Monday, September 27, 2010

Walk The Walk, Bryant Park, NYC this past summer

Hi, I'm Chris from Art Fortune and I wanted to share one of my art experiences from this summer. As I sat in Bryant Park in midtown Manhattan one sunny morning this past May, I got to enjoy a living sculpture called "Walk the Walk", a performance-installation created by Kate Gilmore and funded by the Public Art Fund. It was a cubic structure, open on all sides, with a flat roof that functioned as a podium. Working in shifts, groups of women took to the roof where they performed an improvisational choreography of everyday movement, such as walking, shuffling, and stomping. These women were not professional dancers nor actors.These women were to represent a random sample of female office workers. They varied in age, race and body type. They were free to perform their artist-assigned tasks as they choose, but they did have to conform to a strict uniform: yellow dress and beige shoes.

The public were welcomed to view the art from the outlying Fountain Terrace, but could also enter the structure on the main level which allowed me to hear the reverberating sounds of the movement above. The yellow of the women's dresses also appeared on both the inside and outside of the structure walls. Gilmore likes to consider this experience an "eccentric concerto of irregular footfalls".

Kate Gilmore is known for her physically demanding performance videos.Through "Walk the Walk", Gilmore has us wondering how gender, age and appearance affect our perception both socially and personally. I have to say I enjoyed a good hour mesmerized by the women creating their own path of different speeds, hardly ever even hitting to one another in such a small space. Equally enjoying was the public reaction to the piece, from the unnoticed, to the gawking glares, to the pure enjoyment of witnessing a re-enactment of office women today as art.

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