Linda Burnham

  • John White, Second Stories

    John White unveiled his latest adventure in screwball structuralism, Second Stories, 1986, by informing the audience that it was his last performance. The veteran performance artist, who has worked in both live and static art since 1969, presented a fascinating farewell piece, both wacky and poignant, that was perhaps designed to dovetail his stage work with his new real-life “job,” that of harried and dedicated father. Second Stories parodied and skewered both roles.

    White is well known in California for his quasi-logical word games and nutty choreography solo performances in which he appeared

  • Gronk and James Bucalo, Morning Becomes Electricity

    When is a Mexican-American artist who makes paintings on walls not a muralist and why is Peter Plagens saying those terrible things about him? These were two of the questions examined in a convoluted cross-examination of painter/performance artist Gronk (Glugio Gronk Nicandro) during his performance Morning Becomes Electricity, 1985. The piece, written and performed by Gronk and James Bucalo, was actually a retrospective of Gronk’s work in the form of a trial in which his paintings, performances, and characters were placed on the stand and accused of committing “crimes” against art. The set

  • Jacki Apple, Mary Jane Eisenberg, And Bruce Fowler

    Among the hundreds of collaborative spectacles supported over the last five years by the Inter-Arts Program of the National Endowment for the Arts, a large number have been unfortunate alliances of artists who apparently cared little about the mechanics of collaboration, merely grafting their creations together, making expensive monsters out of mismatched parts. The Amazon, the Mekong, the Missouri, and the Nile, by Jacki Apple, Mary Jane Eisenberg, and Bruce Fowler, was more than the sum of its parts and should go down on record as a performance piece that proved the potential of interarts

  • Nancy Buchanan

    Nancy Buchanan is well-known as a committed activist who believes art can change the mind of the observer about political issues. In her recent performance extravaganza, “Freedom Suites,” she attempted to call attention not only to a particular political situation—United States involvement in Central America—but to the issue of personal responsibility for world problems and their solutions.

    The piece was commissioned for Los Angeles’ “Explorations II” series, sponsored by the Museum of Contemporary Art, the California Institute of the Arts, and the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center.

  • “Carplays”

    It was hard to feel you weren’t sinning a little at “Carplays,” “an unabashed celebration of our love affair with the car,” a series of eight performances presented in various locations by this museum and the Center Theater Group/Mark Taper Forum. Angelenos should feel at least a little abashed over the air and noise pollution and the energy drain caused by their love affair with the car, but the audience showed no apparent ambivalence at the opening event, a parade of vintage and art cars under MoCAs canopy outside the massive “Automobile and Culture” show. Actor Howard Hesseman provided a

  • Lin Hixson, “Hey John, Did You Take the El Camino Far?”

    Lin Hixson’s Hey John, Did You Take the EI Camino Far? combined musical comedy with serious narrative and was refreshing in every way—deeply emotional, formally striking, sexy, and silly. The text of the piece, written by Hixson, Molly Cleator, and Valerie Faris (all three were also among the performers in this large-scale collaborative work), was developed from ten short stories by Hixson; it concerned the marriage of a Vietnam veteran, John, a Midwesterner whose war experience includes the covert murder of his colonel in retribution for atrocities the officer has forced his men to commit. When

  • John O’Keefe, Giuditta Tornetta, “Two Ways,”

    In Los Angeles, the thin veil between performance art and theater used to be a solid wall. Faced until the last few years with a theater fare of Broadway road shows and actors’ showcases, the city’s performance artists have been skeptical of theatrical methods. Now, small theaters are cropping up all over Hollywood and downtown, and performance and theater artists are workshopping, collaborating, and sharing audiences. “Two Ways,” a program (produced by Pipeline) of two pieces respectively by John O’Keefe and Giuditta Tornetta, provided an interesting viewpoint on the current mix of directions.

  • Tehching Hsieh And Linda Montano

    While we stand open mouthed at performance spectacles by such artists as Laurie Anderson and Philip Glass, a continuing artwork in Lower Manhattan makes most contemporary art ideas look small indeed. With very little fanfare and no endowments, two artists have tied themselves together for a year. The statement that defines the piece reads: “We, LINDA MONTANO and TEHCHING HSIEH, plan to do a one year performance. We will stay together for one year and never be alone. We will be in the same room at the same time when we are inside. We will be tied together at the waist with an 8 foot rope. We will

  • Jerri Allyn

    Jerri Allyn is a California feminist who for several years has been working with the performance group the Waitresses, doing political pieces in galleries, at parties, in eating establishments, and on the street. Allyn is interested in service (coin of the realm for most women)—its beatitudes, its degradations, and its parallels with mothering and whoring. A year ago, she began to withdraw from live performance to work on costumes—especially aprons—for the Waitresses. This work recently expanded to “Apron: a covering worn in front to protect,” a series of posters produced as part of a feminist