Performance at 6pm +
Closing Party until 9pm
Both events are free and open to all.
Image Credit: Autumn Knight, LaLa Consortium, performance, The McKinney Avenue Contemporary, 2016
About Grand Opening/Grand Closing:
To mark the permanent closure of Marfa Contemporary, on January 13 New York-based artist Autumn Knight performs a new work about closure in the institution’s empty building. The performance with video, titled Grand Opening/Grand Closing, involves audience members following Knight and Marfa-based collaborators—musicians, artists—as they interact and "open" and "close" parts of the building, which is now defined by moving bodies and light rather than objects. With melancholy and joy, Grand Opening/Grand Closing gestures toward the past, present, and future, and what happens when a door closes.
Grand Opening/Grand Closing is curated by Kate Green, Guest Director.
About Autumn Knight:
Working site-specifically and often with collaborators, performance-based Autumn Knight (b. 1980 Houston, TX) develops live artworks and related videos and installations that use gestures and words to explore the effects of institutional conditions and contexts on bodies. Knight choreographs poignant, humorous moments—live, sculptural, video—that involve people interacting with each other and spaces, evoking the body’s politics, and its power.
For the live performance La-a Consortium (2016) Knight sat on a stage around a table with four other black performers, “convening” a meeting of the fictional “La-a Consortium” (dash pronounced). From the stage Knight spelled out the rules: consortium members were to each, in turn, read the names of potential institutional partners—“Shepanique Center for Literacy,” “NaQuante Gallery,” “La shiri Center for Curatorial Studies”—as the others expressed their opinions, with “side eyes,” “shoulder shakes,” or “lip puckers.” The performance, which threw into relief the lack of diversity in mainstream institutional contexts, ended on a haunting note: Knight instructed conveners to touch one another in the “kitchen,” a term used among some African-Americans for the nape hair, which, decades ago, was tamed with a hot comb, in kitchens. The visual chain of nape-touching was absurd, but also charged, evoking restrictions placed on black bodies and language until today. Knight, in these final moments, made startlingly evident that any convening of such a consortium is, indeed, still utopic.
Autumn Knight lives in New York, NY. She received a BA from Dillard University (2003) and an MA from New York University (2010), and was recently a resident artist at The Studio Museum Harlem (2016-2017). Her work has been featured in solo and group presentations at, among other institutions, the Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois (2017), Contemporary Art Museum Houston (2015-2016), Artpace (2015), Crystal Bridges Museum (2014), and Project Row Houses (2012-2013). In 2018, Knight’s work will be featured at Diverseworks and in an exhibition at the Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Autumn Knight, Sanity TV, performance, Studio Museum Harlem, 2017
Autumn Knight, Untitlted, 2017. Courtesy of the artist.