Art NotesArts & Culture

Museum Mix Celebrates Alice Aycock; Michele Chidester’s Performance Art

Twists and Turns: Over the course of her four-decade career, New York City-based sculpture artist Alice Aycock has become well known for her large-scale ideas addressing themes related to the environment, architecture, metaphysics and the philosophical ramifications of technology. 

One such project, “Park Avenue Paper Chase,” was a collection of seven stark white aluminum and fiberglass sculptures embodying the unpredictable nature of wind as it touched down on the installation site, a stretch of Park Avenue on the Upper East Side.

“For the Park Avenue project, I tried to visualize the movement of wind energy as it flowed up and down the avenue creating random whirlpools, touching down here and there and sometimes forming dynamic three-dimensional massing of forms,” says Aycock in an artist statement. “The sculptural assemblages suggest waves, wind turbulence, turbines and vortexes of energy. One of the works, in particular, references the expressive quality of wind through drapery and the chaotic beauty of fluid/flow dynamics. As much as the sculptures are obviously placed on the mall, I wanted the work to have a random, haphazard quality—in some cases piling up on itself, in others spinning off into the air.”

Two of the series’ massive sculptures, “Twin Vortexes” and “Waltzing Matilda,” have spun their way south to the Georgia Museum of Art’s Jane and Harry Willson Sculpture Garden, where they will remain on view through Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016. Whereas “Twin Vortexes” takes shape as a pair of topsy-turvy cyclones seemingly defying gravity through their chaotic, spiraling twists, “Waltzing Matilda” resembles soft folds of fabric being gently rippled by a fluttering breeze. 

Aycock’s sculptures will be the source of inspiration for the fall installation of Museum Mix, the museum’s thrice-yearly late-night art party, which features refreshments, music and full access to the galleries. 

Jenny Gropp, aka DJ Jenny G, will provide a sonic backdrop to the evening, spinning tracks that span across several eras and countries. Well versed in sound art and electronic music, she has hosted specialty shows for Radio 1190 in Boulder, CO; KBGA in Missoula, MT; and WVUA in Tuscaloosa, AL, over the past 15 years. In addition to studying music in West Africa, her travels have landed her DJ gigs in Japan and cities all across the U.S.

“I told [GMOA’s] Michael Lachowski I was interested in how Aycock said she was visualizing the movement of wind when she was sculpting, and that I wanted to offer an aural capacity to that experience,” says Gropp. “I’m thinking of high-energy, sweeping music—everything from shoegaze to krautrock to fills of bright drone. Lots of variety, with dancing in mind! Basically, I want to saturate the sculpture garden with sound.” 

Gropp, who currently works as the managing editor for the Georgia Review, will release her first book of mixed-genre poetry and prose through Kore Press this March. Founded in 1993, Kore Press is a small, feminist-owned nonprofit press with a vision of publishing literary works by a diversity of women, particularly those who are underrepresented in the cultural mainstream. 

Museum Mix will be held Thursday, Oct. 1 from 8 p.m.–12 a.m. Guests are encouraged to tag photos from the evening with the hashtag #museummix.

The Artist is Present: Local painter, performance artist and puppeteer Michele Chidester will present a series of multi-day performance art pieces within The Box@ATHICA throughout the next month.

During “Walking,” the first installment, set for Thursday, Oct. 1–Sunday, Oct. 4, Chidester will make meditative laps around the 8-feet-by-8-feet exhibition cube, marking her progress by drawing lines upon the wall. Representing an interplay between freedom and captivity, the frequency of lines serves as a measurement of both time and distance. 

“Walking is a big part of my relationship with my body and my emotions,” says Chidester. “I like to walk in a long line. That feels wonderful. Walking in a confined area is much less wonderful. It is called pacing. I’m going to be pacing within a cube, and I’m going to be drawing the long line.”

From Thursday, Oct. 15–Sunday, Oct. 18, Chidester will perform “Hens and Chicks,” a piece exploring the idea of humans as makers within the theme of matrilineality. Seeking to create a purpose for a collection of clay domes the artist has been making lately, she intends to arrange and interact with them in ways that highlight their weight, texture and sound. 

“I look at [the clay domes] and I think of the succulent plant my mom has grown in every garden she has had, moving from place to place in Colorado,” says Chidester. “It is called ‘Hens and Chicks,’ and that makes a quick thought-process circle from thinking about my mom [to] thinking about moms and kids, and my mom and myself and my sister, and pregnancy and motherhood, and of course more thinking about my mom.”

Chidester’s performances will take place through the duration of gallery hours: Thursdays, 2–8 p.m. and Fridays–Sundays, 2–5 p.m.