Sunday, October 13, 2019 || 2pm–12:30am
Restagings No. 3: Fall (C.A.) is a collective ritual—a 10 ½ hour performance—for a community of performers, writers, and their witnesses. Carl Andre’s 1968 sculpture Fall is the work’s source. In Andre’s work, steel plates remain unmoving on the ground. In Fall (C.A.), performers slip beneath the plates, raising them again and again. Andre liked to say, “My work doesn’t mean a damn thing. There’s nothing hiding under those plates.” This work responds, “Lift them up. Let’s see.”
For Levine, in creating the Restagings, which address art movements of the 1960s & 70s, it was impossible to ignore Carl Andre’s work. But Andre is a troubling figure, linked for many to the untimely death of his wife artist Ana Mendieta, for which Andre was tried and ultimately—though controversially— acquitted. Levine felt there were two choices, either side-step Andre’s work—leave it undisturbed on its ground—or challenge it, look underneath, unbury what it tries to bury. This second path is the one taken by this work. In creating this new piece, Levine does not focus directly on Mendieta, which many have done affectingly. She, instead, invites in a group of artists, transforming Andre’s Fall from a sculpture into a site on which to present and recall a multiplicity of creative voices.
Andre’s claims of meaninglessness share a vocabulary with men’s claims of innocence that we hear across the media today: “It means nothing, it was nothing… they over-interpret, she misunderstood… you’re seeing things, you imagined it.” As we know, some people can define the truth that surrounds them; others have it done for them.
Fall (C.A.) is the third work in Levine’s Restagings series, which re-reads minimalist and conceptual artworks as works of performance. Producing five pieces over five years, Restagings works from an iconic cadre of 1960s artists—Sol LeWitt, Robert Morris, Richard Serra, Carl Andre, and Walter de Maria—all of whom were closely associated with dance and performance artists of their era—Yvonne Rainer, Simone Forti, Ana Mendieta, and Carolee Schneemann among them.
“The Restagings have in them a willful desire to take and to take back—if the visual arts increases its relevance and profits by importing dance and its history, I want their works in return, to use them as I like. If these visual artists (men) got their ideas from the work and discoveries of these performance artists and dancers (women), and made small fortunes off them, I want this to come back to us. What happens in the art world is metaphor and microcosm of larger patterns. So sue me runs through my head. What does a dancer have for you take away?” —Abigail Levine
Contributing Artists: Sareh Afshar, Hadar Ahuvia, Chloë Bass, Kyle Bukhari, Esy Casey, Donna Costello, WooJae Chung, Atiya Dorsey, Rebecca Fitton, Camilo Godoy, Carolyn Hall, Greta Hartenstein, June Lei, Clarinda MacLow, Maho Ogawa, Kristopher KQ Pourzal, Janet Passehl, Vitche-Boul Ra, Londs Reuter, Elisa Santiago, David Thomson, and Edisa Weeks.
Photos: Chloë Bass & Abigail Levine. Pictured: AL, Vitche-Boul Ra, Londs Reuter, Kyle Bukhari, Maho Ogawa, Elisa Santiago.