Thursday, September 22, 2011

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They're gonna throw down!

The fight is on! After weeks of intense training—and even more intense Twitter trash talking—performance artists Kathryn Cornelius and Jeffry Cudlin are ready to throw down. Their two-person sprint triathlon kicks off THIS SATURDAY, Sept. 24 at NOON, at the (e)merge art fair.

Who are these lunatics?

The competitors could not be more physically different: Nearly a foot in height and 50 pounds in weight separates them.

Cornelius is, of course, a woman; stands 5' 6 3/4" tall; and weighs somewhere between 118 and 121 lbs--depending on whether or not she's had her daily constitutional.

Cudlin, meanwhile, is male (usually); stands 6' 4 1/2" tall; and weighs between 171 and 180--depending on his cupcake intake.

The two also sit on opposite ends of the food chain: For the past 14 years, Cudlin has eaten a strict vegan diet, eschewing meat, dairy, eggs, and all other animal products in favor of grains, legumes, and vegetables. Cornelius, meanwhile, eats a strict Paleo diet, avoiding grains, legumes, and dairy in favor of meat, nuts, seeds, some fruit and little sugar.

In addition to totally dominating one another, Cornelius and Cudlin aim to counter the stereotype of artists as weak, non-athletic sensitives who are notoriously bad at sports.

Triathlon of the Muses from The Pink Line Project on Vimeo.



Who's in charge of this monkey farm?

But who’s going to keep these two bloodthirsty artists-turned-athletes honest? Leave that to color commentators Maura Judkis (Washington Post) and Jonathan Fischer (Washington City Paper), as well as MC Philippa Hughes (Pink Line Project)—who will also be donning the black-and-white striped shirt and officiating the faceoff.

Maura Judkis, Producer for the Style Section of the Washington Post, knows a thing or two about responding to hard-charging sport spectacle: In a previous life, she was captain of her high school cheerleading squad.

Prior to serving as Arts Editor for the Washington City Paper. Jonathan Fischer cut his teeth on the Brandeis University squash courts. Though he claims he’ll only watch a game on TV if sriracha buffalo chicken dip (actually a thing) is present, don’t be fooled: Arts editing is a blood sport.

And Philippa Hughes, DC Arts Commissioner and founder of the Pink Line Project, was the only girl on her 8th grade soccer team—her school didn’t have a girls team, so she had to play with the boys. As a result, Hughes developed a highly competitive killer instinct…and firsthand knowledge of the forces unleashed in any battle of the sexes.

What is a sprint triathlon?

At the Capitol Skyline Hotel, Cornelius and Cudlin will engage in three very real tests of physical and mental stamina: They'll both swim 750m in the very short hotel pool (that’s approximately 20 laps), pedal 20k on stationary bikes, and run a 5k race on treadmills.

Why are Cudlin and Cornelius doing this?

The Triathlon of the Muses attempts to insert the conventions of popular sporting spectacle into the structure of the art fair—replacing one form of competition, costume-wearing, and role-playing with another. In this way the piece provides a more clearly legible analog for transactions both prior to and within the fair. It also presents a symbolic battle between artists of opposing genders for the same limited resources of audience, patronage, and cultural capital.

Where’d that odd title come from?

The performance's title is a nod to Pierre de Coubertin's Pentathlon of the Muses, a series of art competitions typically held at the Olympic games during the first half of the 20th century. In the Pentathlon, the sport-inspired work of amateur artists would be judged by arts professionals and other dignitaries. Gold, silver, and bronze medals were awarded.

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