VB35 – Like A Prayer

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performance image from VB35 - people kneeling inside Gallery Xue / NYC

NEW YORK CITY, 17 March — In the roller coaster of life, soaring ascents are often followed by plunging descents, and so it was today for Vaneeesa Blaylock whose bombastic performance last week of Net / Work was today counterpointed by a simple act of contrition, a day of silent meditation in hopes of making amends with some of those her relentless career ambitions have turned into collateral damage on her race to some artistic vision out there somewhere.

performance image from VB35 - people kneeling inside Gallery Xue / NYC

VB35 – Like A Prayer

Gallery Xue / NYC
17 March 2012
PREVIZ
I hurt a couple of friends recently, not intentionally, it’s just so easy to do sometimes. In my “drunk walk” of trying to find a path, of trying to tell a story of art as a virtual experience that’s powerfully explored by avatars, as I’ve stumbled I’ve kicked a few people. Realistically I probably won’t be perfect from this day forward, but I wanted at least to take a “time out” to seek forgiveness, to stop running and breathe for a moment, and perhaps to remind myself of that Allan Kaprow lesson that I seem doomed to forever relearn, and forget, and relearn, and forget… that art can be so simple, and that the simple, fully lived, deeply experienced, can be remarkable. Not exactly that “less is more,” in a Mies van der Rohe kind of way, but simply that the smallest moment, deeply experienced, can be so sublime.

One of those I sent a notecard of atonement to, Skygirl Kline, contacted me this same day. We haven’t spoken for 538 days, since 25 September 2010, and it turns out we’d each felt a recurring guilt over those many days. It was liberating to make amends.

The North facade of Gallery Xue, with Barnett Newman's "Broken Obelisk" in front of the gallery, and the setting for "Like A Prayer" inside in the lobby level gallery.

It was a completely silent performance upstairs in the gallery, and so our gallerist, Xue Faith sat downstairs at the arrival zone on the dock to greet individuals and explain the performance to them.
It's kind of ironic that even in my attempt to make amends, to be less selfish, that I wound up upstairs in the gloriously heated gallery, and Xue sat the whole morning on the dock "freezing my ass off."

Part Shaman keeping Xue company on the dock.

performance image from VB35 - people kneeling inside Gallery Xue / NYC

After the time of silent meditation was complete, we had a lite brunch in the gallery.

 
 
 

VB35 – Participants

DJ Haraway

Martha Graham

Monerda Skute

Part Shaman

Pennyroyal Calamity

Skygirl Kline

Xue Faith

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2 Responses to “VB35 – Like A Prayer”

  1. Monerda
    2012/04/22 at 20:25 #

    Ok, not so unusual to see me on my knees 😛 But it is a true rarity to find me in prayer. Wow love these photos, lighting and sepia tone really create an aura of piety. Nicely done.

    • Vaneeesa Blaylock
      2012/04/22 at 20:50 #

      Thanks for being there. As an atheist, or a “fundamentalist atheist” even, I never really imagined doing a performance that involved kneeling / prayer – but it felt right.

      Yes! The lighting at Gallery Xue / NYC is really fantastic. We have Xue’s architect Delilah Buscaylet to thank for that, she designed a marvelous space that makes such powerful use of glass, glass block, and simple awning treatments.

      And thanks for the photo comment, I am happy with these images. It’s funny, for me, painting is so much about color, and photography is so much about tone. So I love paintings that, as Yves Klein once wrote in his storyboard for the short film “War Between Line and Color,” free themselves from the tyranny of line, and let color blossom forth.

      But for me, the analogue to unbridled color in painting, is a celebration of tone in photography. So just as I appreciate paintings that let line get out of the way, I appreciate photographs that get the overly hot, seductive powers of color out of the way so we can appreciate the tonality. And with the light at GX/NYC this can be so powerful.

      I also think that virtual space is over-saturated generally in color. So even in full-color images, I like to desaturate the images a little or a lot. I feel it makes them more real or less “cartoon” like.

      It was fun going the other way and creating “painterly” hypersaturated images for VB34, and now I do love the sublime restraint of these VB35 images.