Technically, a museum is a building. Attendants patrol the halls to protect the art, the white walls offer a distraction-free setting to look at paintings, which curators position and explain on placards, giving visitors an organized, insightful experience of an exhibition. But art -and the experience of it - has never been limited to a trip to the museum and in the information age, the Internet expands artistic output like never before.
One such output, with strong Dallas ties is that of (wo)manorial, an art collective that functions as an online exhibition hall for artists considered with issues of gender, the female experience and the subject of femininity. Exhibiting online renders three-dimensional objects into 2-d visualizations; although you aren't allowed to touch the art in museums, it's there just inches from your fingertips.
A new online exhibition, Inside)(Outside, exploring international variations of performance art concerned with topics of gender opens on the Web site, Sunday at midnight. Curated by local artists, Courtney Brown and Allison Starr, known collectively as Performance SW, the work exhibited is meant to challenge the ephemeral nature of performance art, as well as the performative nature of gender roles. And come August 16, participating artists will visit Oak Cliff in the flesh for what Brown calls a "Deep dive into performance art."
"Allison and I travel to see dense displays of performance art. We have to leave the city," Browns says. "Performance art is growing in popularity here, but I haven't seen a display like what we're planning."
Performance SW slated 19 artists to perform between the hours of 6-11 p.m. in various locations, all walkable from Oil & Cotton, which will serve as a home base for the event.
The artists range from Dallas-based artists, including Rebecca Carter and Pierre Krause, and toCuban artist, Carlos Martiel, who is currently in residence in Miami. There will be a broad spectrum of perspective and aesthetic, offering an evening of performance art that promises to be diverse and stretch the viewer's experience.
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"We're always looking to advocate for the medium and presenting it in its best form," Brown says. "People can come and go for just one day and see a lot of different stuff - some funny things, some sad things and some really challenging work. We're excited to dedicate an entire evening to performance, not just keep it as a side focus in the gallery."
Mark your calendars now, because this may be the only time Brown and Starr organize an event this extensive. It's far from their final efforts to program performance art though. Currently they are on the hunt for a temporary space to program monthly events, giving artists a chance to explore their craft, or venture into performance art for the first time.
"We're looking to do a sort of pilot - try it for six months and see what kind of support there is in this city for something ongoing like that," Brown says. "There are artists who have expressed interest in performance, even ones who don't call themselves capital P performance artists. We want to see if it's something we can make happen in Dallas."
See Inside)(Outside online this weekend at womanorial.com and head to Oil & Cotton at 6 p.m. August 16 for the live performance showcase. Keep up to date with PerformanceSW at performancesouthwest.org.