Naked (2011)
photo by Anna Lee Campbell

Naked (2011)

From a program note for Baryshnikov Arts Center, 2011:

Before Naked, we had only one experience presenting a living installation. In 1998, we created Breath, commissioned by the Whitney Museum of American Art, and presented it there for a month. The installation included our naked bodies, but mostly one of us at a time. We were nervous about the duration of performance and thought that two bodies might create an expectation of drama, so we took turns being a part of the installation for one hour at a time. It allowed one of us to watch Breath—a lone naked body in a landscape—from the viewers’ perspective. In creating Naked as a part of our Retrospective Project and as a part of an exhibition of the Walker’s permanent collection, we decided that our two bodies needed to be seen together. Small dramas or expectations may arise but at a fragile, vulnerable place. Not only do our bodies stay close for many hours but the viewers also sit several feet away, making visible details of our bodies and environment. In Breath, viewers sat in the safety of darkness. In Naked, viewers are in the same room with us, breathing the same air and listening to the same sounds. Sustained intimacy.

Many of the Walker viewers happened to come across Naked when visiting the museum. While a surprising number of people stayed and visited our gallery multiple times, just as many people spent no more than a few minutes in the gallery before moving on to see other things. However, in presenting Naked at BAC, a performing arts venue, we realize we do not have a flow of people like at the museum. People have to know about the event, have to want to see it, have to plan to come, and have to get all the way to 10th Avenue in order to see Naked. Naked is a destination which creates a different kind of expectation for viewers as well as for performers.

We thank every one of the viewers for coming to see us naked. If you find the room crowded, please come back during a quieter time. You might be alone in the room with us.