The new Ephemera exhibition presents the ongoing artistic practice of six Columbia faculty through the lens of photographic and printed documents that have been acquired and saved in the course of their works’ creation. Performance ephemera from Columbia faculty artists Jeff Abell, Andrew Causey, Elio Leturia, Jenny Magnus, Kevin Riordan, and Adria Tarleton is on display in the Columbia College Faculty Center, on the 8th floor of the 600 South Michigan building.
Louise Love speaking at the opening reception.
Ephemera seeks to represent past moments in time, and in this exhibition, the physical collection of remainders and reminders demonstrate how Columbia faculty embody interdisciplinary art making. In her introductory talk, Interim Provost Louise Love emphasized how the ephemera on display clearly demonstrate that making interdisciplinary art is at the core of both past and present work by faculty, with Jeff Abell and Jenny Magnus of the Interdisciplinary Arts Department being primary examples.
Ephemera from Magnus’s recent performance with Beau O’Reilly at Rhino Fest in All the Ways to Hidey Hole: Madras Parables is featured in this exhibition. Her installation of vibrant and mysterious photographs, combined with the dark trash bags that are tactile remnants of the work’s transitional points, shows how vibrant and current her interdisciplinary practice continues to be.
Jeff Abell’s installation presents striking black and white photographs, and program notes from his 1993 interdisciplinary performance piece Music for the Tooth-Filling Ceremony. The amount of detailed photos from the performance is unusual, partly due to Abell’s concept during the creation of the piece. “I thought a great way to obtain really good documentation was to include a photographer in the company of performers,” said Abell at the opening reception. “I was investigating the contract between audience behavior in the United States and that Balinese audiences. In Bali, the audience is extremely active in the performance, with people often jumping up to take flash photos with little or no regard for the integrity of the performance, or their fellow viewers. As part of Music for the Tooth-Filling Ceremony, I decided to give the photographer free reign to jump up and take pictures whenever she felt like it… which she did! Much to the annoyance of our audience.”
“I remember how interesting it was to listen to the reactions of audience members after the performance,” he continued. “There was much commenting on the intrusiveness of the photographer, and many of the comments were from folks who didn’t realize that it was part of the piece!”
The Ephemera exhibition is up through August 1. For more information, click here.