Most people greet the mention of performance art with an eye roll. The dirty word of the art scene, it's probably safe to say that performance art gets a bad rap. Now, I'm not here to defend the navel-gazers who push their every impulse on over-eager art consumers, but I will say this for what I've seen of performance art in Dallas in the past year or so: Some of it can be enlightening. And one of the women bringing thoughtful performance art to the forefront is Alison Starr. This month, Starr, one of the women behind Performance SW, programs weekly events at the artist-run space in Exposition Park, bringing in musicians, dancers, artists and performers to create installations and performances. She's calling the series, "In The Room We Discovered An-Other In The Corner," and it kicks off at 7 p.m. Saturday night.
In her best description she's hoping the series will play out as a series of experiments in what performance art looks like, and keep the tradition of things like the Dallas Museum of Art's 2010 exhibition, "Performance/Art," and New York's "Performa 13" alive.
"I'm pretty new to performance art," Starr explains. "I wanted to work with people I know whose work I like and whom I trust to push the limits of what performance art can be."
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The first night of performances, called Tessellated Fold, will be an immersive installation collaboration with music by Lily Taylor, video art by Sean Miller, fiber art by Chesley Antoinette, costume designs by Whitney Bracey and dance by Jacquekya Lee of Brown Girls Do Ballet. According to Starr, it's the one night of the series that will be one fluid piece, although she's not sure exactly how to describe it. Future iterations of the series will include multiple separate performances.
When I ask her the best way to engage with the work, she says don't expect a stage, and don't worry about being pulled into an uncomfortable encounter. The work will fill the space in interesting ways. Come back every Saturday at 7 p.m. for something new.
Serendipitously, Saturday's performance at Beefhaus aligns with Cuban performance artist Carlos Martiel's visit to Dallas. His work tends to be ritualistic and physically stressful, and he'll perform his piece "Ruins" just down the street at CentralTrak at 5 p.m. Saturday.
See the work this weekend. Or come back any Saturday throughout February. More info.