Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Jeannine Harkleroad

Jeannine Harkleroad kicks ass. Above is a photo from her performance piece at ADA Gallery earlier this month, Trying To Catch Some Sprinkles On My Donut.
How do I explain this? The very skinny masked baker guy inside the glittery blue V is using pulleys to pull that home-made projector back and forth along a track. Across from him is a green crystal mountain fortress in which Jeannine lay on her back and used a separate pulley system to pull a big creamy dripping icing pink donut back and forth along another track. The baker guy was trying to shoot the sprinkles being projected into Jeannine's donut hole.
Another person dressed as a French maid/Swiss house/domino slowly turned around and around. He had a string tied to his waist and as he turned a miniature house and chalk white finger with a purple nail climbed up a track from the base of Jeannine's crystal fortress to a button near the baker's crotch. The spinning of the domino man wrapped the string around his waist and pulled the finger up the track until it pushed the baker's button, and a bell would sound. Then the domino man would reverse his spin and the finger would slowly go back down the track. The three of them did this nonstop for three hours.
Here is a photo of the whole set-up taken without the performers. When you walked into the gallery you only saw that flat shiny V and weren't aware that there was a skinny guy standing in there until you walked around to the other side and saw his masked face sticking out. It was a weird surprise. The whole thing was full of wonderful weirdness and surprises. I'm nominating Jeannine for a MacArthur. They need to open a file on her.


Anonymous said...

wow, I almost never hear about performance art anymore - looks wild!!! Bill Gusky

Michael McDevitt said...

OK. Here's one from the Cretin in the bunch.
I saw this one too, but was far more interested in Theresa Pfar's (sp?) paintings or the other works on ADA's walls (let alone the cool work in 1708).
I was briefly curious about this piece, but was quickly put off by it's deliberate wierdness and sheer inanity. I don't mean to be disrepectful, but this one stunk of capital-A 'Art' like old ladies stink of perfume.
Now, I admit I'm just one bent nail in the board, so I wanna know (and I'm genuinely interested):
Why do you think this is so great?

Martin said...

Michael – We may be approaching these works with different needs. I’m perhaps more receptive to the slightly sinister, the sloppily erotic, the absurdly futile, and most especially art with a capital A.

Are you a fan of the theater, Punch and Judy, the circus, kabuki, butoh, Bread and Puppet, the cabaret, Grand Guignol?

If you were to examine this set for only it’s formal qualities I think you would find that the artist’s careful attention to color, texture, detail, scale, and pattern would give you at least as much pleasure as any of the other works currently in the gallery.

Michael McDevitt said...

Hmm. I s'pose I can see where you are coming from. I appreciate the theatrical element, but I think that the repetitive nature of the piece puts me off. I imagine that it could speak of futility, but I find it rather tiresome. Also, like many works in similar veins, I have a hard time discerning to what degrees the intent is earnest, ironic, self-aggrandizing, or deliberately cryptic. To my eyes, much comtemporary work is surrounded by this tangle. and I feel that a great number of charlatans hide their sneers behind this comnundrum, and all to often people are whisked away. To some extent I think that there is a great deal of Emporer's New Clothes syndrome going on. Nobody wants to be the philistine that doesn't 'get it.'Thus, the sloppier and more cryptic the piece, the better it is assumed to be. Having seen too much of this, perhaps I have set my default option to 'Bullshit.'
Errp. I was going to write more, but it's breakfast time here in Washington state. Mmm. French toast.

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