Thursday, December 8th, 2016, 19.00 (opening)
Desperado — Video / Performance Art
[Mandy Morrison: Desperado (video still)]
Desperado (3’45”, 1998)
[…] [a] sustained, successful, and cost-effective investigation into identity, sexual difference, and the relationship of these things to the codes of popular culture is to be found in Mandy Morrison’s 4½-minute Desperado […] Morrison, drawing on the coincidence of her last name with John Wayne’s real name (Marion Morrison), performs a variety of iconic traditional and contemporary cowboy maneuvers (drawing a pistol, riding a mechanical bull, effecting the familiar Wayne swagger), all while wearing a two-dimensional photo cut-out mask of Wayne and a prosthetic set of genitals that are shaped like a penis and testicles but are in fact an extremely distended vulva.
[Alexandra Keller and Frazer Ward, Cinema Journal 45, No. 2, 2006]
Early in his film career, American icon John Wayne swapped his effeminate name -Marion Morrison- (similar to the artist’s own) for the tough-sounding trade name that would lend credence to his macho image and gun-toting taming of the American West. Wayne’s screen persona was one that enhanced the proviso of Manifest Destiny-enabling the actual and cinematic distortion of other narratives. With the character’s fantasy –albeit improbable transgendered genitalia, it is a referent to gendered distortion as well as a place where the lines between image and self become blurred, and where sexual identity exists amidst shifting realities. Working the piece as a music video, with edited clips of country western music (sung by Clint Black), the artist becomes a pseudo-Wayne and entertains the terrain of a covert power and duo sexuality.
[provided by the artist]
An interdisciplinary artist, Morrison's work explores aspects of narrative as it applies to space in the personal, corporal and mediated realm; in particular, how the body projects itself in varying contexts. Playful as well as aggressive, she has used archetypes and stereotypes of gender as a springboard to present the physical and psychological world of conditioning. Recent works have involved collaborators that examine, as well as expand notions of 'self'. Her process, which integrates narrative with varying forms of physicality, invites deviation and transformation from prescribed norms. For over 20 years, she has created videos, site-specific installations and performances as well as a documentary film (Potential Partners, 2006). Her work has been exhibited internationally in galleries, museums, and festivals including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Künstlerhaus Hamburg, and CINESONIKA in Vancouver. She has been visiting faculty at Pratt Institute, and Rutgers University, and a Visiting Artist at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, The University of Minnesota, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, among others. Additionally she has been the recipient of grants and honors, including fellowships from the Illinois Arts Council, and the Council on the Arts and Humanities on Staten Island as well as residencies from the University of Wisconsin, and the University of Ohio's Wexner Center. In her most recent performance Users presented at New York City’s Dixon Place in 2016, she collaborated with a former corrections officer in the creation of a fictive narrative.