grin who is the founder of Sakhuluntu, an informal community arts group that he started in 1998 with a handful of children. It is also an unlikely cultural oasis in Joza, a place where around 45 children take free weekday music, dance, drama and literature classes taught by Mr. Booi, Merran Marr (who runs Sakhuluntu with him) and a handful of teenage volunteers.

As an effort to reach nontraditional audiences in countries that might not have entirely favorable ideas about the United States, DanceMotion USA, as the State Department project is called, was making headway with the Joza students in the morning workshop, which included Mr. Brown’s follow-the-leader dance routine, a question-and-answer session and rapturous applause after the company showed an excerpt from one of Mr. Brown’s works.

But the afternoon discussion — officially titled “Basic Skills for Managing an Arts Company” — revealed that breaching fundamental cultural and social differences is not just a matter of good intentions and good will.

“How should we deal with the lack of interest from parents who are alcoholic or drug addicts?” Mr. Booi asked. “How do you keep the children away from friends who will influence them to use drink and drugs? How do we keep these young people, who get no pay, motivated?”

Mr. Brown did his best, responding with anecdotes from his own life and youth in Brooklyn and speaking of issues in his own community. But in a place where children grow up with little access to playgrounds, parks or cultural stimulation, the chasm still gaped.

Mr. Booi spoke animatedly and with some bitterness about the hopelessness of township life for its children. “Black people in townships don’t have dreams,” he said. “The children are not encouraged to hope for the future.” The Xhosa-speaking teenagers, mostly less at ease in English, looked down shyly, reluctant to talk about themselves or their feelings in the presence of their elders.

After the two-hour meeting Ms. Marr said, slightly wistfully, that perhaps just sitting in a room with American dancers was motivation in itself for the young people. “Even if their problems can’t be solved by a talk like this, it connects them to something bigger,” she said.

The township, with its crowds of people, dust-baked roads and bare-bones houses, sits in the midst of the starkly beautiful, mountainous landscape that characterizes the Eastern Cape. Filing out of the Joza library hall into the hot, dry afternoon, the American dancers looked somber and a little overwhelmed.

“I think maybe we were more amazed by them than they by us,” Francine Ott of Evidence said the next morning. “I’m in awe of the mind-set of those teenagers who volunteer with Sakhuluntu, how they understood what was important. We have so many luxuries and distractions in America. Here there is nothing to cover up difficulties. It is what it is.”

The State Department has had a cultural-exchange program in effect for the past 60 years, but dance hadn’t played a major role since the better-financed days of the mid-1980s. “We have music, visual arts and film, but we didn’t have a dance program, which seemed like a glaring omission,” said Maura Pally, the acting assistant secretary at the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. “Then we got a large chunk of money to do an ongoing dance program. We haven’t done this scale and scope before.”

The large chunk was $1 million, awarded to the bureau in 2008 specifically for this program at the end of the Bush administration. The budget for culture at the bureau has been steadily increasing since 2001, Ms. Pally said, with a large jump from $8.5 million in 2008 to $11.5 million in 2009. The bureau plans to maintain the program, eventually opening it to all types of dance.

“Both the secretary and the president have spoken about the power of the arts to connect people in a unique way,” Ms. Pally said. “I think they both view this type of tool as an important tool in our foreign-diplomacy tool chest.”

Because more than $1 million was needed for the three-pronged DanceMotion USA initiative, an extra $370,000 was raised by the Brooklyn Academy of Music, which was selected from a number of competing organizations to produce the tour, select its companies and plan its activities.

Joseph V. Melillo, the executive producer of the Brooklyn Academy, traveled to each country chosen by the State Department, countries that Ms. Pally said were selected partly because of “policy priorities” but also because of practical considerations. “There has to be the infrastructure for a dance presentation, and staffing at the embassy that can help support it,” she said.

(Interestingly, one of those choices was Senegal, a former French colony that still benefits — as do most Francophone African countries — from French cultural intervention. In that soft diplomacy race, the United States still lags behind.)

Mr. Melillo said that he had clear criteria when choosing the companies.
“I knew I needed a formalism and a certain kind of elegance and smartness in Southeast Asia,” he said. “I knew that I wanted to find an African-American modern dance company for Africa in order to demonstrate sensitivity to African traditions but also show advancements into contemporary sensibilities. South America is a very physical continent, even though it’s all these different nations, and Brazil is not Colombia and Colombia is not Venezuela. They have a similar physicality, and I knew they would respect the athleticism, strength and energy of Urban Bush Women.”

How well such endeavors work is difficult to quantify. There is no doubt that the hundreds of schoolchildren watching Evidence perform on their final day in Grahamstown were wildly enthused by the dancing and by the company members, who smilingly answered yet more questions at the end of the show. In Senegal, Mr. Brown said, there was more give and take; students in his classes and workshops were constantly showing him their own steps and dances.

“They organized a sabar party for us,” Mr. Brown said, explaining that sabar is a Senegalese dance that he frequently uses in his choreography. “What I realized is that you have an idea how they dance, but you don’t really know,” he said. “The young people create new dances, and they’ve invented one called ‘Obama,’ which we learned.”

How much the artists gain from their exposure to these cultures seems as significant as how much they give.
“When Americans think about Colombia, they think about drug cartels and kidnappings,” said Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, the artistic director of the Brooklyn group Urban Bush Women, speaking from Cali, in western Colombia, on the second leg of the company’s South American tour. (The Urban Bush Women will be the last troupe to return, on March 30.)

“It’s an amazing dancing culture, and it’s been a revelation to see how dancing and singing and music are part of daily life,” Ms. Zollar said. “And there is a tradition here of welcoming and hosting people that we could do better with in the U.S. On a one-to-one level, you learn so much more about the breadth and depth of these cultures.

“America has lost a lot of ground internationally. The ideas that other countries have about our culture are mass-produced by television. This is an opportunity to communicate in a more complex way.”

No one from any of the tours reported any anti-American sentiment, although the members of ODC/Dance, from San Francisco, experienced some anxiety in Myanmar about whether a concert would be allowed.

“We never felt threatened,” said Brenda Way, the artistic director of ODC/Dance. “There was just a lot of anxiety about whether we had the right permits and so on. The political control is actually very subtle. Our students were profoundly curious and somewhat apprehensive. It was profound to experience a need for artistic expression at that level, and really moving to me. It felt fantastic that the young people were seeing our young people and that would be the image that they carried: This is what America is like.”

How these impressions and encounters translate to broader social and political effect is hard to evaluate.
“Measuring long-term impact is the holy grail of all public sector programs,” said Adrian Ellis, executive director of Jazz at Lincoln Center, the partner organization for the Rhythm Road, a State Department music program that has, since 2005, taken American roots music to more than 90 countries. “How do you measure the impact of a concert in Sierra Leone? It’s the chance encounters that may trigger something 10 years later.”

In Grahamstown the American dancers spoke with some passion about how the trip had affected them, even changed their lives. (“I’m going to stop complaining about the things that don’t matter,” Mr. Adams said after returning from Joza.) And Mr. Brown, speaking to his excited young audience at a free performance in Grahamstown, made a simple and convincing case for DanceMotion.

“We need to move together, to walk together,” he said. “All countries have their wars. We kill people for cellphones, for sneakers, in Brooklyn, in Miami, in South Africa. Dance is for peace.”

Julie Bloom contributed reporting.



16. Marina Abramovic, FF Alumn, in the New York Times, March 20

New York Times
March 20, 2010
Who’s Afraid of Marina?
Upstairs from the child-friendly wonderland of the Museum of Modern Art’s Tim Burton exhibition, and from the placid, chapel-like room devoted to Monet’s water lilies, the new Marina Abramovic retrospective can be heard before it is seen, and it doesn’t sound inviting. The artist’s screams and moans roll out from the sixth-floor galleries in endless loops, a warning nearly as clear as the three signs advising that the show ahead “may be disturbing for some.”

For more than a generation, nudity, pain, grueling endurance tests and even bloodletting have been elements of a certain strain of performance art, one Ms. Abramovic helped pioneer. But they have never come together in New York quite as boldly or publicly as they have since the opening this week of the Modern’s new show.

Such visceral, unsettling art used to generate disgust, outrage and the occasional police visit. Yet a day spent watching people watch the show — naked performers re-enacting some of Ms. Abramovic’s most audacious pieces of the last 40 years; the artist herself in an epic endurance performance in the museum’s atrium; videos of Ms. Abramovic slicing a star into her stomach with a razor blade and standing for several minutes with an arrow in a drawn bow aimed at her heart — shows that it takes quite a bit to shake up most museumgoers these days.

“It’s — what shall I say? — yes, it’s crazy, but not as crazy as I thought it would be,” said Jens Buss, 30, a graphic designer visiting from Munich, who had come to see Tim Burton’s artwork but read about Ms. Abramovic and was intrigued. He stared into a large room where a highly illuminated naked woman was on display high on a wall, perched on a small bicycle seat with transparent blocks beneath her feet to support her, a re-creation of a 1997 work called “Luminosity.”

“I was kind of thinking, ‘You know, I would probably do that,’ ” Mr. Buss said. “I was wondering how much she’s getting paid to be up there.”
Throughout the day, a slightly sleepy Wednesday at the museum, the Abramovic galleries were nearly always crowded, with an audience that skewed young but that included the usual array of weekday art patrons: elderly couples, college groups, parents pushing strollers and even a few families with children, like the Frensleys from Nashville. Susanne Frensley, a high school art history teacher, was on vacation with her husband and two daughters and dropped by MoMA not knowing much about Ms. Abramovic’s work.

Standing with one daughter, Eliza, Ms. Frensley explained that, in an excess of caution, she had dispatched “Daddy” to go in to check out the show first before telling her daughters what to expect inside and asking them if they wanted to see it. Both did, though Eliza, 12, with a green shamrock sticker on her cheek for St. Patrick’s Day, was looking a little oppressed toward the exhibition’s end.

“A lot of it is interesting, but it made me feel awkward, I guess,” she said, adding that of all the difficult-to-take work, a grainy video showing a close-up of Ms. Abramovic’s face as she screamed was the most unsettling for her.

“I don’t know why,” Eliza said. “Maybe because you couldn’t see what was going on and couldn’t tell why she was screaming.” (The video shows the 1975 performance “Freeing the Voice,” in which Ms. Abramovic screamed until she lost her voice.)

Probably the most talked-about part of the exhibition — generating headlines like “Squeezy Does It” in The New York Post — is a re-creation of a 1977 work in which Ms. Abramovic and her partner then, the German artist Frank Uwe Laysiepen, known as Ulay, faced each other naked within the frame of a gallery doorway, forcing people who wanted to enter to squeeze between them. Throughout the day at MoMA, some people did submit to the squeeze, with both men and women generally turning to face the female performer when there was a male-female pairing at the door.

But easily two-thirds of MoMA patrons moving from the first gallery into the second stared over at the flesh-flanked doorway — some people staring for an inordinately long time — and then decided to take the art-free route, through a plain doorway that required no bodily contact.

“I just can’t do it,” said Maria Gabriela Madrid, a fiction writer from San Antonio. “I feel like it’s too personal, too much of an invasion of their space.”

She was making her third visit to the show and had demurred every time when she was egged on by a good friend, Midge Dembitzer, a museum volunteer, to pass between the naked performers. (Ms. Dembitzer noted that while some people she spoke to talked of not wanting to bring their children to the show, one of her friends remarked that she was not bringing her husband: “Too many naked women.”)

By afternoon, the crowd had begun to take on a pronounced Kelly green hue, as some revelers from the nearby St. Patrick’s Day parade somehow found their way upstairs. The glittery plastic bowlers, balloon hats and shamrock-antennae headgear made for a strange juxtaposition with a big stomach-churning photograph of Ms. Abramovic scrubbing the blood from heaps of cow bones.

Rather than shock or disgust, though, the overall mood in the galleries tended to be one of great seriousness, occasionally verging on reverence.
Sefu Simms, 28, an aspiring performance artist, described being humbled in the presence of the work. Henk Abma, a former Dutch Reformed Church pastor who said he had followed Ms. Abramovic’s work for 30 years, began his visit by spending half an hour sitting across from the artist herself, who is installed at a table in the museum’s atrium, where she will sit silently all day, every day, barely moving, for the entire run of the show. (The performance will add up to more than 700 hours of sitting if she can complete it.)

But if there was an ideal patron for Ms. Abramovic — who has written of the importance of the “moment when the performance becomes life itself” — the one who came closest was probably Paco Blancas, 48, a New York makeup artist who spent seven uninterrupted hours sitting across from her last Saturday, during a preview of the show. He had returned to the exhibition’s galleries every day, creating a kind of personal performance piece (and becoming so familiar to the guards that they smile at him and say hello.)

“When you sit across from her, and look into her eyes, you feel the public but you don’t see them anymore,” he said. “It’s almost like you are alone with her in this big museum, which is like being a part of the art yourself.”



17. Deirdre Lawrence, FF Alumn, in The New York Times, March 18

The New York Times
March 18, 2010
Museums Special Section
Groundbreaking Partnership Unites Decades of Research
MOST people associate museums with art and artifacts, not research libraries. But many of New York’s most prestigious museums have extensive collections of books and papers. Four of them — the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Museum and the Frick Collection — have combined forces to share resources, save money and make their holdings more accessible to the public.

Together these institutions make up the New York Art Resources Consortium, an integrated library system formed in 2007 that is supported by grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Its Web site, nyarc.org, just went on line in February. Last year, three of the museums united their collections in one catalog, called Arcade (the Met has kept its catalog separate).

“This allows us to do some things collaboratively that we weren’t able to do individually,” said Milan R. Hughston, the chief of library and museum archives at MoMA. “Together we aggregate close to a million books, articles, periodicals and special collections that document art history.”

The database, at arcade.nyarc.org, is a trove of more than 800,000 records from ancient Egypt to contemporary art that includes exhibition and auction sale catalogs, monographs, periodicals, rare books, photographs and archival materials.

The Arcade program allows users to search all three libraries’ combined holdings and also conduct searches of specific collections. In addition, the Web site has links to recent acquisitions, bibliographies, new digital collections and library blogs.

“The culture of each museum is so unique, they haven’t had a tradition of doing this,” said Deborah Kempe, chief of collections management and access at the Frick Art Reference Library. “It’s groundbreaking in the world of art information.”

“It’s all about making sure that we stay vibrant, alive places,” Ms. Kempe added. “The whole is larger than its parts. We can maximize our strengths. We can showcase collections at each site, but together pack more of a punch. The possibilities are endless.”

The research collections had previously primarily served scholars, museum and art market professionals, collectors and graduate students. But by coordinating their efforts, the museums hope to reach a wider audience. “We all have a mission to the public that isn’t generally known and we want to highlight that,” Ms. Kempe said. “There are many other people that could use this material. We would like the word to be out even more.”

All of these libraries have been affected by the economic downturn, and the consortium hopes to save money by, for example, sharing a subscription to a journal. “Part of the objective is to bring certain economies and efficiencies to our operations, to look at centralizing core activities — cataloging, processing, acquisitions, conservation, storage of print collections, digital collections,” said Kenneth Soehner, the chief librarian at the Met’s Watson Library. “We realized that sustainability — if not survivability — lies in good, strong, effective, collaborative relationships. The goal is to reduce some of the redundancy in the system.”

“The potential for this collaboration and the need for this collaboration is greater every day as we face economic challenges,” Mr. Soehner continued. “I’m still confident that a consolidation of our activities could bring significant cost reductions.”

With a staff of 42 and nearly 700,000 volumes, the Met has one of the largest art museum libraries in the world, Mr. Soehner said. It attracts 28,000 visitors a year and adds 1,000 books to the collection every month. “There is a much greater chance of continuing that distinction through collaboration with other libraries,” he said.

But the consortium has also made the participating museums realize the specific strengths of their individual holdings. “It allows us to see what we have that’s unique and rare,” said Deirdre Lawrence, the principal librarian at the Brooklyn Museum. “The libraries reflect what’s in the museum collections. There is not a lot of duplication.”

“What we’ve been able to do is broaden knowledge of what we have,” she added. “We’ve opened up the doors and let the world in.”
The Brooklyn Museum Libraries and Archives, for example, includes the Wilbour Library of Egyptology, founded in 1934 with the personal library of Charles Edwin Wilbour, one of America’s first Egyptologists, who provided the foundation for the museum’s Egyptian antiquities collection. The Frick has sketchbooks of artists who went to Egypt. “These things all complement each other,” Ms. Kempe said.

The Frick Art Reference Library, established in 1920 by Helen Clay Frick — the daughter of Henry Clay Frick, who founded the adjacent museum — has collections relating to fine and decorative arts from the fourth century to the mid-20th century by artists from Europe and the Americas. Its photo archive includes more than one million photographs documenting the work of 36,000 artists.

“The Frick was collecting in areas the Met wasn’t,” Mr. Hughston said.
If someone wants to research Latin America, they can draw on the Brooklyn Museum library’s Spanish Colonial holdings or the Modern’s contemporary material. “If you’re looking for anything related to Picasso, you’re going to go to MoMA,” said Lily Pregill, Arcade’s project coordinator and systems manager. “But you’ll also find things at the Frick that you may not have known were there.”

The libraries, in turn, can work together to curate online exhibitions, oral histories and other projects. “What we’re looking at is collaborative projects that will fill gaps in terms of research,” Ms. Lawrence said.

“We spend thousands of dollars on books and periodicals,” she continued. “We want them to be used. We don’t want them to just sit on the shelves.”



18. Claudia DeMonte, FF Alumn, at Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson, April 6, and more

April 6th, one person exhibition , Luxury of Exercise, Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson, Ms.

May 2nd, Mapping Beauty, 30 yr overview of my life's work, Mobile Museum of Art, Mobile, Alabama.

Thank you.

Claudia DeMonte



19. Mark Block, FF Alumn, at Emily Harvey Foundation, Manhattan, thru April 2

Mark Bloch
"Secrets of the Ancient 20th Century Gamers"

at the

Emily Harvey Foundation Gallery
537 Broadway at Spring Street
2nd floor
NY NY 10012

March 18- April 2, 2010

Reception Wednesday March 24, 2010, 6-10 pm

Meet the Artist Event
Saturday March 27
Come visit 1 to 7 pm

Upon his 1982 arrival in downtown Manhattan from his native Ohio, Mark Bloch met many of the sixties generation of avant garde artists whom he had long been devouring in written form: artistic heirs to the legacy of Marcel Duchamp such as Dick Higgins and Alison Knowles, Jackson MacLow, Al Hansen, Nam June Paik and others. Many he met at the Emily Harvey Gallery, where, as a young mail artist, he attended openings, events and exhibitions for years, breathing in the sensibilities, techniques and strategies of the previous generation but without them being aware of Bloch’s own secretive work in performance, video or the more traditional art forms, much of it squirreled away in storage lockers or his rarely-visited Lower East Side apartment.

Now for the first time, Bloch, age 54, is “giving back” to that community the late Emily Harvey helped to create, flinging open the doors of his various self-imposed vaults, and paying homage in that same gallery to those mentors of yesteryear with a display of Flux-inspired two- and three- dimensional works in an exhibition called “Secrets of the Ancient 20th Century Gamers” which itself will be presented as a game. Bloch sees the playful but rule-breaking work of the Fluxus, Happenings and Pop artists, “particularly in the 1950s before these activities had a name” as “adventures in poetic game theory” — in particular “the most treacherous game in town but the one with the least consequences—the art world.” Bloch has created a clever institutional critique that takes entertaining shots at that world—but also at his own reluctance to fully venture into it—in the form of an installation of bound, wrapped and tied Storàge Museums. Storàge is an artform Bloch created (“accent on the second syllable like collàge, assemblàge, frottàge,” he says) to poke fun at the art hoarding mentality of many artists: “The artist must prevent at all costs, his work from ever seeing the light of day.”

The Storàge Museums are trunks, cases, card files and other box-like enclosures, hermetically sealed, inviting an inner Houdini-like mental escape from any oppressive Bohemian attitudes that remain from the Old School pre-video game era.

At this information art extravaganza, in addition to his “Erased John Cage Floppy Disk” echoing Rauschenberg’s “Erased DeKooning Drawing” and collages combining the detritus of Venice’s Italian streets with portraits of its most famous residents, Bloch also draws on 30 years of working via the post office as a mail artist with a stamp sheet composition of other people’s stamp sheets, a large sticker made up only of found stickers, an extensive display of his mail art “zine,” Panmag, and finally, a large mixed media collage of “The Death of Ray Johnson,” the visual story of the last moments of his friend and teacher, Johnson—master collagist and founder of the NY Correspondence School—but surprisingly as seen through the eyes of the Symbolist painters and poets.

An early entrant into cyberspace, Bloch (he got his first email account in
1989 and provides a visual pun about that) juxtaposes today’s video-gamer hip hop culture against a thoughtful look back at the secret “rules” of a game that Bloch learned both directly and indirectly from Johnson as well as the likes of self-publisher Wallace Berman, his fellow “enclosure” artist Christo, playful Fluxists George Maciunas and George Brecht, as well as Modernists Duchamp, Kurt Schwitters and Cage. Bloch depicts these eight artists on his postcard announcing the exhibition but he could have just as easily picked a different eight from those same generations. Each had much to offer the likes of Bloch, eager to soak it all in, and despite his inclinations to the contrary, he has much to say back in return.

Mark Bloch is a writer, performer, videographer and multi-media artist living in Manahattan. In 1978, this native Ohioan founded the Post Art Network a.k.a. PAN. New York University's "Downtown Collection" at the Fales Library now houses an archive of many of Bloch's papers including a vast collection of mail art and related ephemera. For three decades Bloch has done performance art in the USA and internationally. In addition to his work as a writer and fine artist, he has also worked as a graphic designer for ABCNews.com, The New York Times, Rolling Stone and elsewhere.

He can be reached via his website panmodern.com and at PO Box 1500 NYC 10009. He is a writer about art for "White Hot Magazine" and is the author of "Robert Delford Brown: Meat, Maps and Militant Metaphysics" published by the Cameron Art Museum.



20. Martha Wilson, FF Alumn, at Parsons, Manhattan, April 7

Public Lecture by Martha Wilson
Parsons School of Art, Media and Technology
Visiting Artists Lecture Series
Wednesday, April 7 at 3:15pm
Kellen Auditorium, 66 Fifth Ave. between 12th and 13th streets.
Event is free and open to the public
I would also add our URL: http://finearts.parsons.edu/



Goings On is compiled weekly by Harley Spiller

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