ALL THE ANIMALS IN THE GEMALDEGALERIE
As part of an ongoing, worldwide, multi-year, museum intervention project, I infiltrate prominent museums around the world and silently imitate the gestures of animals in Old Master paintings. The performances are conducted without sanction or permission from museum staff, guards, curators, or visitors. Mining older images for their animal content, I attempt to honor the memory of these deceased and sometimes fictional creatures by teleporting them into the present environment for viewers. I act as a medium between the image and the gallery, past and present, seen and unseen, real and make-believe. Traditionally, animals in these types of paintings have been used to symbolize material status, domesticity or gender. Hopefully, this work treads the boundary of what is acceptable behavior in sanctioned “cultural spaces.”
This work is part of a new body of “invisible actions” that I am compiling and enacting as often as possible. My goal is to leave just a whiff of the performance in the air—with no physical or environmental residue behind. Other “invisible actions” in this series have included deliberately planting “performance rumors” in discussions with museum guards and using these rumors, rather than artifacts, as the sole form of documentation. Enacted at the Gemaldegalerie in Berlin, this iteration of the piece took place in May 2015 as part of the 5th Month of Performance Art Berlin (MPA-B.) Documentation was gathered with the assistance of gallery goers, social media, and the occasional cooperative museum security guard. Past interventions include work at Tate Britain and the De Young Museum. In July 2016, I will complete the Franklin Furnace Fund Award Project at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.