Please, Don’t Feed the Artist Dawn Kasper at the Whitney Biennial
Dawn Kasper moved the entire contents of her home and studio into a room at the Whitney Museum.
ON most days, you can hear Dawn Kasper’s installation at the Whitney Biennial before you see it. Bessie Smith or the Beatles or an episode of “The Young Ones,” a British sitcom from the ’80s, might be playing scratchily on one of her many devices, spilling out into an adjacent gallery and accompanied by a throaty guffaw from the artist, whom you might then come upon sitting cross-legged on a mattress, wearing a Hawaiian shirt, eating a sandwich and entertaining a few strangers.
In late February, Ms. Kasper, a Los Angeles performance artist, moved herself and the entire contents of her apartment-slash-studio into the Whitney, where it and she will remain for the duration of the show (it closes May 27), in a kind of living sculpture she calls the Nomadic Studio Practice.
Though she is only 35, she has albums on vinyl, as well as VHS tapes and cassettes; there they are, in stacks on the floor. This is partly because she has a fondness for old media equipment and partly because she can’t afford to upgrade.
Indeed, Ms. Kasper’s finances haven’t allowed for a real studio since 2008, a common scenario in the life of an artist and one that generated this piece, which recalls the more festive aspects of Relational Aesthetics as well as a party in the room of a particularly messy teenager. (Ms. Kasper has sublet the room she rents in a two-room apartment in Los Angeles to a friend.)
While Ms. Kasper spends her nights sleeping in a rented room in Greenpoint, Brooklyn — the museum won’t allow her to sleep over — she has spent almost every day the Whitney is open in her reconstituted home, snacking, making collages and drawings, and chatting up the museumgoers who fill her room like shoppers in a cramped thrift store, squatting to sift through her records and paperback books. Small children will climb out of their strollers to dance. Ms. Kasper hands out markers and paper to the older ones; she has a stack of their drawings. Last week, two boys were convinced she was a robot, Ms. Kasper said, until she left her desk to draw pictures with them. Older patrons might sink gratefully onto a chair to rest. READ THE ARTICLE………….