Gerard & Kelly: “P.O.L.E. (People, Objects, Language, Exchange)”
The New Museum Lobby Gallery, 235 Bowery New York, NY
February 4 – 15, 2015
The “P.O.L.E. (People, Objects, Language, Exchange)” exhibition is the culmination of Gerard & Kelly’s six-month Research and Development residency, as part of the New Museum’s R&D Season: CHOREOGRAPHY. Taking place from February 4 to 15, it explores fleeting encounters and processes of history and memory via sculpture, video, and live performance. For the exhibition, the artists have created an installation comprising two sixteen-foot brass poles for dancing, which stretch from floor to ceiling and displace panels from the gallery’s drop ceiling. The installation also includes plywood sculptures constructed using materials reclaimed from the artists’ previous installation on the Museum’s Fifth Floor.
The centerpiece of the exhibition is Two Brothers. Utilizing the highly charged form of pole dancing, Two Brothers engages physical and mental, actual and metaphorical, efforts to reconcile forces of suspension and gravity. This score-based performance for two dancers and two poles, will be presented daily at 1 p.m., 3 p.m., and 5 p.m. The eight dancers participating in this work hail from a variety of trainings and contexts—from urban (and currently outlawed) subway performance to exotic dance to fitness to contemporary art. Performers in the exhibition include Lauren Bakst, Sammy Bethea, Khalil El, devynn emory, Brandon Greene, TyTy Love, Roz “The Diva” Mays, and Tyke Turner.
In Reverberations, another score created by Gerard & Kelly and enacted daily from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Lauren Bakst, the Museum’s Research and Development Fellow, recalls and transmits events—from public conversations to protests to pole dancing classes—that have taken place over the course of the duo’s residency. Reverberations take
“P.O.L.E.” considers different kinds of kinship, such as blood ties, platonic love, and political allegiance. The manifestations of—and threats to—such bonds are evident in the choreography and objects in the exhibition, which also includes a video work made in the aftermath of the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, as well as Gran Fury’s iconic SILENCE=DEATH sign, which was first shown at the New Museum in 1987 by curator William Olander, a member of ACT UP. The neon sign, distinctly and instantly recognizable for its historical and political importance, illuminates Gerard & Kelly’s exhibition and encourages us to reconsider relationships across moments and movements.
Coinciding with the Museum’s weekly Pay-What-You-Wish Thursday evenings, Gerard & Kelly will continue to stage “Open Pole” on Thursday February 5 and Thursday February 12, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. “Open Pole” features two crews of dancers who perform on the poles in New York City subways—the Chosen Ones and We Live This—in an open-mic-style, improvisatory event that will be conducted in the installation.