'Show and Tell': Performance Art Piece at the University of Virginia on April 29

April 23, 2008 — An arts administration class from the University of Virginia's McIntire Department of Art will present a performance art piece in front of the University Art Museum at 155 Rugby Road, on Tuesday, April 29, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. This is a free event.

The piece is based on dialogue that functions as a large-scale "Show-and-Tell," featuring 100 students and members of the University and Charlottesville community. The piece is being created by Kate Daughdrill, course assistant to the class, "The Arts in Community / Community in the Arts."

The performance art piece is of a style called "new genre public art" and will be conceived and directed in honor of visiting artist Suzanne Lacy. The purpose is to create a space for conversations among those interested in the relationship between art and community at U.Va. and in the surrounding area.

According to Daughdrill, 20 small tables will be set up on the brick landing in front of the museum. Each will be covered in a white floor-length tablecloth and will be surrounded by five chairs. The participants, drawn from the class, from faculty and students around Grounds, and from the Charlottesville public, have been asked to bring with them a small object that is meaningful to them in some way. The art piece is the sharing of the meanings and the dialogue that might ensue.

Spectators will be invited to watch the performance while standing on the raised portico area in front of the museum entrance.

Daughdrill said, "This is a type of relational, participatory, community-oriented art that is being produced all over the world and is at the forefront of the conversation in the visual art world. It is a type of work that comes out of the tradition of Allan Kaprow and his 1960s-era 'happenings,' from Joseph Beuys, the Situationists, Mary Jane Jacob, Suzanne Lacy, whose work involves large-scale performances on social themes and urban issues.

"It often invites participants into the process of the work and often relies on conversation, relationship and human interaction. It is often interested in themes of community, collaboration and spaces for relationship-building. We hope that our 'Show-and-Tell' performance brings people together, interested in art and community, to simply have interesting conversations about objects that are meaningful to them. 

"We hope that relationships will be formed among participants, but we also think that the very act of staging the piece on the museum steps offers questions such as, 'Where in our lives do we normally have these types of conversations?' And, 'How can we, simply as human beings, be together in meaningful ways?'"

For information, call George W. Sampson at 434-924-7307.