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The Brooklyn Rail

OCT 2020

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OCT 2020 Issue
The Miraculous The Miraculous: New York

23. (Midtown, Times Square, Washington Square Park, Madison Square Garden)

Over the course of nine consecutive days in 2005, an artist stages performances at nine different sites around the city. At each location she holds up a handmade protest sign, usually carrying a slogan from a past protest, though her intention is not to re-create historic events. Instead, she freely transposes slogans and sites. Thus she holds a sign reading “I Am a Man” taken from the 1968 Memphis sanitation workers strike on the steps of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, where a epochal AIDS protest was held. In Times Square she parades with a placard proclaiming “We Are Innocent,” a reference to protests against the 1953 execution of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. Sometimes she makes up her own protest slogans, as in the sign she takes to Washington Square Park: “The American President Might Have to Call in the National Guard to Put This Revolt Down.” In front of Madison Square Garden, which the year before had hosted the Republican National Convention, she displays a sign inspired by the Bush v. Gore debacle of 2000: “A Stolen Election or other intolerable event could spark millions to the street in a mass rebellion.” The artist gives the entire series of performances the title In the Near Future.

(Sharon Hayes)

Contributor

Raphael Rubinstein

Raphael Rubinstein is the author of The Miraculous (Paper Monument, 2014) and A Geniza (Granary Books, 2015). He is currently writing a book about the Jewish-Egyptian writer Edmond Jabès. A Professor of Critical Studies at the University of Houston School of Art, he divides his time between Houston and New York.

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The Brooklyn Rail

OCT 2020

All Issues