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So, What is The Performance And Public Art Festival? Let Us Explain…


In a little over a week, we will be encountering an eleven day monster of an art happening: the Performance and Public Art Festival. The Festival is composed of lots of things, namely performances that are remountings or rethinkings of historical pieces of the past, performed (well, “reperformed”) by the original artists and/or new artists. Soooo, what does that make it? And, more importantly, how does it fit into Pacific Standard Time? Let’s break it down for you…

Created in conjunction with the Getty Research Institute and LA><ART, the “exhibition” of sorts is highlighting performance art of past and present to tell the history of performance art in Los Angeles. To many’s surprise, the city is a historical hub for performance art. No, not film performance or theatre performance (is there even theatre in this city?). Rather, our city has seen performance art heavyweights like Allan Kaprow and Judy Chicago pass through, tying their means of expression into the history of art here. Showcasing new commissions, reinventions, and restagings inspired by the many radical and trailblazing public and performative works, the festival will provide the opportunity for all of us to see–and be a part of–historic art performances. We are in for a once in a very, very, very long time chance to see performances we’ve read about and only seen in exhibits, like Three Weeks in May (reconceived as Three Weeks in January for the festival) by Suzanne Lacy and Spine Of The Earth by Lita Albuquerque (not to mention new performances and online performances).

Everyday from January 19 through 29, performances will take place throughout Los Angeles. Some days will only have one or two things happening while other days will have over ten art things going on, ranging from site specific, be-here-or-miss-it items like Judy Chicago’s Disappearing Environments, a performance/installation composed of dry ice that will sublimate over the course of days, to the nightly, evolving spectacle and “party” that is Liz Glynn’s Black Box, to Wille Herrón’s East of No-West, a mural installation that is a part of LACMA’s Asco show that will be on view for the duration of the festival. Most of the events are free of charge, while some do require tickets and reservations (and sometimes are a little pricey but come with take aways, like Vaginal Davis’s $50 performance-and-book-giveaway My Pussy Is Still In Los Angeles (I Only Live In Berlin).

As you can discern from the names and nature of events, a lot of these are remountings of important Los Angeles performances. However, a large number of the performances are new entries into the field held at locations that weren’t even around when Suzanne Lacy’s Rape Map originally happened. For example, The Standard Hollywood will see the parking space as art through Warren Neidich and Elena Bajo’s multiple artist creation Art In The Parking Space. Similarly, musician Lou Reed will be entering the mix to share MM3: The Creation of the Universe, a conversation and “3-D audio installation” that creates his album Metal Machine Trio. One that combines both the old and new is Lita Albuquerque’s 500 person performance Spine of the Earth 2012, in which you–yes, you reading this article–can be a part of the performance (and, you can sign up for it here).

For more on the Performance and Public Art Festival, check out the Pacific Standard Time Blog!

Above: Disappearing Environments, Judy Chicago, Lloyd Hamrol, and Eric Orr, 1968. Dry ice environment.

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