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Jonathan VanDyke will perform The Long Glance, beginning May 28; Performance will last for forty hours

May 13, 2011

Buffalo, NY – A remarkable performance will take place at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery from Saturday, May 28, through Thursday, June 2, 2011. The artist Jonathan VanDyke will perform The Long Glance, a piece for which he will contemplate Jackson Pollock’s seminal work Convergence, 1952, for forty hours over five days. Each day, VanDyke will take his place by the painting just before the Gallery opens at 10 am, and will remain in the same spot until the Gallery closes at 5 pm, with just one twenty-minute break. He will stand with only slight variations to his posture and stance while he silently directs his gaze and focus on the painting. The everyday activities of the museum will continue as normal around the artist. Visitors are welcome to watch his performance or view the painting alongside him. Touching the artist is prohibited, and he will not interact with visitors during the performance.

VanDyke’s performance highlights a number of different themes. It is, in part, a commentary on contemporary culture and the way pervasive technology can distract us as it competes for our attention. In The Long Glance, VanDyke strips away all distractions between himself and the act of contemplation, concentrating on his own ability to focus.

VanDyke’s performance considers not only the painting itself, but also the environment surrounding the painting.  The artist asks, “how has abstract painting continued to receive resistance from American viewers?  How have Abstract Expressionist paintings been commodified, collected, and conserved? How has the mythology surrounding these artworks—and the artists who made them—informed our experience of looking at them?”

The performance will also explore the relationship between the body and the art object in both Pollock’s and VanDyke’s work, as it sets in contrast the intense physicality and movement of Pollock’s creative process with the obsessive stillness of VanDyke. 

By employing the timeframe of the forty-hour workweek, which was established in the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, VanDyke references post–World War II America; it was during this time when Abstract Expressionism—the artistic movement in which Convergence is situated—was established and thrived.

Jonathan VanDyke received his MFA from the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College in 2004. He studied at the Glasgow School of Art, attended the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture in 2008, and studied with Paul Pfeiffer at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in 2007. He has shown his work nationally and internationally, and served as a visiting artist at colleges and universities throughout the United States. VanDyke’s last solo exhibition in New York, at Scaramouche, was reviewed in Artforum, Time Out New York, and Whitehot Magazine. He is based in Brooklyn, New York.

The performance will be broadcast on the Gallery’s website at www.albrightknox.org from 10 am until 5 pm on May 28, May 29, May 31, June 1, and June 2. (The Gallery is closed on Monday, May 30.) A link to the broadcast will be available on the website’s homepage beginning May 28.

Like an athlete preparing for an event, VanDyke has spent many months physically and mentally preparing to perform The Long Glance. He will give a short reprise of his performance on Friday, June 3, from 1:30 to 5 pm, for visitors during M&T FIRST FRIDAYS @ THE GALLERY. He will discuss the performance later that evening at a talk beginning at 7 pm in the Gallery’s Auditorium.

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