when I arrived in Nice on the very blue Mediterannean sea most of the other Fluxus performers had arrived and taken over the cafe’s and concert halls, three different halls all of them with different performances planned. We each got to choose a few event works from the past as well as put up some new objects in the museum and galleries. It was clear to all of us that Ben Vautier had the town at this feet! I remember looking longingly at the rolling ocean and wondering if there would be time for one little dip. Indeed there was just one dip taken with Sara Seagull with Larry Miller as chaperone to pull us out. The undertow was so strong and the rocks very difficult to navigate. beautiful clear cool water.

Overlooking the situation Larry and I decided to leave the indoor spaces for the older works and do something brave and new in the Garabaldi park. We chose the midday and selected a large abundantly spreading oak tree opposite the open air bus stop where the people waiting could form an unprogrammed random audience for my wrap up. This is how we did it: first Ben Vautier announced it to the audience who had gathered around the open air bus station, about fifty people and we stode out to the tree. Larry wore a white tux for his event and I carried my saran wrap and razor only weariing workers togs. We imported the sunlight with mirrors hand held by helpers that glanced the sun off his suit and the saranwrap magically/blindingly!

Attaching him to the tree was not easy as the bark of the tree would not hold onto the wrap so I had to do it tightly and connect the plastic to Larry himself. He looked like a shrink wrapped daikon with his poor nose held tight against his face. He looked very beautiful really and bravely endured the pose until I cut him free with the razor.

Then he did a piece called figure/ground rolling on the grass all over the Garabaldi Park getting green streaks and looking more and more like an impressionist painting which was his intent. I maintained the saran wrap for awhile on my arm and he wore the suit all day, through the supermarket and out to dinner.

Particularly in the supermarket his appearance was much oggled. The white satin tie and white silk shirt stained a streaky grass green. He had actually been dragged by two men across the park to be sure he got the desired green and brown color. I was reminded of Vuillard

Another piece that worked well was the finale of the church concert. the priest was also a vintage wine merchant and we had been savoring his Loire white since mid morning on Sunday. He joined us. The finale of this church event was forming a conga line and shuffling out to the seaside the whole audience lined up with us. We stopped the traffic to get across the street and lined up all of us to view the sea at dusk! this was quite thrilling.

All of these events took place outdoors, wrap up, figure/ground and shuffle. It seems to me that the time is pertinent for this sort of performance. Galleries and museums can always be energized and the surely need it now, by taking to the streets and working with strangers as well as the chance situations that the outdoor presents. Let’s consider an artistorganized art. org performance event all outdoors. Perhaps in Paris or Berlin.

My friend Taketo Shimada is taking to the subways. In the next year he will change the sound of the turnstiles so each has one tone, different from the others making a random sound environment.He is working to do this in a station with five or six stiles to work with. He just got the grant to do this and I’ll let you know the site.I go now to teach for a few weeks in Illinois, then I’ll be making a huge salad in a museum garden on October 12. Do come the the Baltimore Museum of ARt if you are in town around six in the evening. It is a public event celebrating a show opening called Work Ethic. There will be music played in the garden, perhaps Haydn so they see that making a salad is as much music as visual art.

#permalink posted by Alison Knowles: 9/20/03 03:12:00 PM


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