“Rituals of Rented Island: Object Theater, Loft Performance, and the New Psychodrama—Manhattan, 1970-1980”

Rituals of Rented Island is a compendium of an era to be remembered as ground breaking. It is the atmosphere of an era captured in film, objects, and storefronts. The narrative of the artist comes in to play as does their sensibilities, drawing the viewer in with intimacy, uncomfortableness, the comic, and curiosity. Rather than searching outward for answers, the artists begin  within. Some of the artists achieved this while remaining unboastful of their role.

Yvonne Rainer was studying film and using it as medium, and from there developed a slow-movement performance. Part narrative, her piece lasted two hours—of a New York couple’s romance and drama, and is remembered for its fight scene. She falls to the ground, but in slow motion she is a wilting flower, collapsing delicately, with precision, and grace.

“The slow impact of each hit is seductive rather than violent. The confrontation shows the cohesion between the two adversaries. The fighting is fair and has a peaceful resolution.”

The slow motion treatment creates many entry points, rather than the fast blur that love and drama typically happens in.

Cleverly arranged, the space is broken into rooms that you will wander in and out of. Storefronts, parlors, private spaces, and theaters engage. The not too distant past is forgettable to the masses, but for finally receiving the attention of major institutions. The scramble is on to document an incredible shift in performative arts, that pushed perceived limits.

Organized by Jay Sanders, the Whitney’s Curator and Curator of Performance, Rituals of Rented Island will be on view until February 2014 in the Museum’s third-floor Peter Norton Family Galleries.