Tyler Ashley's Performa Piece Under The Standard, New York

Nov 08 2011

Collage by Liliana Dirks-Goodman

Last week we introduced you to Elmgreen and Dragset to get you into the spirit of this year’s Performa11, the biennial visual art performance festival. This time we stopped Tyler Ashley while rehearsing for his piece under The Standard, New York. If you didn’t see his performance in Times Square this past Saturday, you can see it this Saturday, Nov 12th at 12:00 PM and Monday, Nov 14th at 5:30 PM. The piece begins on the High Line at the Chelsea Market Passage, near 16th Street and moves south to The Standard, New York near Little W 12th Street.

Standard: When did you fall in love with dance?

Tyler Ashley: I have always been a mover. Can’t sit still and love to boogie! However, I really “fell in love” with dance in the spring of 2004. I had just spent a semester abroad and was feeling super energized, creatively. I took my first professional modern dance class and it clicked. It was, and continues to be, the perfect balance of physicality and intellect. Dancing is the only time in my day that I feel 100% focused.

Costumes designed by Alyssa Tang and Sole Salvo, inspired by Stepanova

How did you prepare for this piece?

There was not much prep time for ‘half-mythical, half-legendary Americanism’. I was curated at the end of August, so it’s only been about two months! Founder and Director of Performa, RoseLee Goldberg, recently told The New York Observer that Performa11 “should be about this moment in time. There’s such risk taking here, it’s hardly mainstream. I mean, I can tell you about the projects we have for ’11 but not one of them really exists yet…And they won’t exist until the night before.” Besides holding this as my mantra, I started reading as much as I could find about Constructivism and massive sports demonstrations, started working out more, and put my social life on pause. Most importantly, I put together an amazing team of collaborators, performers, and administrators - this is only possible because of them!

An example of some of the photography that inspired Tyler’s piece

What are the 3 things you’ve been inspired by recently?

I think it’s pretty clear what has inspired this current project. In general as an artist, the three (of many) things that currently inspire me are the color orange, effort, and opulence.

Tyler’s notes for his piece

Saturday, Nov 12 at 12:00 PM & Monday, Nov 14 at 5:30 PM Performance begins on the High Line at West 16th Street and travels south toward The Standard, New York. FREE and open to the public