Monday, September 26, 2011

tri a little tenderness

Well, the fight is over. The tent has been taken down; the balloons have all been popped; the podiums have been carted off; the fitness equipment has dried out and been moved back to the gym (without anyone getting electrocuted, thank goodness).

There's a champion and there's a loser...and that loser is me!

Which leads me to say this: Thank you everyone for making the first annual (will there be others?) Triathlon of the Muses a rip-roaring rain-free, electrocution-free, vomit-free success!
Kathryn and I could not have done it without you.

Huge thanks to
Helen Allen, Leigh Conner, and Jamie Smith for organizing a kick-ass art fair--it looks like (e)merge was a hit, and will definitely be back next year--and for accepting and allowing us to completely overhaul the original design of the performance ("Weren't you supposed to be doing a fake food and wine reception or something?"), and offering fabulous support all the way through.

Thanks also to
Philippa Hughes for championing the performance, letting us crash her condo for our promo fight video, and, as referee, calling all sorts of entertaining technical fouls that we completely ignored as we continued to pant and sweat our way to the finish.

Thanks to
Jonathan Fischer and Maura Judkis for being our fabulous color commentators! If I didn't laugh at all of your jokes, it was only because I was Hurting Deeply.

Thanks to
Andrea Pollan for, uh, representing one of us, anyway, and for promoting the big fight.

Lenny Campello, for posting our press release on your blog (albeit with insulting references to my physique and penchant for ladies' wear inserted here and there); thanks, Bridget Sue Lambert, for being the fantastic master of the printing studio; thanks Svetlana Legetic for saying nice things about us; thanks to Jeremy Flick and Patrick McDonough for facilitating, getting passes for my MICA crew, and being extremely patient with all of the chaos in the run-up.

Thank you
Capitol Skyline Hotel staff and management for moving your fancy electronic gym equipment out to the pool deck and for letting us pump obnoxious metal/bad pop over your PA system for two hours. Somehow you thought these were good ideas.

Thanks to our documentarians--so-stellar-he's-interstellar photographer
Max Cook, who always seems to be there when I'm embarrassing myself; Anthony Smallwood; Rob Parrish, and Bruno Venini.

And I save my personal biggest thanks for last: Thank you, thank you, a million times thank you to my
MICA Curatorial Practice crew! Deana Haggag, Matt Spalding, Gabrielle Buzgo, Chloe Helton-Gallagher, Catherine Akins, and Emily Clemens: I guess this means I owe you extra credit?

Below and at the top: Photos of the triathlon by the amazing Max Cook. Underwater shots by Anthony Smallwood--he jumped in the pool and shot us while lying on the bottom! I call that commitment to your craft.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

all the news that's fit to copy and paste

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.

Friday, September 16, 2011

writing, or something like it

Well, that was a refreshing nap, wasn't it? Yes, after two months of getting settled in my new gig at MICA, it suddenly dawned on me that I have a blog, and that my readership--spammers, family members, people arriving here by accident--might want to know what the heck is up.

The answer is: quite a bit. We have some catching up to do.

For now, I'll just note this: The WCP 2011 Fall Arts Guide is out. Pick it up on your way into or out of the metro...or read all the news that's fit to download here.

In the guide, Louis takes sneak peeks at a couple of important upcoming shows--"Harry Callahan" at the NGA; "30 Americans" at the Corc--and I ramble a bit about "Seeing Gertrude Stein: Five Stories," which comes to the NPG via the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco starting October 14.

Just for fun: See the checklist for the show with thumbnails here.

More updates on the way, but for now, a question: Why am I exercising so much?