Stuart Sherman "Nothing Up My Sleeve"

Participant Inc.

poster for Stuart Sherman "Nothing Up My Sleeve"

This event has ended.

Nothing Up My Sleeve is based on the work of the widely unknown, remarkable artist Stuart Sherman. Sherman was an early member of both the Charles Ludlam and Richard Foreman theater companies. Over a thirty-year period, he compiled an immense body of his own work in performance, film, video, writing, sculpture, and drawing until his death in 2001. He devoted a large amount of his time to the creation of numerous small tabletop performances, which he called 'spectacles.' These performances involved the manipulation of both familiar and unfamiliar everyday objects atop one or more folding TV dinner tables. Performed by a pokerfaced Sherman, the spectacle performances sit in a uniquely awkward hybrid space that moves between references to comedy, illusion, minimalism, surrealism, melancholia, foreign language, and vaudeville. The performances are constantly shifting in appearance and impact, evoking everything from a three card monty game, to a musical number, to a magic show, to a Fluxus action.

Nothing Up My Sleeve focuses on the notion of artists creating alternate lived realities through the use of various forms of deception, which they are able to justify through the aspirations of their work. In doing so, these artists are able to revise the negative stigma attached to the act of lying, questioning the assertion that 'the truth' is fact, and instead engaging it as a subjective form. Using the many relevant concerns which permeate Sherman's work as a guide, including transubstantiation, perception, trompe l'eoil, illusion and magic, fiction, communication, and language, the exhibit explores these themes as they manifest in the work of artists of the 20th and 21st century. The artists included in the exhibition span a 150-year period, representing a diverse range of practices and relationships to art and culture.

Nothing Up My Sleeve is curated by artist Jonathan Berger. Berger’s work encompasses the fields of sculpture, drawing, architecture, installation, performance, design, philosophy, and curatorial projects.


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