Reflecting on Susan Marshall’s Cloudless at his blog, Bill T. Jones offers some thoughts on his recent visit to Minneapolis, praising our Kiki Smith exhibition (“deeply affecting”) and commenting on the architecture of the new Herzog & de Meuron expansion along the way. In characteristic openness, Jones recounts his thoughts upon beginning a public talk with Walker Performing Arts curator Philip Bither:
Philip, as ever, was clear, considerate and perceptive. I had felt grumpy at first, blaming my mood on a phone interview I had just concluded with a writer from Colorado where we travel with Blind Date in April. He questioned the piece’s multi-layered structure. Didn’t I worry that certain audience might be put off by the burden I was placing on them to connect the dots, to make sense of all that was being proposed? Having that afternoon walked through the Walker Art Center’s new facility with its gallery after gallery of quizzical conceptualism, elliptical personal signs and symbols, images that confounded, curiosities and riddles that inspired, I was offended to think that my brand of performing arts could be held to a different standard.
After my grumpiness subsided, the conversation swam through the dangerous shoals of what is political in art. What of the business of my art? How does a work get made? What is my intention in making a work? What is the nature of my collaboration with my company of young people? What is Blind Date questioning?
Jones, along with Sekou Sundiata (who performs the 51st (dream) state here on March 31 and April 1), considered these questions in this month’s edition of the Walker magazine. Read “Flagging Patriotism: Performing artists sound the alarm for a changing nation.”