After a year away from public gatherings we are thrilled to bring back Essex Flowers’ annual New York Flower Festival. Curated by The Moving Company, this vanguard live performance series will take place over two weekends in August and feature experiments in light, sound, movement, meditation, performative lectures and more!
Summer Showers is: Andrew Lampert, Annabel Paran, Annie Chen, David B. Smith, ESHÉ ALL DAY HUES, Fan Wu, Ivan Sikic, Jemila MacEwan, Laura Bernstein, Lathan Hardy, Lindsay Packer, Lydia McCarthy, Matt Evans, Samuel Budin, Susannah Simpson, Tamar Ettun, Tanya Marquardt
Hosted by Laura Bernstein and Rebecca Pristoop
Thanks to: Rufus Tureen, Jamie Chan, Tamar Ettun
Intern: Yuli Aloni Primor
Masks are required for all visitors to the gallery
Saturday August 14th
'How High?' is a durational performance that speaks of the experience of being an immigrant in the United States. For 7 hours (one for each year he's lived in the US), Iván Sikic will be inflating red, white and blue balloons within the gallery space at Essex Flowers. At the end of the performance, the gallery space will be filled with balloons that make up the colors of the US flag, all inflated with the artist's breath. Viewers are also welcome to participate in the performance by inflating balloons and adding them to the work.
Visitors are welcome to experience ‘How High?’ starting at 11:30am. The performance will culminate between 6-6:30pm.
Iván Sikic (Lima, 1983) is a conceptual and performance artist. He has shown work at The 8th Floor (New York), Smack Mellon (Brooklyn), the Museum of Contemporary Art, (Lima), Km 0.2 (San Juan and Mexico City), Luis Adelantado (Bogotá, Madrid, and Valencia), UV Estudios (Buenos Aires), The Border Project Space (Brooklyn), MANA Contemporary, Miami, and Vigil Gonzales (Lima), to name a few. His work has been written about in publications including Artnet News, The Huffington Post, VICE, Metro, New York, Art Guide Australia, Fast Company, TerremotoMX, amongst others.
A meditation on our current moment of climate crisis and a container for the unknown---the disbelief, scale and speed of catastrophes---Miracle Tapestries seeks to stimulate curiosity and wonder toward the natural world through movement, color and form. The tapestries are a hand sewn calendar of symbols adorned with real and imagined creatures and elemental phenomena, recording events that occurred in every month of 2020. For Summer Showers at Essex Flowers, Bernstein will ask the community to join her in public procession to activate the tapestries.
Laura Bernstein is a multidisciplinary artist based in Brooklyn. Drawing on mythologies of metamorphoses and debunked scientific theories, her work imagines how human and animal bodies--and the earth itself--might radically adapt and evolve to withstand climate change. With the support of Franklin Furnace Fund, Bernstein directed and produced “A Speculative Performance Presented by The Institute of Super-Species Research and Experimentation,” as part of the BRIC Biennial Volume III: South Brooklyn Edition (2019). Most recently, "Miracle Tapestries: A Stage for Imagination and Invention in a New Age," debuted in collaboration with Rebecca Pristoop and The Moving Company in Fort Greene Park during SHOW UP, a one-day celebration of civic action and performances on May 1, 2021.
That’s Facts Live
A live conversation and call-in about sex, dating, love, relationships, self-care and self-help in the time of Covid.
Using tropes from reality TV confessionals and Instagram celebrity accounts, I obsessively reflect on relationships, sex and self. I enact a thinly-veiled version of myself: I wear a wig, false lashes and nails and perform a part of myself I never thought I would embrace. I am a woman I both desire to be - free, shameless, direct, open - and dislike - self-absorbed, obsessive, arrogant, embarrassing. The Covid-crisis created a space for me to sink fully into this persona, posting these videos daily to Instagram during lockdown gave me a reason to wake-up in the morning.
Lydia McCarthy’s work has been exhibited at 106 Green, Essex Flowers, Sardine and the Scandinavia House in New York, NAU Gallery in Stockholm, A-DASH in Athens and MECA in San Juan. She has been reviewed and published in The New Yorker, Art F City, The Wall Street Journal, Dossier and the Huffington Post. Lydia is an Associate Professor of Photography in the School of Art and Design at Alfred University.
Friday August 27th
Jala Mudra Meditation
ESHÉ ALL DAY HUES
For Summer Showers at Essex Flowers, I will be introducing hasta mudras that activate the water element in our bodies through mediation. Hasta mudras are hand positions used in Hindi, Ayurvedic, and Buddhist meditations to balance our energetic levels. Since showers consist of water and so do we, let's activate the fluidity and newness within ourselves and each other.
ESHÉ ALL DAY HUES is a Brooklyn-based sonochromatic and musical artist that unifies the relationship of music, color, fabric, and hands by means of translating and alternating the way humans experience sensuality. He is a recent M.A. graduate of NYU Tisch School of the Arts Performance Studies program and is currently preparing for an art show at One Art Space in Tribeca from September 2nd-6th.
Friends with Benefits
Annabel Paran, Fan Wu, Annie Chen
Annabel Paran lands in her own body like soil into water.
Annie Chen slithers beyond her past life as a brain in a shell. Fan Wu distills poetic nutrients from reality's fleshy pores.
Our group meets weekly between the texts of Butoh masters and our own immediate experience, between embodied presence and the computer screen. Together we have been: asking questions using our bodies and friendship as a medium; attempting pre-lingual body poetry; inquiring into pleasure and discomfort; decoupling from our defaults; holding questions with our bodies, in the foggy vale between (politicized) identity and unmarked being.
For Summer Showers we will be sharing an offering/excerpt of our mutual practice.
David B. Smith + Tanya Marquardt
Collective Scream by David B. Smith, with dramaturgy by Tanya Marquardt, invites participants to privately yell, scream, or otherwise emote into a recording device. Smith will layer the sounds together, improvisationally adding melodic looped guitar, vocals, and percussion, to create a structured cacophony in a space between private and public expression.
David B. Smith (he/they/him) combines photography, textiles, sculpture and sound to imagine what ways of being, relating, and caring are possible - alone and together.
Tanya Marquardt (they/them) is a genderqueer writer and performer in Lenapehoking/Manhattan and unceded Coast Salish territories/Vancouver.
The Great Fondini
Since March 2021, I have been cultivating a divinatory practice using a collection of 61 slides and a set of instructions, if we may call them that, which were left for discovery by the side of the highway a five minutes' walk from Houdini's gravesite by an individual writing under the name Fondini – a circumstance so extraordinary that I am forced to suspend my own disbelief every time I recount the events leading up to the moment of its finding (including Houdini's and my family's immigration to the United States; Houdini's hot war against the Spiritualists and my grandmother's wars of attrition against her grandchildren and, later, her dementia; and two – not one but two! – global pandemics).
The slides and I have been doing one-on-one consultations (during which my visitors and I have sought guidance on honoring the dead, care during forced proximity, care in artistic community, refusal, moving on from a place, from a relationship, from the past, and more) as well as performances for a group (three to twenty-five people) in which each person thinks of (but does not give voice to) their own question, three slides are selected at random, and then the group collectively interprets them with my limited assistance. In these cases, something like a consensus may be reached even though no one knows anyone else's query but their own. The effect, when all goes as intended, is a sense of time-outside-of-time; a dilation; an attenuation. The goal is to reflect on and to clarify, not to solve, a present predicament.
Samuel Lang Budin was co-editor of his high school literary magazine
Saturday August 28th
Susannah Simpson will offer a performance based on an ekphrastic poem they wrote in response to John Everett Millais’s famous “Ophelia” painting. Ophelia is speaking, with fangs and petals pouring out, she is yearning, and declaring, and decidedly choosing another dimension more suited for her. She heaves Hamlet’s abuse (diminishment, dismissal) back to the castle, and ritually calls forth a passage to a plane in which she merges with the elements, and her intelligence and instincts have space to freely flow.
What if death is a spell? What if there is a whole nother alchemy altogether? What if we have so much more power than we think? What happens when we listen, and choose to communicate with other voices, including those within ourselves? Please join her for a watery home-coming and blessings to freedom.
Susannah Simpson (they/she/we) is a multidisciplinary artist, performer, poet, and eco-pornographer who loves turning people on. They seek to examine and honor our connection to Earth, which they believe deems all beings inherently sacred. Their work is dedicated to creating & sustaining a culture of empathy, liberation, and pleasure.
She is the creator and director of the performance piece WARM WOMEN, which toured the US in 2016. Its Spanish-language successor, WARM WOMEN CHOLULA, featuring Latina performers and their stories, premiered in Mexico, 2017. Other recent/on-going performance art includes COCK, THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION HURT, Red-Headed Stepchild, and the gestating MOTHER MEN.
In New York, we have performed at The Whitney Museum, Movement Research at the Judson Church, Dance New Amsterdam, The Museum of the Moving Image, Dixon Place, Secret Project Robot, and more. We are a co-founder of the feminist, spiritual collective Moon Church and have published a collection of poems titled “I’LL GIVE IT TO YOU.” Please stay tuned for our upcoming poetry collection "smooth dark Everything," and the sexy, fangy concoctions of our punk band Pheromone Ice Cream!
Lilit the Empathic Demon Summons her Friends
In ancient Babylon, when people were sick or in pain they would go to an artist-magician. That artist-magician would draw each individual a unique personal demon on a bowl, write a spell, and together they would turn the bowl upside down to “trap” the demon to remove its powers. Often the demon was Lilit. Verbalizing and visualizing pain can take away some of the demon’s charge.
Tamar Ettun is a multidisciplinary artist based in Brooklyn, New York. She has had exhibitions and performances at Pioneer Works, PERFORMA, Sculpture Center, Madison Square Park, Art Omi Sculpture Garden, The Barrick Museum UNLV, The Watermill Center, e-flux, Herzelia Biennial, Bryant Park, Socrates Sculpture Park, Indianapolis Museum of Art, The Jewish Museum, Fridman Gallery, among others. She received awards and fellowships from The Pollock Krasner Foundation, Chinati Foundation, Moca Tucson Artist Residency, MacDowell Fellowship, RECESS, The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Art Production Fund, and Iaspis. Ettun founded The Moving Company, an artists collective creating performances in public spaces and a social engagement project with Brooklyn teens hosted by The Brooklyn Museum. Ettun received her MFA from Yale University in 2010 where she was awarded the Alice English Kimball Fellowship. She studied at Cooper Union in 2007, while earning her BFA from Bezalel Academy, Jerusalem. Ettun teaches at Columbia University School of Arts, and The New School Parsons School of Design.
Photo by Krysta Brayer
A suite of spontaneously composed murder ballads about Archie comics
A musical suite of spontaneously composed murder ballads set in the after hours America of Archie comics. Words from the subconscious married to music made in the moment telling tales too NSFW and disturbing to be drawn.
Andrew Lampert is a NYC based artist, writer, archivist and primary in the consulting firm Chen & Lampert. His work has been internationally exhibited at venues including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York Film Festival, Getty Museum, Toronto International Film Festival and the International Film Festival Rotterdam among many others. He has edited books on Tony Conrad, Harry Smith, Manuel De Landa and George Kuchar. Lampert was formerly the Curator of Collections at Anthology Film Archives, where he preserved hundreds of films and videos and co-programmed public screenings. His videos are distributed by Electronic Arts Intermix.
Jemila MacEwan + Matt Evans
Jemila MacEwan is known for their intimately interwoven earthworks, sculptures, films and performances that build a contemporary mythology of meteorites, volcanoes, prehistoric super-fungi and melting glaciers. These stories engage with the emotional complexity of humanity’s destructive impact, to the planet and to itself. MacEwan's work is empathetic to the psychological pressure of trying to reach into the past to regain control of a future fraught with uncertainty.
Matt Evans is a composer and percussionist producing recordings, cross-disciplinary performances, and sculptural sound installations through an ambient adjacent, eco-fictional lens. His work utilizes aqueous, drum-driven, hypnotic soundscapes and cathartic and embodied improvisatory performances to capture the inexpressible absurdity of supermassive phenomena like global warming, the internet, or death with a focus on the fearlessness of the human individual in the face of such unknowable circumstances.
Lindsay Packer + Lathan Hardy
Lindsay Packer’s ‘Viewfinder’ embraces elements of chance and indeterminacy as live video feedback, analog light projection, and simple props come together in an ad hoc analog/digital interface. Structurally and formally, ‘Viewfinder’ observes itself through visual choreography that describes a hall of mirrors. Lathan Hardy joins this performance, and both artists contribute to waves and ripples of visual and sonic feedback that reset perception for the duration.
Light and color improviser Lindsay Packer performed her media project 'light work' as part of MoMA’s Modern Mondays series and will perform ‘Viewfinder’ at ReVIEWING Black Mountain College 12, an international conference focusing in 2021 on John Cage’s legacy. Packer was a 2019 NYSCA/NYFA Fellow in Architecture/Environmental Structures/Design, 2019 Artist-in-Residence at ISSUE Project Room, two-time Artist-in-Residence at the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation and Fulbright Fellow to India. She received a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She lives and works in Brooklyn.
Lathan Hardy is a Brooklyn-based composer/sound designer specializing in woodwind and synthesizer performance. His performance at FiveMyles with his new group, Dazzle Ships, was received with enthusiasm and excitement by the Crown Heights community, and he will perform “We are Nature'' in collaboration with NoOSphere Arts on Sept 11, 2021. Hardy has performed all over the world as a soloist and with ensembles including Solange, Son Lux, Bill Lee, 10th Intervention, and Holy Hand Grenade. Allowing music to have its own rules per artistic relationship(s) or performance venue is the main concept that unites all of his works and collaborations. "Music is mainly listening" is one of his favorite quotes. In his youth, he spent time studying classical & jazz music with such greats as Robert Mann (Juilliard String Quartet), Max Roach, Donald Byrd, Robert Dick, Donald Sinta, & Douglas Buys (student of Nadia Boulanger).