2017-2018 GUEST PERFORMANCE ARTIST SERIES | CURATED BY CASSILS
I envision my body as a meeting point, a node, where external lines of force and social determination thicken into meat and circulate as movement back into the world. So much that constitutes me I did not choose, but, now constituted, I feel myself in a place of agency. SUSAN STRYKERVital signs are important indications of the status of the body’s life-sustaining functions. Vital Signs is also a series of live performances and artist talks spread over the academic year at Stanford University. Focusing on elements of performativity, each quarter will pair artists from different generations. Assessing urgency, these artists will offer a broad approach for triaging the social body. With the use of different formal and conceptual strategies, measurements can be taken and assessments made, giving us clues to diseases and possible progress toward recovery. The series aims to highlight and showcase underrepresented performance forms such as experimental performance art, durational art, and body art, among others, by artists from underrepresented communities.
about the curator
Cassils has been listed by the Huffington Post as “one of ten transgender artists who are changing the landscape of contemporary art” and has achieved international recognition for a rigorous engagement with the body as a form of social sculpture. Featuring a series of bodies transformed by strict physical training regimes, Cassils’ artworks offer shared experiences for contemplating histories of violence, representation, struggle, and survival, often juxtaposing the immediacy, urgency, and ephemerality of live performance against constructed acts for the camera in order to challenge the “documentarian truth factor” of images. Cassils is an award-winning artist who has been featured in solo exhibitions around the world as well as in publications such as The New York Times, Wired, The Guardian, and TDR, and among others. They are the recipient of a Guggenhime Fellowship (2017), a COLA Fellowship (2017) and a Creative Capital Award (2015).
COMPANION COURSE: TAPS 156V/256V
The first decade and a half of the 21st century have been transformative for performance art. On the one hand, it brought an unprecedented cultural acceptance of this art form, which is now featured in most prestigious museums and art festivals; on the other, the most recent generation of performance artists is showing a great awareness of the historicity and complexity of this form. This class aims to recognize and investigate these and other prominent features of performance art produced since the turn of the millennium. Performances featured in Vital Signs will serve as primary case studies. The class will meet each quarter for three weeks: before, during, and after the artists' visit. Students will thus have an opportunity to prepare for the visit, engage with the visiting artists, and reflect on their work. View course on ExploreCourses.
Vital Signs events are free and open to the public.
Vital Signs is sponsored in part by The Anderson Collection; the Department of Art & Art History; the Vice Provost's Diversity Innovation Fund Grant; the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education; and the Stanford Arts Institute.
WINTER QUARTER VITAL SIGNS GUESTS
Nao Bustamante + Rafa Esparza
FEBRUARY 13 + 14, 2018
Nao Bustamante is an internationally known artist, residing in Los Angeles, California. Bustamante's precarious work encompasses performance art, video installation, filmmaking, sculpture and writing. The New York Times says, "She has a knack for using her body." Bustamante has presented in Galleries, Museums, Universities and underground sites all around the world. She has exhibited, among other locales, at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, the New York Museum of Modern Art, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Sundance International Film Festival/New Frontier, El Museo del Barrio Museum of Contemporary Art, First International Performance Biennial, Deformes in Santiago, Chile and the Kiasma Museum of Helsinki. Bustamante is alum of the San Francisco Art Institute, New Genres program and the Skowhegen School of Painting and Sculpture. Currently she holds the position of Professor of Art at the USC Roski School of Art and Design, where she also serves at the Vice-Dean of Art. Image: Eleanor Goldsmith
Rafa Esparza received his BFA from UCLA and currently works in a variety of mediums, including installation, sculpture, drawing, painting and performance. His work was included in the Made in L.A. Biennial (2016) at the Hammer Museum; the MexiCali Biennial (2013) at the Vincent Price Art Museum; and in Native Strategies 3 at Human Resources, Los Angeles (2013). Esparza was awarded a Rema Hort Mann Foundation Emerging Artist Grant (2015), a California Community Foundation Fellowship for Visual Artists (2014) and an Art Matters Grant (2014). His work is currently featured in the 2017 Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of Art in New York.
WINTER ARTISTS EVENT SCHEDULE
TUESDAY FEBRUARY 13 at 530 PM | PIGOTT THEATER | FREE + OPEN TO THE PUBLICNao Bustamante performs “Chase Scene.” This performance intermingles techniques of cinematic Foley work, with improvisational elements. Bustamante seems to be caught in a chase scene as she reenacts the old trope of a woman, alone, in the street and the dangers that lie within.
Following "Chase Scene," Rafa Esparza performs "Dale." Dale means "go," but translates into "give him/her/they". Within the piece, Esparza tosses forward a double of himself — collecting it, embracing it, and then tossing it forward again, repeatedly — on a path between Pigott Theater and Roble Gym, passing university community centers El Centro Chicano y Latino; the LGBT Community Resources Center; and the Black Community Services Center. Esparza says, "I'm interested in creating a situation that makes visible the labor of pushing one's self through college especially as a Queer, Brown, first gen student. I'd also like to point towards how these institutions are kept and maintained by Brown folks whom some of the same students have a special affinity with. This is a performance that's thinking about them and these social choreographies constructed by institutional racism."