ART HISTORY YOGA
LAURENCE MYERS REESE
The studies of yoga and art history are often taken seriously by their adherents. The solemn attitudes of instructors and students alike often lead to unintentionally funny remarks. Yoga is now practiced in museums and art galleries as a way to drive up attendance. Interested in the intersection of sincerity and humor, “Art History Yoga” attempts to integrate the language and practice of yoga, art writing, and gallery culture.
I performed yoga at exhibition receptions to a pre-recorded audio track of a sun salutation sequence. This audio described the poses in relation to contemporary art, borrowing language from regional art catalogues and academic texts. The facetious sound-track used pretentious jargon, referenced famous works of art, and playfully jabbed at the gallery reception and audience. Mats were provided for volunteer students from the crowd.
While I was in spandex yoga attire, many of the participants were dressed casually for the reception. The dynamic of yoga student vs. teacher shifted, as the participants were unprepared for the lesson. My role became more dictatorial, and less collaborative, in an attempt to reference imbalanced power structures in art academia and writing.
In doing a yogic practice in this setting, I also considered art walks and visiting galleries as a social, perhaps even spiritual, ritual and performance.
This performance debuted at the “Yeah, No, I Mean It” performance art symposium at La Esquina Gallery in Kansas City, MO, and was repeated at the “24/7 Art” exhibition at the Project Box in Oklahoma City, OK.