Live works proceed through collectives. A painting or sculpture conceals its process, leaving only the perfect object to our view. Performance can’t hide its ticket-takers, ushers, and technicians; the scene of its exhibition is the scene of its production. In this story about producing live work for museums, watch as artists assemble these casts and crews, direct a temporary troupe, and imagine a new community. Consider then how these artists invite us into this ensemble. Picture yourself on stage too.
Frank Smigiel is Associate Curator, Performance & Film, at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. His curatorial interests include the intersection of theatrical and live art forms, commerce by artists, and queer histories. Smigiel has realized new performance work with Athi-Patra Ruga, Carolina Caycedo, Rashaad Newsome, Allison Smith, Rebecca Solnit, Stephanie Syjuco, and Mika Tajima/New Humans, among others. He recently curated SFMOMA’s first performance group show, with new commissions by Desirée Holman, Naomi Rincón Gallardo, and Jacolby Satterwhite.
Desirée Holman, Sophont, 2015 (production still). Photo by Charles Villyard.