Alison Knowles in collaboration with Jessica Higgins,
Knowles is a founding member of Fluxus, a movement that began in the 1960s. Fluxus artists encouraged experimentation, often combining everyday items, activities, and gestures to make art. Many of their events and performances featured food and sound, and historically took place in the Chinatown area.
During Beans All Day, two performance scores from Knowles' repertoire, Shoes Of Your Choice and Loose Pages, are performed at Forever & Today, Inc.'s Chinatown/Lower East Side storefront space. These performances are among her seminal works, and in the spirit of Fluxus, Knowles considers the performances to be unique each time, allowing for randomness and chance to occur.
In Shoes Of Your Choice, Knowles and her granddaughter Clara Selman engage the audience and passersby to discuss their shoes. For Loose Pages, Knowles dresses her daughter Jessica Higgins, the primary performer of the work, in handmade flax paper garments. The sounds of the paper are amplified by her son-in-law Joshua Selman, who also plays his abstract musical compositions periodically during the day.
On view in Forever & Today, Inc.'s exhibition space is a new wall-sized text installation from sounds created by Knowles' "bean turners," abstract sound sculptures of handmade flax pulp paper that encase dried adzuki and ceci beans. Several bean turners will be featured alongside a selection of her artist books and editions spanning from the 1960s to the present. Knowles also cooks beans that are served to the public along with refreshments.
A free limited edition bookmark by Knowles, specially commissioned for the occasion, is also available to the public while supplies last.
Alison Knowles (b. 1933, New York, NY) lives and works in New York. She holds an Honorary Doctorate (2009) from Columbia College, Columbia, and a BFA (1956) with Honors from New York's Pratt Institute. Knowles is a founding member of Fluxus and performed worldwide with the group throughout the 1960s. Her performances, event scores, sound, sculpture, works on paper, printmaking, poetry, artist books, and book objects have been featured internationally at: Emily Harvey Foundation Gallery (1997, 1990), Guggenheim Museum (2009, 1994, 1993), The Museum of Modern Art (2011, 1988, 1987, 1984, 1979), New Museum of Contemporary Art (1992), and The Whitney Museum of American Art (2000, 1993, 1990) in New York; Getty Foundation (2007) and Museum of Contemporary Art (1993) in Los Angeles, CA; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL (1967); Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN (1993, 1980); The White House, Washington, DC (2011); Centre Pompidou, Paris, France (2005); Ludwig Museum, Budapest, Hungary (2005); and at Serpentine Gallery, Tate Modern, and Frieze Art Foundation in London, UK (2011) among other exhibitions, publications, awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship (1968), and educational appointments at Harvard University (2009) and Documenta X (1997), honoring her work.
Jessica Higgins is based in New York and Massachusetts, and is the daughter of Fluxus founders Dick Higgins and Alison Knowles. She attended The Art Students League of New York, Parsons The New School for Design in the 1980s and later completed her BA from SUNY, Empire State College, Saratoga Springs, New York (2006). Her primarily conceptual inter-media-based work using action, dance, installation, and visuals has been included in major exhibitions at: Ryerson Theater, Toronto, Canada (2010); Scandinavia House, New York (2010); Emily Harvey Foundation Gallery, New York (2010, 1999); Lance Fung Gallery, New York (2002, 1998); and J+J Donguy Gallery, Paris, France (1997). Higgins is a board member of New Observations and also Creative Director of Switch, a Western Massachusetts-based access television series of performance and intermedia.
Joshua Selman is based in New York. He attended Yale University in the mid-1980s, practices public space intervention, large-scale installation, cultural-strategy, critical journalism, and applied new media. He has made major sound works including several with Westdeutscher Rundfunk, Cologne, Germany, as well as performance and objects. Selman, a noted Intermedia artist, has worked extensively with Fluxus founders Alison Knowles, Dick Higgins, and debuted at Emily Harvey Gallery. He has served as Executive Director of The International Artists Museum, New York Center, Inc., and participated in many Construction in Process (CiP) Biennials. A key organizer of international exchange for CiP associated artists and New York City institutions, he was also a principal artist at Lance Fung Gallery, New York. Founder of Artist Organized Art, the parent company of New Observations, Selman was also recently Resident Artist, Gyeonggi Creation Center, Gyeonggi MoMA, Gyeonggi-do, Ansan-Si, Daebo-do, South Korea.
Performa 11 is the fourth edition of the internationally acclaimed biennial of new visual art performance presented by Performa, the leading organization dedicated to exploring the critical role of live performance in the history of twentieth-century art and to encouraging new directions in performance for the twenty-first century. Performa launched New York's first performance biennial, Performa 05, in 2005, followed by Performa 07 (2007), and Performa 09 (2009).
Forever & Today, Inc. is a non-profit Consortium Member of Performa.
Special thanks to Esa Nickle, Dougal Phillips, and Ashley Tickle of Performa, Richard Jochum, Sally Alatalo and Simon Anderson, Sara Ranchouse Publishing, Rachel Bers, and Sesame Letterpress.