Ten Hours of Singing, Dancing and Cinderblock Throwing

En Español.

Though I got there late, and only made it for six hours. I heard that the cinderblock toss was fantastic.

Curated by Keith Hennessey and Julie Phelps, and held at the Dance Mission Theater, this was the second year of “Too Much!” It was something. High-, low-, middle- and no-brow art collided.

There was exquisite dancing, heartfelt drama and at one point, two performers pretending to devour each other’s infant selves (the infants were actually baby dolls covered in marzipan). In one dance number, a woman held up a tiny dog and screamed “I hate you, Anne Sexton!” The dog looked game, but confused.

The art went from dead serious to frivolous to back again. In one room, people took turns smashing the set from an earlier performance with a sledgehammer, while in another, a woman very intently carved words submitted by the audience onto the skin of a man in front of her.

Everything was art, up to and including the restrooms, where the sinks were rigged with a contact mike to broadcast the sound of your hand-washing. There was a break in the middle and everyone — guests and performers — was served brown rice, curried vegetables and cornbread.

It felt like the San Francisco art world of the ’70s, except that not everyone had a beard. I didn’t actually live through the ’70s in San Francisco. I’ve only seen a few retrospectives at P.S. 1, and that involved standing in a white-walled room looking at video loops of people being spontaneous.

Perhaps this is what happens to art in a recession. With even less hope of anyone paying them, artists begin to perform for each other. Sets are built out of cardboard. Things get weirder than usual, even in this weird town. All in all, a good night.

Filed under: Art, Front Page, Photography


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