Artist Michael Alan invited me to come to his live art happening "The Living Installation / NYC HEALING SHOW" at historic art dive
ABC No Rio
in the recently relit - restored Lower East Side, to promote NYC's post Hurricane Sandy Healing, as well as his own.
Earlier this year Alan was severely injured, getting hit by a car during an art piece, suffering major spinal damage, and a concussion. It affects his ability to walk and perform, so this is one of his first shows post accident.
Michael Alan has been doing performance installation pieces for 8 years, and this was my first foray into the madness. It's a hard show to explain, and is something you can try to capture in pictures or video (although none are allowed - except by his photography assistant, Vandal Expressionist Joseph Meloy), but you'd really have to experience it in person to truly appreciate this type of art.
DJ Tim "Love Lee". Photo by Joseph Meloy.
A pile of trash, paint, and thrift store odds and ends begin to take form to as the artist / musician / witch doctor moves slowly about the space, draped in paint soaked rags. A projector casts images of past performances over the scene. The sound is loud, and the music is unique and intense. A shit-ton of well known bands collaborated with Michael Alan to create soundtracks for his installations. To name a few: Ariel Pink, Meredith Monk, Geneva Jucuzzi, Japanther, Jello Biafra, The Krays, Japanther, Odd Nosdam, Vas Deferens organisation, R. Stevie Moore, Tim “Love” Lee , Kenny Scharf, Jeff and Jane Hudson, 3 Teens Kill 4, Mr. Suburbia, and Maripol.
Model Allene La Spina. Photo by Joseph Meloy.
As if Marjory the trash heap from Fraggle Rock grew human tits. Nude models enter the scene already in progress and are almost instantly draped by Alan with fabric, masks, and paint. They are posed alone, with another model, or posed and given a prop to manipulate.
Michael Alan. Photo by Joseph Meloy.
A strange lesson in visual psychology happens to you, as you might have seen in the febreze experiment commercials when the blindfolded people think they are in a garden when they are actually in a cess pool. A layer of white paint has visually the same effect when poured over a room of garbage.
He not only paints his models, he paints himself as well, dripping it over his face and hair, down his clothes, and various rags he wraps and drapes himself with over the course of the performance.
Model's Garry Boake and Rose Lou. Photo by Joseph Meloy.
With yarn, toys, and alienesque masks he transforms seated or standing nude models into a bizarre constantly altering installation. Paint pours from a bucket he holds above himself from his arm which is covered in a blue animal fur resembling a dismembered arm of Cookie Monster.
An interesting mix of people watched from folding chairs as the 8 hour performance went on with people coming, going, and sometimes coming back. The asses-in-seats varied from about 8 to 30 or more. Some were fully engaged, some were texting, some sneaking photos on their phones, others brought their sketch books, or painting supplies and used the scene as a live figure study drawing class.
Model David Modello. Photo by Joseph Meloy.
Although he was obviously in pain, his injuries weighing on him after hour four, he mentioned to me "I can barely walk, I'm in so much pain right now." Sadly that was only hour four.
I was inspired and had a memory of the fun I may have imagined having as a kid watching Nickelodeon. It made me think of this obscure show I watched in my youth called Finder's Keepers where the object was to run through a fully furnished house, destroying everything, making as much of a mess as possible.
Instead of running amok through a house, Michael is running amok inside the Death Star Garbage Compactor, creeping gingerly, weighing each footfall for safe passage among the limbs and rubble. Backed with a bizarre soundtrack, a can of paint, a walking cane, a muppet limb, and a handful of submissive nudes. This art may just heal the planet.
Above photos by Joseph Meloy.
The next performance of The Living Installation, which is a continuation of the NYC Healing show, titled Thanks-Living will be a 5-hour live show.
NOoSPHERE Artist / and performance space
251 East Houston St. NYC.
November 24, 2012
Hosted by King Rid! and art monk Michael Kronenberg.
Reserve Your Tickets HERE.
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