Muscle Nation Wants to Pump [clap] You Up at Ro2

Somewhere in Fitness Heaven, Jack LaLanne's biceps are smiling down, preparing their spiritual descent upon Dallas tomorrow night in a Pentecost of absurd artistic revelry. You see, just like the late-great LaLanne's epic stature, from his Kilimanjaro pectorals to his Stonehenge quadriceps, monumental strength is often best realized in concert, and that's just the concept behind In Cooperation With Muscle Nation, a collective of seven artists holding their first collaborative show, Flex-Us, on Saturday night at Ro2 Downtown.

A play on the 1960s Fluxus movement, Flex-Us will combine live performance art, photography, video, and "found objects [transformed] into sculptures covered in paint," all with an aim to "bring the outside in."

Cryptic, no?

Having recently met one of the artists involved - CentralTrack resident, Ph.D. candidate, teacher, and dancer/performance artist (among other intriguing things) Danielle Georgiou - we decided to investigate the beautiful madness promised by Ro2 co-owner, Jordan Roth. First, a down-and-dirty art history lesson from MoMa:

Derived from Latin for "flow," Fluxus is most commonly associated with George Maciunas, Dick Higgins, and Yoko Ono, and is occasionally grouped with Neo-Dadaism and Pop Art. Very broadly, it consisted of festivals showcasing myriad artistic media, relying heavily on audience participation, free play, and anti-aestheticism as seen through the mundane. Most importantly, Fluxus exists "in the moment," emphasizing "unfettered play in search of uncharted insights." A prominent name in the Fluxus movement, as it exists today, Kent State's Allen Buckoff put together these impeccable graphs detailing fluxus as a both cultural phenomenon and as a formal movement in art history.

A still from Georgiou's "Danseuse Privée."
A still from Georgiou's "Danseuse Privée."
In Cooperation With Muscle Nation

Upcoming Events

About Saturday's exhibition, Georgiou says, "When the opportunity to install a show at Ro2 Downtown came up, we all knew that this was a great opportunity for us to really try out what we want to do as a group. Willie Baronet came up with the name, "FLEX-US," for the show, and it stems from our desire to give back to our Fluxus predecessors."

She also offered this handy Cliff's Notes version:

  • Fluxus is an attitude; it is not a movement or a style.
  • Fluxus is intermedia; it's what occurs when different media intersect
  • Fluxus works are simple; the art is small, the texts are short, the performances are brief.
  • Fluxus is fun; humor is of the utmost importance.

Excited to infuse a dance installation into their programming, Ro2 envisions Flex-Us - and Georgiou's live "Danseuse Privée" -- to extend their comment to performance. Jordan Roth says, "This exhibition compliments our programming so well -- Ro2 Art's mission to provide a venue for progressive art in all media, collaborating with emerging artists from the North Texas region cannot be realized without groups like [Muscle Nation]."

So, what to expect? Expect to feel uncomfortable. Stretched emotionally. In Cooperation With Muscle Nation "seeks to catalyze discussion and extend your mental problematic."

Put it this way: you're going to clench some things. Your teeth, probably. Other things, maybe. But, as Jack LaLanne would attest, you've got to break it down to build it up, and

Flex-Us

promises hardcore artistic iron-pumping.

Flex-Us happens Saturday, March 3, at Ro2 Downtown from 7-10 p.m. Join artists Andy Amato, Willie Baronet, Sandi Edgar, Danielle Georgiou, Hillary Holsonback, Emily Loving, and Robin Myrick for "sculpture, drawings, photographs, installation, performance, drinks and good vibes," at 110 Akard Street.

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