Label This

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Five Franklin Furnace alumns with unique relationships to embodied performance


Table of Contents

Curator’s Statement........................1 ARTISTS Frank Moore..............................2-5 Linda Sibio..............................6-9 Gary Corbin............................10-13 Lisa Bufano............................14-17 Dustin Grella..........................18-21 EXTRAS Further Reading...........................22 Merch.....................................23


Curatorial Statement Between 1987 and 2012, Franklin Furnace hosted and funded performances by artists Frank Moore (1987, 1989), Linda Sibio (1991), Gary Corbin (2005), Lisa Bufano (2006-7), and Dustin Grella (2012). These five artists utilize the ambivalent forces of hyper- and in-visibility directed towards them within a culture of ableism to captivate audiences and challenge viewers to confront their own relationships to ability, access, and identity. The performances of these disparate artists each point towards alternative modes of existence and relation. [Label This] is the product of the passionate efforts of a group of Franklin Furnace’s 2019 interns. The topic of ability is personal, complicated, and important to highlight. Through this exhibition, we hope to work in concert with the project of Disability Awareness Month (July) by reiterating the importance of promoting diversity, accessibility, and inclusivity in the arts. We focused primarily on works supported by Franklin Furnace (and of which original documentation resides within Franklin Furnace’s archives) and chose to incorporate some of these artists’ more recent work in order to trace their artistic development. We are excited to display documentation of work from these extraordinary artists who are connected through Franklin Furnace. This exhibition and zine were curated by Rebekah Boggs (University of Virginia), Roxy McHaffey (School of the Art Institute of Chicago), Alyssa Rodriguez (Brown University), Mari Sato (Bates College), Allison Schaum (Brown University), and Van Tingley (New York University).

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“I’m lucky to be an exhibitionist in this body. I like to be around people, but not in a polite way. I like to get down, talk about what you really feel, and play.” Frank Moore interviewed by Chiori Santiago for “Artist on a Roll” in the October 4, 1985 issue of East Bay Express

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Franklin Furnace hosted and helped fund Frank Moore’s performances of Intimate Cave in 1987 and Journey to Lila in 1989. These pieces, like much of Moore’s eroart, consisted of sustained, multi-hour sessions and incorporated elements of meditation, ritual magic, vocalization, rhythmic percussion, As a performance artist physical gesture, and self-proclaimed painting, projected shaman, Frank Moore is image, and nude physical recognized for his exploration to create an development of eroart and immersive world the concept of eroplay, experience – a realm of which he defined as “an fantastical possibility, intense physical playing which he called the or touching oneself and “awake-dream.” Moore others.”¹ Moore postulated himself performed random that intimate community, gestures and formed through playful, vocalizations throughout asexual contact, could these sessions. Local serve as a critical tool performers, musicians, in the promotion of and dancers were invited spiritual healing and to participate as a cast human flourishing. An of playful and eccentric antidote to the social characters, guiding the fragmentation and audience towards active self-alienation participation. Moore necessitated by a culture urged his audiences to of individualism, eroplay surrender their fears calls for psychic and inhibitions and presence, vulnerability, embrace pleasure in the and spontaneity. taboo.

4 ¹Caves* a book for a performance tour by Frank Moore, 1987


Background image: Frank Moore & Chero Company, 1989. Photographed by Eric Kroll Moore, who was born with cerebral palsy, cited his body as a creative asset, granting him freedom from societal expectations and normative standards of conduct. Moore firmly argued for the generative, world-making potential of embodied performance to manifest new modes of relation beyond culturally sanctioned conventions. Moore’s creative work is inherently tied to his political beliefs and personal philosophy, which drew upon psychology, non-western spiritual traditions, the occult, and the creative, spiritual, and political countercultures of the 1960s. A prolific writer, painter, and musician, Moore was a resolutely anti-establishment advocate for difficult art.

Moore campaigned for the US Presidency in the 2008 election cycle. His performances and video works can be viewed online at https://vimeo.com /frankmoore These works, as well as many of Moore’s visual and written works can be accessed via Frank Moore’s Web of All Possibilities: https://www.eropl ay.com/

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“I was interested in society’s move towards a ‘schizophrenic state.’”

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Ethyls Electric Ecstasy

Perceptual Ascension in the Choir of Hearing Tongue

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In 1991, Franklin Furnace helped fund Sibio’s project West Virginia Schizophrenic Blues, a project that was deeply linked to her past. Spending time in an orphanage while her mother was treated at various “insane asylums” greatly impacted Sibio’s art. She explained, “my mother’s visions affected me profoundly. Her hallucinations, wild changes of emotions, and violent fits were what created my perceptions of the world.” In 1977, Sibio herself was diagnosed with Schizophrenia. Her work often mirrors her symptoms; her methods include fragmentation, interrupters, non-linear time sequencing, multiple layers of stories and images, dismemberment, psychological torture, broadcasting, delusions, and hallucinations.

Since her initial work with Franklin Furnace, Sibio has continued to perform and exhibit her work in shows such as Hallelujah I’m Dead! (1994), Energy & Light and their Relationship to Suicide (1996), and the Insanity Principle (2003). Apart from her art, Sibio is also active in her community. In 1985, she helped John Malpede start the Los Angeles Poverty Department—an art troupe comprised of homeless and formerly homeless artists, that works with social advocacy groups to develop performances based on their lived experiences. She teaches methods for coping with Schizophrenic symptoms in classes called “The Insanity Principle Workshops”. She founded BEZERK, a non-profit dedicated to mainstreaming the work of neuroatypical artists.

The Incident at Sheep’s Bay


Above: O Ye Nurturing Death

Left & Above: 3 untitled drawings

Below: Reflections from a Broken Mirror

Above: Holy Mountain

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GARY CORBIN A self proclaimed

“all-around-arts-soldier” Gary Corbin always knew he was meant to be an actor. When at age 28 he was diagnosed with cancer in his right knee and told that the majority of his right leg would need to be amputated, he remained undeterred. Even after one of his doctors recommended he pick a different career, Corbin held firm. To date, he has acted in dozens of theatrical productions and has had roles in films like Summer of Sam and Malcolm X. In 2005, Corbin, with the help of a grant from Franklin Furnace, wrote and starred in his first one man play, ...four one-legged men!. Corbin wrote the play, in part, as a way of demanding space for actors with disabilities. The play consists of four vignettes, each a window into the life of a different man, from a different time– all above-the-knee amputees.

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In the first vignette, he portrays a young writer in 2003; in the second, a divorced husband in 1959 who is separated from his child; and in the third, a gay man in 1990 who falls and breaks his prosthetic leg on the way to a costume party. Each of these pieces features minimal costumes and sets, relying entirely on Corbin’s acting ability to carry the story forward.


The final vignette of ...four one-legged men! is titled Waiting for Oz. In it, Corbin plays a delusional Vietnam War veteran, ranting at the audience. Corbin called performing as this character, “probably the most liberating moment of my life,� and for good reason. Corbin performs shirtless and without his prosthesis, clad only in army green boxers, white ankle socks, and a shoulder length Jheri curl wig. Corbin hops and stomps across the stage, at one moment gesticulating wildly, exposing himself, and yelling for an unseen nurse to return to help him shit; at another, flexing silently at the audience, mimicking the great American eagle that took him from his home and dropped him in Vietnam. He recalls the life and death of a fellow soldier, who he describes in mythological proportions, at one point, verging on frenzied tears.

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“What was probably the most liberating moment in my life? The premiere of my one-man play, Four One-Legged Men...It was my answer to all of those who doubted that an actor with my type of disability could have success in this industry…”

“At least that night, I proved them wrong.” - Gary Corbin 12


Somehow, Corbin manages to surpass the physical and emotional demands of the performance. His character recounts a childhood dream of dancing, his description building momentum and alarming joy– a joy that could only come from the darkest parts of the human experience– until finally, he breaks into dance, accompanied by Ike and Tina Turner’s “Proud Mary.” Slowly, the stage lights turn to black as Corbin, unperturbed, dances, sweating profusely and grinning into the growing darkness.

Now Gary Corbin works as Founder & President at Globescope Arts & Entertainment. Globescope works primarily (although not exclusively) to provide opportunities to artists and entertainers with disabilities.

You can watch Corbin’s Waiting for Oz on Franklin Furnace’s Vimeo here: https://vimeo.com/2034 82821.

All images and information courtesy of Gary Corbin and Franklin Furnace Archive, Inc.

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“My eye has always been drawn to abnormal forms… It’s just that now my tool is my body. I’m still animating a form, but it’s my own form.”

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Lisa Bufano was a multi-faceted artist and bilateral amputee from Boston, Massachusetts. She was interested in the bizarre, the “creepy-cute�, and fantastical creatures– both real and imagined. She found beauty in things even if they were dark. She described her use of various prosthetics as the opportunity to have different bodies and tell 16different stories...


Through performance, Bufano explored “the visceral theme of alienation.” She gracefully articulated the “magnetic tension” generated by “performing with a deformity.” Through dance, Bufano sought comfort in the liminal space between the incongruous reactions of attraction and repulsion.

Fancy, 2005

Studio Session w/ Jason Schantre

One Breath is An Ocean for a Wooden Heart, 2007

With support from Franklin Furnace, Lisa Bufano exhibited a performance titled Five Open Mouths, choreographed by professional dancer Heidi Latsky, and launched an online video podcast series of performances titled Morphology. In Five Open Mouths, Bufano performed with and without her prosthetics, with an intoxicating energy that pushed the boundaries of “all a human can be.”

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Dustin Grella

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“For a long time, I tried to keep my artwork and my disability separate, fearing the stigma of being labeled a ‘disabled’ artist, rather than a ‘real’ artist in my own right.” 19


In 2012, Dustin Grella performed his piece, Tax Day, on the steps of the John H. Farley Post Office in New York City with the help of Franklin Furnace. This piece came about as part of Grella’s Notes to Self project– an ongoing project for which Grella mails a letter to himself each day. Through this process, Grella, who is a C7 incomplete paraplegic, recognized the inaccessibility of many of New York City’s post offices.

Grella performing Tax Day, 2012

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During his performance of Tax Day, Grella got out of his wheelchair and scaled the post office steps in order to mail his taxes. This performance served as a protest against the inaccessibility of the post office building during tax deadline extended hours. While the hours for the post office had generally been extended to remain open till midnight, the wheelchair accessible ramp closed at the usual closing time.


At his animation workshop, Dusty Studio, Grella creates animations of seemingly mundane scenes using hand-drawn chalkboard drawings. Grella operates Animation Hotline, which people can call in order to offer a story for Dusty Studio to animate. Many of Grella’s animations explore temporality and how time can be distorted through the time-based medium of animation. Grella’s animations have been shown at festivals including the Margaret Mead Film Festival, the Cannes Film Festival, the Sundance Film Festival, and the Ottawa International Animation Festival, where he won the Locust Walt Disney Award.

from Animation Hotline, 2011–

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Further Reading Frank

Moore

ano Lisa Buf

Artist Websit e: e: om https: ebsit bufano.c W //www. t s ti eropla isa Perfor y.com Ar p://www.l ng: mances t 006 li ht & vide https: 44203 Profi / m os: t o //vime s c i Art meo. o.com/ oore ://vi s frankm s p t t h th n Mou Intima 5 Ope ance: te Cav rm e Perf Watch Perfo ere ormanc here h e: 1991 L Watch mbrance: etter e m to Sen In Re Jesse ator Helms: Read Read

Dustin

orbin

Gre

C lla Artis Gary t Web te: site: websi nkedin.co https t s i t ://du Ar ww.li 01b styst Artis s://w orbin-727 udio. p t t Sta t h com temen ry-c https t: in/ga ://ww / m w.wne e is s.com whous escop ye /dust b 1 o 1 l e G awar ing an e Tax Da ntly Curre ine. Keep ite in y Per rella.html d l forma n Watch ebs nce: not o eir w here h t r s. fo Linda

week out ming o c e th

S

ibio Artist Websit http:/ e /www.l : indasi .com/ bio Go Sup po https: rt: //www. indieg .com/p ogo ro cs-of- jects/econ omi suffer ing#/ 22


Sibio Clout Goggles (Contact for Price)

Frank Moore For President 2008 Bucket Hat $30 Box of 50 Tax Day Stamps (Depends on Your Tax Bracket)

Used Sock from ...Four One-Legged Men! $3000

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FRANKLIN FURNACE In 1976, Franklin Furnace Archive, Inc. was founded under the premise of ‘making the world safe for avant-garde art,’ a notion that has remained its mission ever since. Today, the arts organization is in residence at Pratt Institute, and houses decades of archival materials including moving images, documentation of performance pieces and installations, and a collection of artists’ books. Franklin Furnace supports the avant-garde through the Franklin Furnace Fund, a grant program that provides performance artists with funding so they may execute project concepts. Franklin Furnace is a resource for research, conveniently located at Pratt’s Brooklyn campus. Swing by the ISC Building, rooms 209-211, to say hello or to set up an appointment to view the archives. You may also schedule an appointment by calling (718)-687-5800.

This exhibition was made possible by the kindness of the staff at Franklin Furnace, its archival materials, the artists that created them, and the interns who put it all together.


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