LAST WEEK! Don’t miss Rituals of Rented Island, which revisits 1970s New York—a groundbreaking moment in the history of performance art—through work by Vito Acconci, Laurie Anderson, and John Zorn, among others.
Happy birthday to Vito Acconci, born today in 1940. In this video, Acconci discusses his performance project Security Zone (1971), which took place at New York City’s Pier 18, near the site of the future Whitney.
“Pig, Child, Fire! consisted of five acts. In the first, a giant puppet hung upside down from the ceiling. A man’s head emerged from its anus as a woman read ‘Stavrogin’s Confession’ from Dostoyevsky’s The Possessed, a live goat (rather than the eponymous pig) nibbled cabbage, and, on the street, a bearded man walked by with the sleeve of his coat on fire. The even more disorienting second act took place mainly on West Broadway as a pair of gangsters darted through traffic, engaging in a slapstick shoot-out.” — from J. Hoberman’s essay on, among other things, Squat Theater, one performance group featured in “Rituals of Rented Island,” a show currently open at the Whitney. I would include the final three acts in his description, but they sounded sort of boring.