Fri Feb 17, 2017 6:00pm – 7:00pm

Monique Atherton: Untitled (Peep Booth)

Sponsored by: Artspace

Monique Atherton will convert the project room into a live peep show booth, inviting viewers to communicate with her through the window by picking up a telephone and paying a small fee.  The conversation will begin once the money is placed into the slot at the rate of $1 per minute and end abruptly when time runs out.  The conversation can last as long as a viewer is willing and able to pay.

The performance positions the visual arts within the context of a working class service industry.  Here, you pay for what you desire, and the assumption that an exhibition space is a site of free intimate exchange is scrapped. The installation recognizes artistic production as labor and a service, (biased, sometimes unpaid, physically and/or emotionally damaging, and exploitative), and illuminates a range of power dynamics that play out between an artist and viewer, including producer and consumer, innovator and critic, performer and client, and entertainer and voyeur.  Rather than reinforce these power structures, the work upsets their unidirectionality by requiring the viewer to also perform.  The viewer is responsible for initiating the work and deciding its duration.

Atherton presented a preliminary version of this project one year ago for an MFA critique at the Yale School of Art.  There, the work functioned as a commentary of art criticism within the academic context.  Rather than mount her new work on standard lit gallery walls, she displayed her photographs and sculptures in the dark, taking questions from the critics from within the booth.  The booth was the only lit space, so only parts of her body could be clearly seen.  For its second iteration, Untitled (Peep Booth) enters a public space for the first time. The performance continues Atherton’s exploration into tension, love, work, vulnerability and the connection between artists and their publics.  The installation builds on her extensive body of photographs and self-portraits printed on mail-order objects, which also set up the conditions for a viewer to understand oneself through the experience and body of another.

Admission: Free to Attend
50 Orange St
New Haven
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