Dingy duds make great performance art for LIC exhibit
Friday, August 13th 2010, 10:11 AM
MAN BARTLETT wants you to air out your dirty laundry in the name of art.
The performance artist is inviting the public to haul their grimy clothes to a 24-hour event tonight in Long Island City that will explore the similarities between the laundry cycle and a news cycle.
“I had been thinking of doing a piece about how much news there is and how we’re constantly inundated,” he said. “I also had to do my laundry that day.”
That’s just what he plans on doing – immersing his audience with online news, Twitter feeds, magazines and newspapers. And while he monitors headlines in real time, Bartlett and his guests will be diligently doing their laundry.
“No one really knows how it’s going to work,” he said. “When we get overwhelmed by the news, do we switch over to doing the laundry?”
The event begins at 8 p.m.in the Flux Factory, an artists cooperative in Long Island City where Bartlett works. The building has just one washing machine.
“I will have one large basin for the more risky people who want to wash their clothes publicly,” Bartlett said.
There will be clotheslines for participants to hang their clean clothes alongside the artwork in the Flux Factory’s gallery. “That’s part of it, too – what does it feel like to literally hang your undies up in a gallery?” he said.
For the people who aren’t bold enough to join Bartlett for even part of the 24-hour performance, he will be moderating an online discussion of the event and the news stories they are following using the Twitter account 24hCycle.
Keeping people outside of the performance in the loop by using social media is becoming more common for performance artists in New York, said art critic and writer, Hrag Vartanian.
“Social groups and cultural communities are not being born out of geography anymore,” said Vartanian, who runs the art “blogazine,” hyperallergic.com.
This is not the first time Bartlett has integrated the Internet into his performances. Recently, he spent 24 hours looking at artwork in the Whitney Museum of American Art, updating his Twitter followers along the way.
Bartlett also has an affinity for stretching his performances for 24 hours. He has spent a day shopping in a Best Buy and a day blowing up and popping balloons.
“I like to end them the same time they begin,” he said of his endurance performances. “It’s also rare that we do anything for that length of time.”