Among the artworks featured in Art Basel Miami Beach’s inaugural “Meridians” sector is American artist Tina Girouard’s 1977 performance “Pinwheel”. The historic performance was part of the exhibition “Five from Lousiana” at the New Orleans Museum of art, alongside works of Lynda Benglis, Robert Rauschenberg, Richard Landry, and Keith Sonnier.
“Pinwheel” features four performers who create a stage-like environment in four quadrants using numerous yards of silk fabric. Each performer activates the space, enacting a ritual that ivolves base objects and elements all connected to their given personae of animal, vegetable, mineral, and other.
Tina Girouard: Pinwheel / Art Basel Miami Beach: Meridians. Presented by Anat Ebgi Gallery (Los Angeles), curatorial producer Lumi Tan (The Kitchen, New York). Miami Beach, December 7, 2019.
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Complete video (14:08 min.):
Info text (by Lumi Tan):
In collaboration with Anat Ebgi Gallery, Los Angeles, The Kitchen will present a historic restaging of Tina Girouard’s Pinwheel (1977) for the inaugural Meridians sector at Art Basel Miami Beach from December 4–8 with daily performances at 3pm. The nearly hour-long piece features four performers creating a stage-like environment in four quadrants using silk-patterned fabrics. As the action unfolds, each performer incorporates base objects and elements all connected to their given personae of ANIMAL, VEGETABLE, MINERAL, and OTHER. The performers activate the space and enact rituals defined by Girouard’s symbolic language according to a detailed set of instructions and diagrams.
The original staging of Pinwheel—which included Girouard acting as both director and performer—took place in the Great Hall of the New Orleans Museum of Art in 1977 as part of the exhibition Five From Louisiana, alongside the works of Lynda Benglis, Robert Rauschenberg, Richard Landry, and Keith Sonnier.
Tina Girouard (b. 1946, DeQuincy, LA) was an active member of The Kitchen’s Soho community in the 1970s and was involved with a number of other alternative spaces at the time, including as a founding participant of 112 Greene Street and FOOD. In addition to making her own projects, she played a role in films, videos, and performances by Deborah Hay, Keith Sonnier, Richard Serra, Lawrence Weiner, and Laurie Anderson, and she frequently collaborated with Gordon Matta-Clark.
Girouard’s first appearance at The Kitchen was on November 14 and 15, 1974, when she presented with choreographer Barbara Dilley a performance entitled Juxtaposed, Contained, Revealed, accompanied by daytime screenings of Girouard’s Maintenance video series. Dilley and Girouard described the performance as a “mingling of energies. Here, the visual energies and the dance/performance energies are united within a square, a form which occurs in the independent work of two collaborators.” The performers—most of whom had never performed in public before, with the notable exception of the composer and musician Terry Riley—were dressed in elaborate costumes developed by Girouard and moved slowly to create tableaux vivants which Girouard called “[actual] character projections” intended to explore the “geographical, historical, and personal idiosyncrasies of their characters.” The soundtrack of a single woodblock created a steady beat that quickened as the performance progressed into choreography by Dilley, ending in a sequence of solos where the performers broke free of their assigned projections.
While closely associated with the Pattern and Decoration movement of the ’70s and ’80s, Girouard’s roots in conceptual art have continued to influence her performances and work using domestic materials throughout her career.
Girouard’s exhibition history includes a 1983 mid-career retrospective mounted at the Rufino Tamayo Museum in Mexico City and international events such as the 1980 Venice Biennale, the 1977 Paris Biennale, and Documenta V (1972) and Documenta VI (1977) in Kassel. Girouard’s work has been exhibited widely at galleries and museums including Leo Castelli Gallery, Walker Art Center, New Orleans Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Palais des Beaux-Arts Brussels, Holly Soloman Gallery, Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art, David Zwirner, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles. Girouard currently has works on view at MOCA Los Angeles in the exhibition With Pleasure: Pattern and Decoration in American Art 1972–1985 curated by Anna Katz and the Ludwig Muzeum Budapest in the exhibition Pattern and Decoration curated by Esther Boehle (Ludwig Forum Aachen) and Manuela Ammer (mumok). Her work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA; and the Stedelijk Museum Actuele Kunst, Gent, Belgium.