Today over the lunch hour, Walker staff from all departments, along with artist-in-residence Fritz Haeg, Lucky Dragons, and J. Morgan Puett (who performed at the Walker last night) had a conversation with Jérôme Bel. Bel is in town for Disabled Theater, a collaboration with Theater HORA.
This wide-ranging conversation, full of humor, stories, and “mistakes were made” confessions from Bel, explored some of these questions—questions that are often top-of-mind at an interdisciplinary institution like the Walker:
- Why use theater as a platform, when there are so many other forms of expression? What is so attractive about the “black box,” the lights going down, and people taking their seats?
- How do visual arts folks experience theater differently than those grounded in the world of performance?
- How can you collect dance, when it is so closely connected to the body of the dancer? And what happens when collectors want to own it, and monetize it?
- Is bringing the performing arts into the museum gallery context just a trend?
Towards the end of the conversation, Viso remarked that, instead of trying to translate his existing work into the “white cube” of the museum, perhaps the real question is “What can Bel produce within the context of the white cube?” After seeing his works in the theater and spending time him this afternoon, I’m fascinated to know how he might answer that question.