NEW YORK, NY.-
For five days this May, Public Art Fund presents a striking new performance‐based artwork in the midtown oasis of Bryant Park. Walk the Walk by artist Kate Gilmore is a dynamic sculptural and performance‐based artwork activated by a group of womens walking, stomping, shuffling and marching on the roof of an eight‐foot‐high cubic structure. Like typical office workers, the artworks participants represent a variety of physical builds and types, all clothed in simple yellow dresses and beige pumps. These women will walk, march and stomp atop the temporary structure from 8:30 am to 6:30 pm for five days straight.
Acting out their work in an area densely populated by office buildings, Gilmores performers transform the workday into a visual spectacle and dissonant symphony. Public Art Fund Director and Chief Curator Nicholas Baume observes: In Walk the Walk, the office cubicle has morphed into a room‐sized open structure. No longer confined by it, Gilmores office troupe has literally raised the roof, making it center stage for their visually and acoustically startling performance. Bright yellow walls beckon passersby inside, providing a multi‐sensory experience. Once inside, visitors will be enveloped by the reverberations of the stomping feet overhead inserting them into a dramatic, improvisational audio piece.
Walk the Walk is part celebration but also part protest piece. The structure is painted the same color as the womens dresses, branding the participants to fit their surroundings. Attempting to challenge the physical and psychological systems that regulate our working lives, Gilmore takes internal struggles and makes them public. Even those unable to experience the work in person will have access via online video footage available on the Public Art Funds website at www.publicartfund.org
Drawing attention to, and celebrating the vast number of women who work each day in the City, Gilmores installation questions notions of work, its limitations, and possibilities, especially as they relate to themes of female identity, physical endurance, and personal expression. Walk the Walk joins a rich tradition of feminist art practices in a decidedly new way.
Best known for her single‐channel videos of private performances, Gilmores work often reflects attempts to master arduous physical tasks while wearing stereotypically feminine clothing and shoes. In Standing Here (2010), currently included in the 2010 Whitney Biennial, Gilmore is seen climbing a prefab interior column wearing a polka dot dress and pumps. Similarly, Walk the Walk juxtaposes the display of physical exertion with the trappings of appropriateness and conformity, raising questions about womens economic and political goals, as well as issues of individuality, class, and social mobility. However, Walk the Walk marks the first time that Gilmore has orchestrated her work for other performers, instead of participating as its main subject.
Born in 1975, in Washington D.C., Kate Gilmore lives and works in New York City. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Bates College, Lewiston, Maine (1997), and her Masters of Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts, New York (2002). Her work has been shown extensively, most recently in the 2010 Whitney Biennial, on view until May 30. She has had solo exhibitions at the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, San Jose (2009); Franco Soffiantino Arte Contemporanea, Turin (2009); Smith‐Stewart Gallery, New York (2008); and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia (2008). Gilmore was awarded a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award in 2009.