Ariel Kleinberg, also a painter, performed her piece “Divine Normal,” which she descibes as “a
ritualistic deconstruction of the American mythos.“
Artists set up pop-up installations
for three-day 14th Street festival
BY BOB KRASNER
Fourteenth Street was a bit wilder and way more
entertaining than usual last weekend, as over 60
performance and installation artists set up shop
from Avenue C to the Hudson River under the auspices
of AIOP: Art In Odd Places.
The theme was ‘NORMAL’ and the stepping-off point
was a quote from the poet, humanitarian and social justice
activist Sonya Renee Taylor, displayed prominently
on the AIOP website: “We will not go back to normal.
Normal never was.
”The festival, which ran Friday, Saturday and Sunday,
was curated by Furusho von Puttkammer took the better
part of a year to organize. Yasmeen Abdallah, a curatorial
assistant, was grateful for the task. “It gave us some
hope during an awful year,” she said.
Participants ranged from scripted performances to
interactive happenings, all designed to provoke thought
as well as entertain. An anonymous fi gure covered completely
in white, the perfectly named Blanksy, invited
passersby to spray paint him for a performance titled
“Spray Da Man!”
Ariel Kleinberg engaged onlookers in improvised
rituals designed to ” question what it is Americans
truly worship.” Surrounded by fi gures that she created
inspired by Greek mythological demons, she refl ected
PHOTOS BY BOB KRASNER
on the impact of her performance.
“I wasn’t trying to be dark or sinister,” she explained,”
but some people got scared.”
Akiko Ichikawa thoughtfully provided dog owners
with materials meant to clean up their pets’ poop – pages
from books written by Ivanka Trump. “There’s so much
focus on Donald,” Ichikawa noted. “People are forgetting
about Ivanka’s aspirations and she is a real contender.”
Robert Wallace, writer, director, producer and
performer in “The First Lefty,” surrounded by
AIOP volunteers (L-R) Natalie Ortiz, Amanda Wu
and Amanda Abdallah.
Scattered amongst the rank and fi le garbage bags
up and down 14th St. was the work of Iván Sikic, who
randomly spray-painted trash bags in gold and returned
them to the curbs where he found them for a performance
he calls, simply, “Trashed.”
While Dada Nurses offered mental health tips, Yeseul
Song guided participants in the use of her “Invisible
Sculpture on Wheels,” which we experienced happily.
While wearing headphones, one ‘touches’ the invisible
structure and can hear the resulting sounds.
Shosha Dothan created an environment and invited
artists to collaborate with her, a different one each day.
On Sunday Jiwon Rhie created shapes on the ground
with rice – in a nod to her ethnic identity – that represented
“how we construct our boundaries, ” she said.
“They are meant to be destroyed at the end of the day.”
KS Brewer also counted on collaboration, constructing
a sound and light installation that would play the
recorded voices of participants. An ongoing project,
Brewer is looking forward to future contributions.
“People’s willingness to share surprised me,” she
relates. “Their voices make it what it is.”
Tim Cusack’s performance “I Ping The Body Electric”
included a sequence where he drew a chalk outline
around his body in the middle of a few strategically
placed, somewhat realistic phalluses, causing ”some
parents to drag their children away,” he noted. But a
performance about sexuality, aging and HIV is bound
to be challenging for some.
Tim Cusack, foreground, performing “I Ping The
Body Electric” with Patrice Miller (director, cochoreographer)
seated with laptop. The corner
they chose is the former site of the legendary
1990s queer nightclub Mother/Jackie 60.
Easily the most intense performance was that of
GOODW.Y.N., an African-American woman whose
body does not conform to conventional standards of
Titled “Ain’t I a Woman (?/!)”, she would sit quietly on
the ground in Union Square, clad only in leggings, fake
blood and sometimes a tattered American fl ag, periodically
proclaiming: “I too am America”, “Hands Up Don’t
Shoot”, “Black women can only rest in the grave” and
“America is covered in blood,” among other provocative
statements. The responses ranged from praise to physical
anger, which she dealt with but did not dwell on.
“The thing I’m still wrapping my head around is the
man who called me a prophet, ” she admitted. “He said
that a prophet is not someone who predicts tomorrow,
it is someone who tells the truth today.”
A full list of the artists and their works is online
16 May 20, 2021 Schneps Media