What's Hot
MOST READ
What's Going On

Calendar

Search thousands of events in our database.

Restaurants

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Nightlife

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

loading...

OW on Twitter
OW on Facebook
Print Email

ARTS

Holding pattern

Is Brian Feldman's '24 Hour Embrace' serious performance art or schtick?

Photo: Tisse Mallon, License: N/A

Tisse Mallon

Fellowship of the ring - Brian and Edward Feldman's all-day hug takes place in the boxing ring of an Orange Avenue gym — a comment on father-son relationships?


24 Hour Embrace (After Young Sun Han)

12 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. Sunday, June 19
Orange Ave Gym
1616 N. Orange Ave.
brianfeldman.com
$10

In 2005 a documentary about Warhol dealer and Pop art curator Henry Geldzahler was released, titled Who Gets to Call It Art? The film didn't have a good answer for that, really, but merely by posing the question, it lodged itself in the brains of many of its viewers (or reviewers, anyway) – who is the ultimate arbiter of whether an oversized cardboard Brillo box or a silkscreen of a movie star has the same value as a Rodin bronze or an oil by Leonardo?

Performance art drags its own baggage of questionable credibility. Just last week I was describing one of my favorite conceptual action pieces to a fellow editor – Joseph Beuys' "How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare" – and by the time I got to the part about how the gold leaf and honey coating Beuys' head symbolized his desire to reinvigorate human thought … well, he went from politely raised eyebrows to full-on get-the-fuck-outta-here groaning. I didn't even get to the iron slab attached to Beuys' boot (masculine strength, connection to the earth).

Marina Abramovic, the self-described "grandmother of performance art," said in a 2005 ArtInfo interview that a photo of Beuys cradling the hare "was described by some critics as a new ‘Mona Lisa' of the 20th century." At the time of that interview, Abramovic was embarking on her Seven Easy Pieces, a Guggenheim show in which she re-enacted seven famous performance pieces, including "Dead Hare." Abramovic is a particularly apt reference here, for a few reasons. First: Orlando artist Brian Feldman was one of more than a thousand museumgoers who sat across from her and gazed into her eyes during her massively hyped 72-day MOMA show, The Artist Is Present. Second: In its temporal and endurance aspects, Feldman's work is very similar to Abramovic's. Temporal art is simply art that intentionally ceases to exist; it could be a site-specific dance or a sculpture built of ice and twigs in a riverbed. Endurance art can be a bit darker (there's a stripe of vicious self-harm in the performance art repertory; e.g. Chris Burden filming himself being shot in the arm, nailed to a car, etc.) but it refers to any extreme of repetition or duration – say, for instance, jumping off a ladder every four minutes for a full day.

Feldman's projects, well-known to most Orlando cultural punters, are too numerous to examine here; indeed, their very profusion might be considered significant, a work in itself exploring compulsion. He examines and reflects back to the audience his (our) relationship to time ("Leap Year Day," in which he, yes, jumped off a ladder 366 times in 24 hours on Feb. 29, 2008), to self-image, to notions of entertainment, consumerism, religion ("Hanukkah in Little Havanaka," "ChanIKEA™," "Jai-Alai Hanukkah"), to nourishment (multiple "Brian Feldman Eats Everything Off the Menu" actions) and to politics. His most famous piece, "Brian Feldman Marries Anybody," is also the most explicitly political: In "Part 1," Feldman advertised for a stranger to marry him; in "Part 2," after a lesbian couple applied for and was denied a marriage license at the Orange County Courthouse, Feldman and local artist Hannah Miller, previously unacquainted, were wed on the spot.

We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus