The show of painting and performance, which will take place across all three of the gallery’s exhibition spaces, will open February 8 and remain on view through March 17, 2018. A public opening reception will be held on Thursday, February 8 from 6pm until 8pm, with a participatory performance at 7:30pm. Subsequent public performances will take place at 5:30pm on all days the gallery is open for the duration of the show.
Slapstick will be Rubell’s first food performance open to the general public in New York. It is also the artist’s first time as a live performer in her work. The daily performance consists of two pedestals, one with hundreds of cream pies and the other with Rubell standing on it. One viewer at a time is permitted to approach the pie pedestal, pick up a pie, and throw it in Rubell’s face. Slapstick is a meditation on status, power, vulnerability, privilege, humiliation, shame, dignity, risk, and acceptance, at a time when a questioning of these issues is at the center of public discourse.
Two exhibition spaces feature new paintings from Rubell’s Partition Painting series, almond- colored bathroom partition panels painted with Cadmium red oil paint sticks. The original molds of these R&F pigment sticks -- popularized by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Richard Serra and others - - were made by lipstick-mold specialists, and Rubell uses them exactly like lipstick, scrawling her actual phone number and hearts in various forms onto the partitions. According to Rubell, “The bathroom stall is a place where private thoughts and feelings are expressed, with the intent of public consumption. I don’t really see the difference between that and an artist’s studio.”
The Partition Paintings blur the line between conceptual art, painting, performance and participatory work. They are created with the intent of convincing the viewer to call the phone number painted on them. Rubell uses the language of painting as a means of persuasion, a call to action. They embody a profound optimism, about the viewer and about painting.