Revolutionary Love 2: I am Your Best Fantasy
Conflating grassroots political activism, performance art, queer theory, and national politics, New York–based artist Sharon Hayes will conceive and stage two large-scale, public performances at both the 2008 Democratic and Republican National Conventions as part of Creative Time’s summer-long, national program Democracy in America: The National Campaign. Hayes will recruit and collaborate with 75-100 citizens in each city who will become the medium of her work by reciting, in unison, a text written by Hayes that addresses the relationship between political desire and romantic desire. The speakers, drawn from the gay, lesbian, and transgendered community in each city, will recite the 10 minute texts approximately 3 times over the course of an hour.
Drawing on both the history of the Gay Liberation Movement, which forged a new and deep relationship between love and politics, and the current political moment, in which the war figures as a central element in the Presidential campaign, this performance challenges simplistic oppositions between love and war. Specifically, Hayes is interested in the militaristic aspect of groups that operated at the beginning of the gay rights movement, many of whom assumed aggressive, reactionary stances to culture at large. Where the classic slogan says, “Make love not war,” Hayes references the Stonewall-era Gay Liberation movement and their chant, “An army of lovers cannot lose.”
Hayes’ performance is intended to be a spectacle, and is designed to mirror the spectacular nature of the National Conventions. Reacting against the tendency of groups to polarize feelings about homosexuality for political gain, Hayes describes these performances as personal addresses to the power structure, or a group of people speaking their hearts as one.
About Democracy In America: The National Campaign
Hayes’ project is one of 3 commissions (in addition to those of Rodney McMillian & Olga Koumoundouros and Mark Tribe) made by Creative Time as a part of its public art initiative Democracy in America: The National Campaign. This program offers platforms for artists to address the shifting nature of democracy in this country—from probing fundamental questions about the nature of war, freedom, justice, and the social contract to encouraging open and public dialogue on timely issues from red states to blue, rural communities to urban centers, classrooms to town halls, and artists’ studios to public squares. Democracy in America will unfold in four parts:
Town Hall Talks
Democracy in America launched in five cities across America in March 2008 with artist- led “town hall”-style gatherings, in which 5 questions were put to local artists and activists in order to gain understanding of strategies and goals for each city, transcripts of which will be published on www.creativetime.org and in print.
Next, performative public art commissions—by Sharon Hayes, Rodney McMillian & Olga Koumoundouros, and Mark Tribe—will take place in six cities across the nation and will examine the roots of American democracy as well as the progressive political ethos of the 1960s and 70s.
From September 20 to 26 at the Park Avenue Armory, Democracy in America comes home to New York City in the form of a “Convergence Center,” a headquarters for a week of numerous art performances, documentation from the national commissions, a group show, and speeches by key artists and thinkers.
Democracy In America Publication
Finally, a comprehensive reader containing artists’ projects and critical essays that address the political art and activism of the past eight years will be published by Creative Time Books in September 2008, released at the Convergence Center.
About Sharon Hayes
Sharon Hayes has produced challenging work in performance, video, and installation for over a decade. Staging protests, delivering speeches, and organizing demonstrations, she creates interventions that highlight the friction between collective activities and personal actions. Employing the artistic and academic methodologies of theater, film, anthropology, linguistics, and journalism, Hayes has made work that engages history, politics, and public space. Her work has been shown at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Andrew Kreps Gallery, Parlour Projects, the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study Program, The New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, and many other national and international exhibition spaces.
For more information on Hayes’ work, please visit www.shaze.info.
For information on how to participate, visit the Revolutionary Love 2 signup page.
Sharon Hayes’ Revolutionary Love 2: I Am Your Best Fantasy is presented by Creative Time with the Walker Art Center and the UnConvention. Revolutionary Love 2: I Am Your Best Fantasy is a part of Democracy in America, a national public art initiative organized by Creative Time.