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.


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