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The Miraculous

The Miraculous: New York

71. (The Studio Museum in Harlem)

An artist gives a museum lecture in the guise of Dr. Zira, the chimpanzee/psychologist character from the 1968 movie Planet of the Apes.

The Miraculous: New York

72. (Various walls around the city)

One day in 1986, more than a dozen years after Shirley Chisholm, Barbara Jordan, Yvonne Brathwaite Burke and Cardiss Collins have been elected to Congress, a group of artists, activists and art historians who keep their identities secret by donning gorilla masks surreptitiously plaster the walls of the city with a poster noting, in thick sans serif type: “Only 4 Commercial Galleries in N.Y. Show Black Women. Only 1 Shows More Than 1.”

The Miraculous: New York

73. (Various museums and galleries)

A group of artists, gallery owners, and museum employees issue a call for museums and art galleries in New York City to close for one day as an act of protest against a war the U.S. is conducting in a faraway country. The Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum and the Jewish Museum, plus many art galleries, comply with this request. Only two major museums decline, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (which does, however, delay the opening of an exhibition for one day) and the Guggenheim Museum, which is then picketed.

The Miraculous: New York

74. (402, 404 & 414 East 14th Street)

An artist organizes a group exhibition in the loft building where he lives. For his own contribution he drills a small hole through the wall into the church next door. His plan is to drop a microphone through the hole and pipe the sounds from the church into the exhibition space, but when he enters the church and sees that his drilling has left a small pile of plaster on the floor, he has second thoughts. He is afraid that his act will be seen as an attack on the Catholic Church. Instead, he drills a hole in the wall on the other side of his building so that his microphone can pick up the everyday sounds of a beauty salon.

The Miraculous: New York

75. (Pier 18, Hudson River)

An artist and her friend are helping install an exhibition of experimental works on an abandoned Lower West Side pier. The women involved in the show are working hard, but the artists whose projects are being shown are all men. It’s the early 1970s. Walking home at night through the empty streets of Downtown Manhattan the two friends feel safer making loud noises, singing off-key and generally pretending to be crazy. One night they find themselves improvising bird sounds based on the first name of the organizer of the exhibition. This impromptu performance develops into a sound piece titled Birdcalls where the artist utters the surnames of 28 male artists in a variety of bird-like noises.

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The Brooklyn Rail

OCT 2021

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