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Then, Not Nauman: Conceptualists of the Early Seventies

Wednesday, February 28, 2007
7:30 p.m. Body Armor
Works by Vito Acconci, Paul McCarthy, Susan Mogul, Rita Myers, Charlemagne Palestine

As a vessel for internal states, the body need only be activated. Then these deep-seated states can be summoned via performance in a kind of psychodramaturgy. Charlemagne Palestine was known for his highly energetic, visceral exercises. In Internal Tantrum, he attempts to expel interior distress by chanting and swaying with remarkable focus. Rita Myers's Slow Squeeze is a self-conscious shrinking from the world's weight. As the camera zooms in, the artist compresses her body to fit the ever-diminishing frame. Through a coercive struggle, Vito Acconci's Pryings describes a resistance to intimacy. Trying to pry open the eyes of fellow performer Kathy Dillon, Acconci engages the body as a bearer of reluctant desire. Desire is not so reluctant in Susan Mogul's Take Off, a pun-inflected response to Acconci's notorious Undertone. Here, Mogul transforms Acconci's "girl under the table" into a woman who, seated directly across from the viewer, brazenly discusses the virtues of her vibrator. Paul McCarthy is a Dionysian delight, pushing his body through raw and provocative investigations. Interspersed throughout the program, the Black and White Tapes illustrate his early adventures in taste, good, bad, and artful.

—Steve Seid

Internal Tantrum (Charlemagne Palestine, U.S., 1975, 7.5 mins, B&W, 3/4" Video, From Electronic Arts Intermix). Slow Squeeze (Rita Myers, U.S., 1973, 11 mins, B&W, 3/4" Video, From Electronic Arts Intermix). Pryings (Vito Acconci, U.S., 1971, 17 mins, B&W, 3/4" Video, From Electronic Arts Intermix). Take Off (Susan Mogul, U.S., 1974, 10 mins, B&W, 3/4" Video, From Video Data Bank). Black and White Tapes (Paul McCarthy, U.S., 1970–75, c. 15 mins excerpts, B&W, 3/4" Video, From Electronic Arts Intermix).

• (Total running time: 61 mins)