Strategies of performance animate art — and site — in SFMOMA's 'Stage Presence'
Other salient themes running through the show explore the conceptual and practical possibilities in rehearsal, reenactment, and the speech act. To this end, the installation Today Is Not a Dress Rehearsal — which repurposes video of a Judith Butler lecture and other materials from an eponymous three-day collaborative performance by Mika Tajima (with her group New Humans) and Charles Atlas in the museum's atrium in 2009 — offers subtle food for thought amid a visual and aural repositioning of a privileged form of address.
Also intriguing along similar lines is Sharon Hayes's restrained yet progressively enthralling four channel video work, Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) Screeds #13, 16, 20, & 29 (2003). In each of four television screens fixed with audio headphones, viewers see and hear the artist reciting from memory each of Patty Hearst's four video messages to her parents while a hostage of the SLA in 1974, with prompting from an unseen audience each time she veers even slightly from the script. It becomes, especially in the era of Occupy, a resonant occasion for a collective act of remembering as well as re-presenting, re-creating, resituating, and reformulating an iconic but elusive link to a radical past.
"Rethinking formats of presentation is a key to many of the works and the whole show," says Frieling. "We were ultimately interested in art works that stress this open process while reflecting about the conscious act of staging." *
"STAGE PRESENCE: THEATRICALITY IN ART AND MEDIA"
Through Oct. 8, $11-$18
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
151 Third St., SF