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Hirshhorn opens exhibition devoted to next generation of performance artists
Mariana Valencia, Album, 2018. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Ian Douglas.

WASHINGTON, DC.- The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden has opened “Does the body rule the mind, or does the mind rule the body?,” the first exhibition in the museum’s history to focus on live performance art, on view June 21–Aug. 12. Curated by Mark Beasley, the museum’s curator of media and performance art, “Does the body” presents new and recent works by leading performance artists who mix avant-garde gesture with popular culture, expressed through the rigor and dynamism of contemporary dance.

This film and live performance series brings together five performers who work with dance, music and spoken word—Moriah Evans, Morgan Bassichis, Will Rawls, Jen Rosenblit and Mariana Valencia—to explore ideas of the body and identity. The works are being presented as a series of intimate dance and music performances designed specifically for the Hirshhorn’s circular galleries.

“Does the body” stages the live performances alongside a larger ongoing presentation of moving image documentaries and recorded works that offer an introduction to the work of this contemporary generation of American artists. Each piece is inherently social, inviting visitors connect to the artists and to each other through playfulness, movement, humor, control and liberation. Together, they challenge notions of how people construct identity through pop culture and the histories they tell each other.

“It’s very exciting to present the Hirshhorn’s first exhibition dedicated entirely to performance,” Beasley said. “This is a new generation of American performers who exactingly blend the history of avant-garde music and form with pop culture in order to challenge constructed social relations in order to suggest how we might better ‘dance together.’”

All performances are free, with tickets required, unless otherwise noted. Evans’ “Be My Muse” will offer advance reservations for members of the public who wish to experience performing with the artist.

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