July 8, 2014 - Walker Art Center - The Living Collections Catalogue: On Performativity
July 8, 2014

The Living Collections Catalogue: On Performativity

On Performativity, viewed on a tablet. Image courtesy the Walker Art Center.

The Living Collections Catalogue:
On Performativity


The Walker Art Center announces the launch of the Living Collections Catalogue, a new online publishing platform dedicated to scholarly research on its renowned multidisciplinary collections. This web-based project is an ongoing serial publication that replaces the traditional printed collections catalogues of the past. As a dynamic form of publication, the Catalogue will allow the Walker greater flexibility to dive more deeply into its collections and build new thinking around and connections amongst its diverse holdings, with free and easy access for scholars, researchers, and the public around the world.

The Living Collections Catalogue provides scholars and enthusiasts access to unique documents, original interpretation, and rich media resources about select artworks from its holdings. Each volume in the series will explore a unique aspect of the Walker’s collections, reflecting the multidisciplinary interests and editorial perspectives of the institution’s curators.

The first volume, On Performativity, explores performance-based work in the Walker’s collections and its relationship to the visual arts. Commissioned essays by scholars Philip Auslander, Shannon Jackson, and Dorothea von Hantelmann frame a broader consideration of performance in contemporary art, while essays by Elizabeth Carpenter, Eric Crosby, Peter Eleey, Bartholomew Ryan, and Irene Small examine individual works in the Walker’s collections.

Throughout the volume, multimedia assets supplement in-depth essays on artworks such as the drawings of legendary choreographer Trisha Brown, an artist whose work involves both dance and the visual arts; a seminal installation by artist Hélio Oiticica and filmmaker Neville D’Almedia that integrates musical soundtrack, multiple slide projections, and the interaction of viewers in a new kind of cinematic space; Naked, a live, in-gallery, durational performance by movement artists Eiko & Koma commissioned by the Walker; the pioneering, constructed situations of artist Tino Sehgal; and an Anthropometry painting by Yves Klein, who used live models covered in his signature blue pigment as “living paintbrushes.” In addition to in-depth analyses of these influential works, the volume poses critical questions about the evolving relationship between performance, institutions like the Walker, and the future of collecting.

Future volumes in the Living Collections Catalogue include Art Expanded, 1958-1978, which examines the radical transformations of art and artistic practices in the 1960s and 1970s and draws extensively upon the Walker’s archives and renowned Fluxus collection; and an exploration of the Walker’s groundbreaking acquisition of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company Collection, a trove of stage sets, props, costumes, and other artifacts created in collaboration with artists and designers.

The Living Collections Catalogue is made possible by grants from the Getty Foundation as part of its Online Scholarly Catalogue Initiative (OSCI). Launched in 2009, this initiative is a partnership of nine major art institutions in the U.S. and U.K. working together to make the transition from print catalogues to widely accessible online publications for the digital age. The tools developed and lessons learned from the OSCI collaboration are openly shared by the Getty Foundation with the museum community. Partnering OSCI institutions, in addition to the Walker, are the Art Institute of Chicago, the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Seattle Art Museum, and Tate.

Walker Art Center launches the Living Collections Catalogue with On Performativity
Walker Art Center
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