Saturday, April 19, 2014

Random Gestures - U.C. San Diego, January 21, 1986

Performed at Eleanor Antin's class.

Mmmmmm, a lot to say about this performance!  I don’t remember how I got this gig.  Eleanor Anton was one of the performance artists I studied in grad school at the San Francisco art institute.  But how we got connected, I don’t know.  This was my first performance tour.  This was the second performance of the tour. The first was at University of California Irvine set up by a grad student who wanted me to expand or fuck up the minds of the corporate yuppies who went there.  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

But this group was the opposite of the Irvine group.  This performance class was there to see how far they would go beyond the normal taboos.  I think this is one of the most erotic of my public performances although there is no nudity in it.  There were slips of paper in the bag with the direction of UNDRESS EACH OTHER on them.  But this direction was never pulled in this.  But it was a possibility!  It is amazing what the students were willing to do!  Rubbing one another intimately!  And the two poor straight male students rubbing Eleanor’s [their teacher] big breasts, etc!  And the other male student finding himself paired with the chairman of the art department, Allan Kaprow [the older guy with the beard], who came to the class to participate!  Kaprow was one of the founders of performance art as a modern art form with his HAPPENINGS in the fifties!  I read his books during my reading period during the mid- sixties before I started performing in the seventies.  I was always lucky to meet most of my heroes in similar ways.  But can you say PRESSURE?

Check out how Linda flips me from my chair onto the mat on the floor!  Ah, youth!  Those days are gone!

By the end of the performance, there is only me playing with a female student from South America who is lustily willing to go into physical intimacy without limits or judgments.  Great ending!

After the class we went with Eleanor to a cafeteria.  There I told her my problem.  The reason for the tour was because the performance artist Paul McCarthy had gotten me a gig at the Alexandria Hotel Ballroom in Los Angeles doing my piece "Wrapping/Rocking" as a part of BAAA BAAA BABEL which was a high brow art show of the static art of well known performance artists like Paul and Chris Burden.  I was going to do the only performance piece of the show.  I put ads in the LA papers for dancers comfortable with nudity and eroticism.  No reply!  And after lunch we were going to Los Angeles!  Eleanor gave us the phone number of Rachel Rosenthal to get some of her students for my cast.  Linda and I thought A LONG SHOT because we had studied about her in art school.  But we called!  Somehow she knew of my work and told her students that they should work with me because I was doing important work!  So all of a sudden I had a pool of willing and capable performers who I would use in my work for years!  I would also perform at Rachel’s space in Los Angeles a lot!
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