PARTY PART 12: #NO DADS
June 14th, 2012 @ T.A.G. New York, NY

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When I was invited to perform at a party for Teen Art Gallery I felt very self-conscious. I rarely have to consider the idea that I might be getting old. That I’m doing something rote and boring. Uncool. That I’ve missed my chance to be in high school and trying to run a traveling gallery in Manhattan (which is true). That these kids have had more cumulative fun at 18 than I’ve had at 27. I think back to getting beat up by skateboarders at that age…

More and more, I’ve had to confront these fears. I wonder sometimes if I will keep performing. Have I grown as an artist? I know that my ideas have evolved tremendously. But why? Where is it going? Who am I really doing this for?

This show took place in a Manhattan loft full of (mostly) adolescents. There were 2 adult “chaperones.” I called my performance #No Dads after a twitter tag that ETC told me about. I named it this because I heard The Kids love the twitter and “[tag] No Dads” really fit the imagined Lord of the Flies atmosphere I had constructed in my head.

I felt like I needed to talk about how heritage, history, and context should be abolished in your artistic practice. As soon as I arrived to set up I was embarrassed to have thought I could teach these kids anything, so positive was I that they were all cooler and more productive and more cutting edge than me. I remembered that inside every teenager is a brooding nihilist –a teenager who grew up in New York in 2012, no less. They don’t need me to tell them to “kill people, burn shit, fuck school.” I showed up to perform a show called #No Dads, 3 days before Fathers Day, and realized that I was trying to be someone’s dad. After that I just tried to blend in and didn’t rat anyone out for sneaking vodka into their “strawberry soda,” praying to make it out alive.

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The whole show was packed into a suitcase and I was trying to execute a “nesting dolls” thing. I started out wearing 3 costumes, inside a puppet that was inside a larger puppet. It went pretty well, this idea… but damn, it was hot in there. So I stripped away each layer of my costume(s) and ended the show in my spandex, rolling around the floor pretending to be a pig.

The show climaxed with a quote from Pete Campbell in the Mad Men season finale (which had aired only a few days before): “He wanted to feel like he knew something… Like all this aging was worth something, because he knew things young people didn’t know yet.” This played over a new version of the Talking Heads/Bjork track from Part Ate, and a kid standing near the back could be heard saying “I’m diggin this chopped n screwed Talking Heads shit. I don’t even care that he’s in his underwear right now.”

After the show a young skater came up to me and said “yo I fucks with your performance art, man.” Thanks, kid. Thanks.

— video coming soon —