Art In America

Rituals of Rented Island: Object Theater, Loft Performance,

at Whitney Museum of American Art,
745 Madison Ave.

In a performance by Squat Theater, an Andy Warhol impersonator interviews a zaftig naked woman: "How did you become a witch? Do you believe in God?" Laurie Anderson plays violin on the streets of New York with her feet frozen in blocks of ice; when the ice melts, the performance ends. Theodora Skipitares wraps her head in aluminum foil as a voiceover counsels listeners on how to deal with the holiday blues. Michael Smith, in character as "Baby Ikki," wears a diaper and baby's bonnet and disrupts New York traffic. These are just some of the pleasures of a show that plumbs a decade when artistic ferment combined with urban decline to foster a lively downtown performance art scene. Budget some time for this exhibition, which includes extensive video and photo documentation.

 

More from the Lookout

Grand Design: Pieter Coecke van Aelst and Renaissance Tapestry

at Metropolitan Museum of Art,
through Jan. 11
1000 Fifth Ave.

The Forever Now: Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal World

at Museum of Modern Art,
through Apr. 5
11 W. 53rd St.

Sun Xun

at Sean Kelly,
through Jan. 24
475 Tenth Ave.

Nam June Paik

at Asia Society,
through Jan. 4
725 Park Ave.

Takashi Murakami

at Gagosian,
through Jan. 17
555 West 24th St.

Barbara Chase-Riboud

at Michael Rosenfeld,
through Jan. 10
100 Eleventh Avenue

Judith Scott

at Brooklyn Museum,
through Mar. 29
200 Eastern Parkway

Polit-Sheer-Form-Office

at Queens Museum,
through Mar. 8
New York City Building, Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Submit your e-mail to receive insider information from the art world every week.