Guardians of the Secret
Performance, QR codes, video, and 2 act play
Performance and videos: Max Braverman, Lauren Costa, AnnaMaria Craparotta, Michelle Garcia, Jill Hurley, Maggie Jensen, Luke Mannarino, Carmello Nicotra, Rosie Ranauro, and Lenny Schnier
Text and production: Maggie Jensen
Link to videos here.
Guardians of the Secret is a performance/impromptu collective that investigates a uniformity that is imposed on many that work in galleries or museums. So often the gallery’s code of behavior not only masks the worker’s identity but paradoxically posits the worker as an all-knowing shaman interpreter of an artwork’s meaning. Moreover, the staff employee, who is often called upon to deliver scripted lines to visitors, is treated as an integral mechanism structuring the gallery’s physical space. In essence, the employee becomes yet another (undeclared) object on display.
In reference to Jackson Pollock’s 1943 painting, this performance expands upon Pollock’s theme of the ineffable nature of ‘reading’ a work of art, extended here to the inability of an art institution to do that for the viewer, however much it tries. It points to the irony of visitors’ asking the guard or gallery attendant to play interpreter of one’s own experience and to the all too common belief that someone associated with the gallery ought to have the answers to the artwork’s questions filed away for a viewer’s random access.
Through each performers’ linked ID badges, we let into the gallery space a little bit of what we are outside the gallery walls in order to break the complex facades that make up one’s gallery experience.
Performed on February 28th, 2016, Gallery Kayafas, Boston, MA