Stuart Sherman: Spectacles (1975-89)2. Mar - 11. May 13 / ended Trade
Thursday - Saturday 11am - 6pm (Mon-Wed by prior arrangement)
Stuart is a performance artist, you're a performance artist right?
How do you get received when you go out to the Midwest to do this stuff? Like, people think it is weird, or what do they think?
I think they think it's enjoyably weird...I think it is weird of course, but they seem to enjoy it, I had a very good response…some people don't think it is weird at all, they think it has great significance and they spend a lot of time analysing every action I perform…or every frame of every film
Do they come up to you with cockeyed theories of what you have done? and present you with them?
Well you'd have to try very hard to come up with a really cockeyed theory because it is pretty cockeyed stuff to begin with isn't it? so…its pretty weird…well, what I do allows for a lot of different interpretations, so actually, seriously, people say some strange things but they have a certain validity, there is a lot of room for them
Stuart Sherman’s work spanned video, performance and theatre. He is best known for his series of performative ‘Spectacles’, of which nine are shown in this exhibition.
Often produced just for camera, these inventive performances took their cues from Sherman’s other outputs such as writing poems and plays. The work combines these other activities into the work in surprising ways; through the poetic substitution of words for objects and the sculptural, aesthetic and narrative possibilities of the live arrangements of things.
Sometimes the objects appear to be used simply because they make a sense visually : the box fits through the hole, in others the organisation of the objects creates mini scenarios : toy car crashes into a chair, the chair falls over. These little narratives move on rhythmically through the length of each work, with the objects, people and Sherman himself in constant movement, adjustment and re-arrangement.
Stuart Sherman’s work is rarely exhibited on this scale and this exhibition is the first of its kind in the UK, offering an overview of the Spectacle series.
Stuart Sherman was born in Providence, Rhode Island, USA, in 1946 and died in 2001. His work has been exhibited at the Performing Garage, The Museum of Modern Art, Mudd Club, The Kitchen, Franklin Furnace, Whitney Museum of American Art, and Theater for the New City, New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; List Center at M.I.T., Cambridge, MA; Kunstmuseum Berne, Kunstmuseum Zurich, and Pompidou Center, Paris.
This exhibition is also the first in a two-year programme at Trade’s brand new exhibition space, covering the ground floor of 1 Thoresby Street, an iconic Victorian building on the edge of the city. Building on a rich history of performance and film in the city, Trade’s programme pays particular attention to performative, social, collaborative and collective artworks. In addition, the programme provides opportunities to engage and reconsider the importance of historical artists’ film and video in relation to the current social, political and artistic climate.
Room 1 (1975-76)
Selections from the First Spectacle 1975, 28:47 min, b&w, sound
Second Spectacle 1976, 45 min, color, sound
Seventh Spectacle 1976, 31 min, color, sound
Room 2 (1978-79)
Tenth Spectacle 1978, 29:40 min, color, sound
Selections from the Eleventh Spectacle (The Erotic) and Eighth Spectacle (People's Faces) c.1979, 20 min, color, sound
Room 3 (1980-89)
Thirteenth Spectacle (Time) 1980, 38 min, color, sound
Twelfth Spectacle (Language) 1980, 32 min, color, sound
Fourteenth Spectacle Performance 1989, 52:48 min, color, sound
Interview Text: A truncated version of Kestutis Nakas' interview with Stuart Sherman on'Your Program of Programs' 1980's cable TV show.
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