The Portal


Cori Olinghouse, Grandma (2017). Performance by Martita Abril. Photograph by Andrew Jordan.

Cori Olinghouse, Grandma (2017). Photograph by Andrew Jordan.

Presented as part of Gibney’s DoublePlus series, curator Dean Moss paired Wesley Chavis and Cori Olinghouse for the divergent ways their work attempts at personal and communal healing. In Ku In Tuo Muah, Mr. Chavis takes breath as a point of departure. In Grandma, Olinghouse employs Clown Therapy — a personal improvisational practice of, in her words, “queering the clown form” — to address familial dynamics and offer a comical critique of consumerism and the media. Set in an American Landscape of Twinkies and Wonder Bread, Grandma features Cheez Doodles, cans of Spam, Cheese Whiz, Hostess Cupcakes, and a guest appearance by the famous Orange Soda, Fizzy Fizzy.

From curator Dean Moss:

I chose these artists because I'm interested in the edges of wellness as a touch-stone for aesthetic practice. Olinghouse's practice of Clown Therapy and Chavis's physicalized workshop are indicative of an emerging art inquiry. They seek to turn faith and science sensory: absorbing these "truths" (and us) into a presentation of embodied inquisition.

Both artists subvert expectation or understanding in their use of the word "therapy" or "worship" : rendering those terms arcane. In neither are we the audience expected to "get it," as "it" is some degree interior and ethereal. Yes both works are stepped in materiality: in surface, objects, breath, and flesh. Their curation says something about fluidity and vibration, the mystery of communication with the unseen, or that audience next to you.