===by Emily Katz
I rode my bike to this performance, it was a beautiful day. the city looked alive as I rode over the broadway bridge. and I also felt full of life and light.
upon arrival, they wrote my name at the bottom of the list of standbys, and I got in line to wait.
i watched a few of my friends go in, and waited. until number 48 of 50. and they let my friend in, and they let me in last…
on the white gallery walls hung a show by Sean Healy. you should go see the show. it is beautiful.
we all stand and around the room. I wore high heels. i was thirsty.
then the two performers grow out of the crowd from normal people into something bigger and different. and they are smiling as wide as the bridge i had just ridden across.
I went into this show not really knowing anything about it, just a curiosity.
they tell a story back and forth from the perspective of the same person.
“my Boyfriend knows 4 languages” they say. ” he knows a lot about art”
with their words, a picture is painted around us of the space we are standing in, of the space in England, with the real Willem De Kooning painting on the wall, where the character is dying of Cardiomyopathy.
music from speakers on the floor buzz and shake the room and everyone’s chest, especially mine.
my mother had Cardiomyopathy. and four years ago she received a heart from a young man, a 26 year old, who died in a car crash. I don’t talk about this very often with people. i am not close to my mother.
then the music gets louder. like a swirling rushing sound. and we are ushered into the other room where there are rows of seats, just enough for us 50 special people.
i sit in the very back, and I feel a swelling overtaking me.
they play goes on. and the heart transplant recipient is meeting the wife of the man whose heart now beats in their chest. she is muslim, we imagine. they can only see her eyes. he was only 26. it was only an accident. he was alive…he was going to make it.
the main character wanted only to learn about the heart, and to bring a special present.
at the end of the performance i wait to stand. my friend is holding my hand and i feel shaky.
it has been a very long time since i have thought about how my mother must have felt. she was always 3000 miles away.
we walk out of the gallery but stop, and he hugs me.
and then i go outside and my other friend hugs me, and I burst into tears, and the makeup smears down my cheeks.
she tells me i should tell the performers how much they touched me, but I shook my head no..
then Tim Crouch comes out side anyway and hugs me too. and then i tell him about my mother, and he hugs me again. and my friends hug me again too.
and I feel like art has succeeded in touching me, grabbing me, and hugging me…
this show will be in Seattle for the next 4 days at the henry gallery:
more info here:
Henry gallery blog
Tim Crouch / England
09.08.08 at Elizabeth Leach Gallery
2008 Time-Based Art Festival, PICA
Photo by Axel Nastansky
All Rights Reserved, PICA