Monday, April 24, 2006

Holiday Crews 2006

Xavier Cha's "Holiday Cruise 2006" encompasses a series of readings, performances, and events at Taxter & Spengemann. The artist dons a complex, sculptural costume and anchors each event, sometimes as a passive object, elsewhere as a performer - but always a spectacle. Currently, she masquerades as a giant cornucopia, filled with fruit, vegetables, and her feet.

In "Feast for the Decadent," Lisa Kirk served pork, absinthe, and fruit to dinner guests/artists Robert Melee, Julie Atlas Muz, Elizabeth Neel, and others. She assigned each gastronomic guest two cards. On one card, the recipient wrote his or her possible last words. Phrases included "You are a handsome pig," "What IS Robert's problem?" and "Eat my pussy." After exchanging the cards, these phrases became the mandatory script for the night. The other card contained a number, 1 - 12, and when the sugarcubes-as-dice rolled your number, you determined whether the group drank, ate, danced, or all three.

This rule-based performance held its structure for about 30 minutes but soon dissolved into a mere foodfight. A failure? Hardly. The invitation called for "Dionysian" behavior, and Lisa Kirk's events often rely on the unpredictable relations between observers and participants. Her "Greatest Show on Earth" (2002) assembled an eager crowd at Participant, Inc. The climax of the event depended on some curious attendee flipping a light switch, which actually detonated a cake decorated like the Whitney Museum. The event became its own afterparty; guests enjoyed a slice of sweet cake. This undirected, but hoped-for spontanaeity is a key element in a Lisa Kirk project.

Xavier Cha continues her project as a mass of cornrow braids (The Addams Family's "Cousin Itt" meets rastafaria) and a polyhedron deity (a psychedelically geometric druid).

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