February 24, 2010

Visiting artist ‘eyes’ unique performance at SIUC

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- At Southern Illinois University Carbondale, making eye contact can become art.

The School of Art and Design at SIUC will host visiting artist Mary Beth Edelson for a performance art experience March 1-4, featuring “Making Eye Contact: A Performance.” The greater Carbondale community is welcome for all events, and in fact, encouraged to join the University community in this artist’s events. Previous performance experience is not required.

Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and camera crews are welcome to document and report on the performance art experience. Contact Barbara Bickel at 618/453-5580 or bickel@siu.edu for more information.

Here’s what’s happening, and a little bit about it:

March 1

“Making Eye Contact: Performance, Pictures and all the Rest,” a public lecture at 7 p.m. in the John C. Guyon Auditorium in Morris Library, free.

Get a preview of what Edelson brings when she comes to campus, and learn about the interchange between performance art and traditional art.

March 2

Performance Art Workshop, 12:30-3 p.m. in the Allyn Building, Room 102.

Those who attend the workshop have the opportunity to perform, or more properly to facilitate performance, in multiple locations on campus. The performance, as the title suggests, involves making eye contact with passers-by. Some of those from the workshop will engage the passers-by while others will document with still and video cameras. Part of the art of this experience is in producing the still and video documentation. The idea is to connect with people by looking them in the eye, and seeing what happens.

March 3

“Making Eye Contact: A Performance,” noon to 1 p.m. on campus.

This is the performance, described above. And added feature is an original, campus-wide soundtrack, composed by Ron Coulter, percussion lecturer for the School of Music. The composition will play from the Pulliam Clock Tower audio system, and should be audible throughout much of campus.

Performance Debrief, 3:30-4:40 p.m. in the Allyn Building, Room 102.

Those involved are likely to have much to say about the experience. Share your thoughts and experiences with others in the group here.

Edelson is internationally recognized as a “keeper of the history of the feminist art movement in the United States.” Her recent work sees her seeking to use social space as a platform for art, including performance art, installations and sculpture.

Her work is part of the permanent collection in such museums as The Guggenheim Museum of Art in New York City, the National Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C., the Detroit Institute of Art in Michigan, and the Malmö Museum in Sweden, to name a few. Other recent exhibitions of her work include “The End” at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Pa., the “Cender Battle” exhibit at the Centro Galego de Arte Contemporáneo in Spain, and the “Mothers of Invention” exhibit at the Mumok Museum of Contemporary Art in Austria, to name a very few from a long list that begins in the early 1970s.

For more information about Mary Beth Edelson, see her Web site at www.marybethedelson.com.

The School of Art and Design’s Visiting Artist Program sponsors Edelson’s visit, with funding coming also from the Women’s Studies Program and the Student Fine Arts Activity Fee.