Michael Alan’s “Living Installation” at ABC No Rio

Posted on: September 19th, 2011 at 11:15 am by

Perhaps this is the opposite of sensory deprivation – being engulfed by layers of color and sound, populated with live performers.

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This past Friday night, within the very raw space of ABC No Rio’s ground floor at 156 Rivington, artist Michael Alan presented “The Wedding/Vampire Circus,” what he calls his “Living Installation” of art. Moving between two scenes at opposite ends of the room for six hours, Alan draped, painted and collaged on the performers, using them as moving art. The art happening was accompanied by a sonic environment composed of Alan’s layered music, with live musicians playing over his recorded songs.

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[Photo Credit: Garry Boake]

On one side of the room was “The Wedding,” which was a living art “marriage” of two performers. The counterpart to this was “Vampire Circus,” a moving carnival, colorful, but also dark – his statement on our current obsession with vampire culture. But this ain’t exactly for the Twilight crowd.

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[Photo Credit: Worm Carnevale]

Visitors – and there were many – could come and go as they pleased, sitting on the floor, on chairs, or standing, and immersing themselves in the environment.

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[Photo Credit: Worm Carnevale]

On a recent visit to Alan’s downtown studio, we saw a process of sketches transforming first to paintings, which become more elaborate as they move toward translating the environments onto human form. An impressive variety of materials is utilized. (We even thought we caught a fish tank in one of the completed environments the other night.)

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[Photo Credit: Lori Greenberg]

Previous Living Installations have taken place at art galleries and performance spaces including Kenny Scharf’s Cosmic Cavern, embedding Alan’s live art happenings into Scharf’s day-glo wonderland.

Even without a day-glo element at the ABC No Rio installation, it was easy to lose oneself in the alien-like complex settings. “This is not theater or performance,” Alan says. It’s hard to describe exactly what it is, but that’s okay with us.

Written by Lori Greenberg

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