Einat Amir’s Performance, Men, features four actors stationed throughout the exhibition 100 Years (version #2, PS1, nov 2009). Taking on the roles of characters that often reoccur from one performance to the next, the actors engage with museum visitors to speak about the exhibition as well as themselves. Two are positioned in opposite rooms to discuss the art on view and to also present their own videos showcasing their commercial work as stage and screen actors. A third actor, who is accompanied by the artist and declares himself a literal piece of performance art, wanders through the main exhibition space. As the three engage with visitors, their various character motivations and personalities become apparent, conflating everyday life and the stage.
Men continues to undermine notions of autonomy and representation raised by Amir’s previous performances John, Please (2009), for which Amir hired a comedian to stand in for her art, and Ideal Viewer (2009), for which she hired three actors from Craigslist to improvise three biographical archetypes—a Crying Woman, an Ex-Boyfriend, and an Interpreter—both in a traditional gallery setting and in viewers’ personal spaces. At P.S.1, viewers were similarly implicated as two male actors put their own ego against the exhibition at large, undermining any solid notion of objective legibility, authorship, or art historical narrative. Actors: Ryan Andes, John Carlton, Melia Smith, and Brad Thomason.
Selected by Klaus Biesenbach as part of 100 Years (version #2, ps1, nov 2009) at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center. Special thanks to Artis-Contemporary Israeli Art Fund, and Office of Cultural Affairs, Consulate General of Israel.