LIVE ART A scene from Kimberly Convery's January Artist Intervention at the Portland Museum of Art.
This Friday, the Portland Museum of Art stages the last of this year's Artist Intervention series, a program launched in January 2012 in which local professional artists create on-site performances and installations to complement the visitor experience. We spoke with Kimberly Convery, local artist and curator of December's art walk intervention.
SO TELL ME ABOUT THE ARTIST INTERVENTION. YOU'VE BEEN DOING THESE FOR A WHILE, RIGHT? Yeah, we do it every other month. At the beginning of 2012, (Museum Assistant Director of Family and Studio Learning) Julia (Einstein) put a group of eight of us together (Convery, Clint Fulkerson, Karen Gelardi, Joe Kievitt, John Knight, Daniel Minter, Rob Sullivan, and Shoshannah White). We meet once every three months to hang out in the galleries, draw, and talk — kind of like an art society — with the intent that we become more connected to the museum collection.
AND THE EIGHT OF YOU TAKE TURNS ASSEMBLING AN INTERVENTION? Exactly. They're all different. For example, Joe Kievitt did an audio tour of his favorite spots in the museum, so visitors walked around and listened to his voice. Clint Fulkerson filmed himself making a drawing on the third floor and projected it down on the first, so visitors would come in and see it and have to go find him.
SO NOT EVERYONE BRINGS ABOARD OTHER ARTISTS. No, that's just what I wanted to do. I wanted the experience to be an interruption for the viewer. Instead of just me, another artist, drawing in a gallery, I thought, 'Why don't we make this really overwhelming for people?' So that when they come in, it's not just that I'm there; there's artists at work everywhere, you're almost tripping over them.
SO CAN YOU SHARE A LITTLE ABOUT WHAT TO EXPECT? Some. I did the very first intervention, but I really wanted to try it again, so I got a few different people in this time, and we all have a better idea of what it's about and what we can do. For example, Jeff Badger's doing this crazy installation with Harold Philbrook: he's boxing himself in one of the windows on the staircase, and they've built a contraption and are performing inside it. And Galen (Richmond)'s hanging his circuit-bent TVs on the stairs between the third floor window and the fourth floor, and they'll be sound-reactive. We're able to get away with a lot more this time.
SO HOW MANY ARTISTS ARE INVOLVED IN THIS ONE? About fourteen, plus a performance by Hersey State on the third floor.
SO IT'LL PROBABLY BE THE SINGLE NIGHT OF THE YEAR WHERE THE MOST LOCAL ARTISTS ARE COLLECTED IN THE MUSEUM. Right.
OR THE MOST LOCAL LIVING ARTISTS, ANYWAY. Right. And it's all professional artists. No one's trying to sell anything, we're doing this because we love the museum and opportunity. Like Adriane Herman's involved and Jim Chute —
— WHAT'S ADRIANE HERMAN DOING? Well, she does these list projects, so since it's the holidays, she's doing this piece where part of it she asks people for whatever lists they have on them. But it's not set in stone; anything could happen. And unlike last time, I'm doing a piece in it too. I'm filling a room with paper chains like I did for Sacred and Profane.