On Tania Bruguera's Political Imaginary


On Tania Bruguera ' s Political Imaginary תוכורעת EXHIBITIONS the most poignant being supported by intricately designed installationsthat threatened , frightened , lectured , educated , and entertained , albeit in a carnivalesque sideshow sort of way . Just inside the entrance to the museum a continually running film showed the artist performing Displacement ( 1998-99 ) . Here , a mud-covered , nail-studded Bruguera , dressed as Nkisi Nkonde an African icon used for spiritual purposes , in Africa as well as Cuba ) , looking like some monster from a horror movie , is seen wandering through a crowded street in Cuba . Leading viewers directly into the main exhibition galleries is Poetic Justice ( 2002-03 ) , a long , pungent smelling , teabag lined tunnel , with small video monitors , which referred to the historical economical and political relationship between the colonized and the master , in this case , India under the blood-sucking rule of the British Empire . The most exciting part of the exhibition was the various gallery rooms that housed the artist's installations . In Untitled Havana , 2000 ) and Untitled ( Kassel , 2002;— many of Bruguera ' s works are named after the city where they were first performed — blackness accentuates the artist ' s message . In Havana , we found ourselves in a darkened room walking on a dangerously uneven layer of rotting sugarcane husks . At the far end of the room , on a small , scarcely discernible TV screen , Castro is seen delivering one of his interminably long speeches . Tania Bruguera . Courtesy of the artist Performance artists have been enjoying a major resurgence in popularity around the world . Spearheading this renaissance are museums and biennials . And why not ?! Such one-of-a-kind theatrical events where anything can happen and usually does , primo entertainment . Here , in New York City and environs , five major art museums recently played host to a tsunami of performance artists . The Kiss and This Progress , two of Tino Sehgal's live " constructed situations" with nary a painting in sight , occupied the Guggenheim ' s lobby and all of the museum ' s exhibition ramps . Another Sehgal piece , This is Propaganda 2002 ) , partof Jeff Koon ' scu rated Skin Fruit exhibition , played itself out at the New Museum . At the Museum of Modem Art , four decades of Marina Abramovic's work was performed , all except one piece by other people , while at the Whitney , during the run of their 2010 Biennial , some ten performance artists made appearances , both live and on film . Keeping up with the " big boys , " the small but choice Neuberger Museum of Art , an hour outside of New York City , celebrated the career of Cuban born , Chicago-based artist Tania Bruguera , by mounting her twenty year retrospective entitled "On the Political Imaginary . " The politically provocative artist , known for pushing the envelope , often just short of being incarcerated —in one of her performances in Columbia , a tray of cocaine was passed out to the audience — began her rise to hteen of the artist ' s works

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