Whitney Museum - Leandra Bourdot

The trip to the Whitney Museum gave rise to a number of interesting questions as investigated by the artists. The tension between "performer" and audience, perception and action, and the blurring of these dichotomous roles, was investigated in Dan Graham's pieces. I was particularly struck by the installations in which the audience of viewers became the source of performance as they interacted through the spaces he constructed and with which he directed their gaze; as well as those videos in which he as performer utilized indirect methods of perception to interact with the audience (such as mirrors or cameras), and which was again redirected to a new audience to perceive through the format of video. Likewise, Sadie Benning toyed with similar dualisms in her video, depicting a sense of depressing alienation in the shuffle of daily life in a stylistically childish hand.
I was most captured by the photoconceptualism pieces, however. Mel Bochner's Transparent and Opaque photographs were beautiful in their ephemerality and existence for the sake of existence; and, especially considering some of the elements I like to play with in my own art, I appreciated the visual punnery of Bruce Nauman's work (though it's rather more literal than what I tend to work with.)
Adrian Piper's piece "Food for the Spirit" was what struck me the most, however. The photographs themselves, dimly-lit self-portraits, were beautiful in their own right; and the story behind them even moreso. I found it intriguing that, even in the midst of spiritual and meditative work, she made such an effort to remain strongly connected to her physical body and to continually reaffirm its existence to herself.

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