January 13, 2017 - The Renaissance Society at The University of Chicago - Xavier Cha: In The News
January 13, 2017

The Renaissance Society at The University of Chicago

The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago.

Xavier Cha
In The News

January 28, 2017, 4pm 

The Renaissance Society at The University of Chicago
Cobb Hall, 4th Floor
5811 S. Ellis Ave
Chicago, Illinois 60637
USA
Hours: Tuesday–Friday 10am–5pm,
Saturday–Sunday 12–5pm

renaissancesociety.org
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Intermissions is a new programming series at the Renaissance Society devoted to ephemeral or performance-based works, staged in the empty gallery in between exhibitions. This recurring platform presents two works every year, supporting a wide variety of live projects.

For the inaugural Intermissions performance, Xavier Cha presents In The News, a new work conceived for the Ren’s large open space. Creating a volatile scene for the watchful eyes of the crowd, two actors engage with each other and their surroundings in a hyper-physical encounter. Cha’s performances and videos grapple with aspects of subjectivity and agency in the digital age. In dynamic ways, they explore our mutating senses of self and our relations to other people—fed by amplified circuits of self-spectatorship, voyeurism, or surveillance, but grounded as much as ever in the physical body.

The news cycle is relentless, unavoidable, and always in motion. This is a truism of sorts, but it feels more convincing than ever this year, as “the news” takes on a frenetic, almost animistic vitality—a nebulous entity that seems to have a life of its own, chasing after world events and producing them at the same time. For many years, media theorists have observed that reporting the news can end up affecting what happens; the proliferation of fake stories and dubious sources online has only upped the ante. Even so, it’s easy to imagine that the agency rests with those shaping the stories. Journalism exposes things that might not otherwise be seen and provides a check on powers that would prefer to be unwatched, but it can also encourage a kind of predatory spectatorship among readers and viewers, especially when the world is brimming with violence.

These dynamics and concerns hover in the background of Xavier Cha’s new performance, although it unfolds in a different experiential mode—without screens and video footage, without talking heads or shouting headlines. Instead, Cha delivers a moment of intensity, featuring nothing more than two people in a room, in close proximity to those watching them. At once minimal and maximal in its different aspects, In The News is a present-tense spectacle that implicates its viewers, shadowed, perhaps, by recent events or premonitions of what’s to come.

Xavier Cha (1980) is based in New York. She has had recent solo exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland (2016); 47 Canal, New York (2015, 2012); Aspect / Ratio, Chicago (2013); and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2011). Cha has staged performance works at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Santa Barbara (2015); INOVA, Milwaukee (2015); and the New Museum, New York (2013), to name only a few. Cha received a Frieze Film Commission in 2015, a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2014, and a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in 2012.

Intermissions is curated by Karsten Lund.

This series is funded by a grant from the Efroymson Family Fund.

The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago is committed to supporting ambitious artistic experimentation, primarily through the commissioning of new works, and to fostering rigorous, interdisciplinary discourse. In addition to the exhibition program, this independent, non-collecting museum hosts lectures, concerts, performances, screenings, and readings, and regularly publishes catalogues and artist books. All of the Renaissance Society’s exhibitions and events are free and open to the public.

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