A Legacy of Performance

1980s 2000s Artists Chicago Performance

Ping Chong staged a performance that engaged local artists, and, years later, Tino Seghal did the same.

I know that by the time Mary Jane Jacob came on the scene, the logistical problems of presenting performance directly in the galleries became too onerous. You just really couldn't stage things. So, we started working with other institutions. And I do remember a performance by Ping Chong that was done at—oh god, now I'm going to—MoMing. There was a space on the north side called MoMing, and it was—there was a dance company associated with MoMing, but they also had an exhibition space. And I remember going to performances there, to rehearsals of his performance, and again, it was another one of these—Ping Chong was from, I'm pretty sure, New York—but came in and rehearsed local people.

And it was kind of dance-based performance. And just seeing that, processing people from the local community—There was a pretty important Chicago performance community in the late seventies and into the eighties. So, seeing people get this chance to work with Ping Chong, and sort of stretch themselves and get some, you know, cred on their resumes for when they tried to go to New York or whatever. That was really very important.

But then when we got Tino Sehgal in, and he was doing his The Kiss piece, I just flashed back because here was the same process: that local Chicago dancers were being brought in and selected, and they were being rehearsed by this person to create this performance. And I was like, "Yeah, we're good at doing this. This is something that we've done." And this is in part in that heritage.

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