body parts of speech- 2012
this ongoing project is inspired by refrigerator magnet poetry. participants are asked if they would like to be a Noun, Adjective, Verb, or Adverb and then surprised by a word that corresponds to the event.
throughout the gathering, people act as magnets using their 'Body Parts of Speech' to form sentences and phrases with one another. collaborative poetry that is at once silly and sincere. my favorite.
britton circus- 2013 (brooklyn)
inspired by Andre' Breton's surrealist movement, a circus was constructed in McGolrick Park in Brooklyn. participants were asked to don themselves in white and black: stripes and spots circa 1920 and to perform one aspect of the circus through the lens of the Surrealist Manifesto.
the (us national improv team) strongmen performing feats of 'emotional strength'
the lion tamer taming the crowd using her 'exquisite corpse game'
a poetic medicine man curing the crowd with elixirs
a John Philip Sousa-marching clown
a happening by Captain Hippo
an absurdist play
a sheepherder's song and menagerie
spontaneous group flocking led by Funkle Todd
a surrealist caricature artist
a sinister mime
a juggler who juggled: eating yogurt, eating his own theatre reviews, doing an exercise from a men's health magazine, and reading feminist quotes
unknown artists-2008 (art institute of chicago)
does a painting have a point of view?
in 2008 i decided to give it one.
i found four paintings that were within the Art Institute Collection but not currently on display and translated them onto the faces of four performers. i chose 18th century commissioned portraits painted by 'unknown artists'.
i started painting the performers at northwestern university, we then rode the subway downtown, and i finished the last painting on the steps of the museum.
i was interested in how the performer would feel while wearing the mask and instructed them to have free reign of the museum; walk around and linger in the galleries where they felt they belonged, interact with museum patrons or other paintings, it was their choice. some of the paintings felt very bold while others chose quieter experiences.
while museum-goers snapped photos and asked questions, the museum security became concerned by the presence of moving canvases. i suppose they were more used to telling the people to step away from the paintings. not the other way around.
we are often concerned with which artists are chosen to show at a gallery, but what of the paintings themselves? what do they think?
best picnic of our lives- 2012-present (los angeles)
this ongoing project is set in the old abandoned zoo of griffith park where picnic-ers assemble a picturesque scene replete with puppies, frisbees, a portable record player, banners, delicious sundries, and a vast ocean of blankets spread across the lawn.
this idillic environment encourages and challenges the use of superlative words while encouraging random connections in a public space. by embracing the absurdity of calling every picnic the:
"THE BEST PICNIC OF OUR LIVES"
i challenge participants to ask themselves:
how does superlative language affect our experience?
does calling something the 'best' make it so?
*(note: several picnic guests have met their current love, pet, or new best friend while "best-ing")
pageant- 2012, 2013, ongoing (manhattan)
inspired by the magic of a yearly Christmas Open House my family used to host (imagine a small town putting on a play in our living room), i decided to throw one in Manhattan. i have a great deal of friends who work in the entertainment industry, but realized we rarely get the chance to perform just, for the sake of it. some are asked to collaborate with strangers and others are mined for secret skills. every guest is required to dress in Victorian-era costumes.
the result harkened back to a simpler time; where parlor games reigned, poetry was celebrated, and 'liking' someone's creativity required shaking their hand
i'm not only interested in the experience created on the day, but in the stories and connections that linger