Thursday, March 3, 2011

Tamy Ben-Tor, "Gewald" 2008

Created in 2008 and presented at the Zach Feurer Gallery, New York video artist Tamy Ben-Tor tackles issues pertaining to social customs and gender roles in her video titled Gewald. As evident of her work, Ben-Tor uses child-like story scenarios and songs to awaken social perceptions through her witty portrayals of everyday-life. At first impression, her work seems silly and even irrelevant, but as the video progresses, one may begin to understand the serious subject she addresses and the message conveyed.

At first in Gewald, Ben-Tor dressed in brightly colored folk attire sings how we must be aware of the household “man covered in mud who knows no piece” and the “woman with a cold womb like a frog.” As the video progresses, she advises children to “carve into their hearts” and “turn their eyes away” from the behavioral roles portrayed by these individuals she sings about.

Ben-Tor was born in Jerusalem in 1975. She casts herself as the main character in her performance art and utilizes both photography and film in her work. One source comments how her art is reflective of artist Cindy Sherman. It is also said that she comments on Jewish and Israelite relations in her performance art. As apparent of this video, Ben-tor uses only simple props and low-tech filming to say what she feels and experience in life in a simple yet direct manner that makes her a unique and prominent performance artist.

Richard Serra, "Surprise Attack" 1973

Richard Serra is the artist who constructs those huge architectural walls made of metal. People walk between these curved slabs and experience space in a totally different way. I was surprised to find that this is him in this earlier video performance he created in the 70s. As I understand, performance art really took off in the 70s and became a popular avenue that artists explored.

Dan Dunn is a performance painter who uses his whole body to paint his large and expressive works. I definitely read this work as a unique form of performance art and well worth sharing!

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