Came across this article in the Times tonight: The Serial Sleepover Artist.
The jist: Ms. (Robinson) has spent the past four months being a house guest at various strangers’ (most seem to be other creative types) NYC apartments for the sake of performance art. As someone who has spent the past eights jumping from couch to air mattress to bed to floor across the country, I’m just not impressed by her quest — particularly given the limited, less than 10 (?)-mile radius that is NYC and its boroughs.
But what I was most interested in was, how is this performance art? What does it mean? Mainly I wanted to know if her revelations, her observations, her interactions had been similar to mine. But the article never gets to it — and I can’t determine if it’s because it’s a poorly written article, or if because this specific act of “performance art” is kind of meaningless.
Ms. (Robinson) seems to have walked into the realm of performance art last spring when she saw Marina Abramovic (which is the hot name to drop these days) at the MOMA. And this fall, she’ll be at Yale for sculpture. It’s not like I don’t think people can be multiple things, but I have a hard time believing Ms. (Robinson) is a performance artist at heart. We never hear any glimpse of the meaning to this. And maybe she hasn’t formulated it yet, fair enough because she hasn’t finished (?) her project, but if that’s the case, why do the article now?
The author, Penelope Green, shares the insights of Rashida Bumbray, a curator of an art space:
“Ms. Bumbray recalled when William Pope.L crawled through Manhattan on his elbows wearing a Superman cape. “That was all about being a black man, and what does it mean to have to carry all this weight and literally drag yourself around?” she said. “Kenya is referencing all of these things.”
She is? How so? Explain it to me because from this two-page puff piece, I am not understanding, and damn it, I want to. But then again, I’m not sure if Ms. Bumbray and I have the same opinion on things considering, when she was asked “Why is being a guest for 13 weeks an art piece?” She gave the answer of: “In general, if we say something is an art piece,” Ms. Bumbray said gently, “then it is an art piece.” I’m not sure why, but I loathe that answer and think it’s just wrong.
I guess I’m equally irked by this woman’s project and by this author’s decision to write an article on it. I was looking forward to gaining something, and I didn’t. It’s like Penelope Green didn’t create the main players as credible people, and she left out the most interesting part of the story. It’s not that Ms. (Robinson) sleeps over at people’s places, it’s that she does so by choice. Why would she make that choice? And if you believe it’s just because she’s a performance artist and that’s just what they do, as Penelope Green flippantly does, than you’re missing the story as this article clearly is.