(New York, New York) Art In General Project Space
As part of the first installment of a new commissions program that comprehensively supports New York-based artists in the development of challenging new projects, Art in General presented The Experiential Project
The Experiential Project consists of intimate “happenings” that take place almost surreptitiously in public spaces, at neighboring businesses, or sometimes just in front of Art in General. Somewhere in Chelsea, a woman halts to reposition her shoe; At a nearby restaurant, a note is left for you in the last page of the guest book; In front of Art in General, a biker stops and breathes heavily and then continues, and then repeats this action and again for the course of an hour; a gift is offered to you if you touch your nose in a specified neighborhood bar. All these ordinary and commonplace events are orchestrated by Walton-- but not necessarily announced.
These happenings are organized in three parts. Experiential Project consists of eleven “things” that you encounter while following Walton’s script. Life/Theater Performance is comprised of fourteen scheduled “events” throughout the city and in Life/Theater Today, happenings taking place every Thursday through Saturday, 4-5 pm from October 1-December 17 right in front of Art in General, seating included.
For the Experiential Project and Life/Theater Performance, the script and schedules are poetically mapped on individual postcards with image and text indicating the place, date, and sequence of events or things to look for. The postcard set of 25 is available for free at Art in General, and a project schedule is also published at the gallery and the Art in General website. For Life/Theater Today, however, the happenings in front of Art in General will be unannounced. They will simply repeat themselves every 15 minutes for the course of an hour for an audience that may experience the unannounced performances of Walton’s orchestra—a group of artists, urban planners, writers, actors and modern day flâneurs. Once in a while, the artist and Art in General staff will also join his orchestra and make cameo appearances.
Although it is tempting and customary to present a video or photography exhibition documenting these happenings, and offer the gallery visitor this second site of experience, with The Experiential Project Art in General takes a different approach to Walton’s practice. The gallery becomes a suggestive site rather than an exhibition space. A raw, wooden bleacher structure occupies Art in General’s Project Space (a street-level storefront gallery), which embodies the proposed, reversed site of observation and experience in Walton’s project. The vector of experience is from inside the white cube to outside in the public realm.