Chloë Bass

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What is my work about?

For the past few years I have been attempting to become the world’s most invisible performance artist. I have borrowed forms from social practice, anthropology, psychology, and bureaucracy in order to build situations that allow for audiences to become performers implicitly. My work crowd-sources the answers to big questions through direct, meaningful exchange. I’m currently concerned with the following: What is an intimate commons? What is audience-free performance? What kind of language develops as we capture ephemeral experience? How can material lost in translation be captured non-linguistically? I hope to find a world, not just a work, in the answers.

Artist Statement

I am a conceptual artist who seeks to investigate the potential of the everyday as a catalyst for intimacy. I’m captivated by the common denominators of the human experience: the things that people do always. I highlight the seemingly normal as a means of questioning its stability. I am never far from the strange: not the bizarre, but the fascinating estrangement of everyday life. Originally trained as a theater director, I still embrace aspects of Brecht’s idea of alienation: the discomfort that arises from calling attention to structure through naming or pointing. That disconnect appears most clearly for me as a rupture between ourselves, and what we do without thinking. These usually unnoticed acts serve as my primary method of production and inquiry. Now I engage theater’s collaborative, multi-disciplinary form through various aspects of myself. Everything that I create – texts, situations, installations, performances – leads my participants through interconnected layers of considered engagement. In bringing these forms together, it is my desire to build a unified and multivalent world with a variety of entry points: each form serves both as translation and as layering, manifesting a density of inquiry while maintaining a flexibility for new voices and information to change the story. My hope is always that this continued questioning will encourage audiences, over time, to live differently – not in a grand sense, but simply and enduringly.

I have many influences, divided here into rough categories. For rigor, connection, and creep factor: Adrian Piper, Andrea Fraser, Vito Acconci. For use of language: Claudia Rankine, Lucy Lippard. For structure/archiving: Group Material. Additionally, as so much of my work draws from immediate experience of the world, I’m influenced by people I watch on the street, the group behaviors that manifest through internet culture, and signage in public places (even when meant for private eyes). Some elements of my projects always already exist, and it’s just a matter of finding them. I use familiar structures — bureaucracy, social rituals and games — to inspire participation and destabilize assumptions. I am full of questions that I answer through shared play. I believe in performance as participation, and installation as scrutiny. If I succeed, I will become the world’s most invisible performance artist: always present, but unseen. Without you, my work is nothing.

Recent projects have asked how what we do shapes who we are (The Bureau of Self-Recognition, 2011 – 2013), or how patterns and routines make a place what it is (The Department of Local Affairs, 2014). My current project, The Book of Everyday Instruction (2015 – 2017), is an eight chapter project exploring one-on-one social interaction. The Book of Everyday Instruction investigates the particular states of flow, play, and conflict that we experience when interacting with only ourselves and one other. Conceptually, the project is the next step in my creation of performance work for no audience. The majority (if not the entirety) of The Book of Everyday Instruction’s performance aspects will be conducted in “private”: as shared pair activities between artist and participant. These private works will serve as the research platform for more public exhibition elements.

As of the date of writing this statement, The Book of Everyday Instruction has received support from SPACES (Cleveland, OH), Elsewhere (Greensboro, NC), Salisbury University (Salisbury, MD), the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (New York, NY), Solo(s) Project House / R. Jampol Projects (Newark, NJ / New York, NY), and is in the second round of consideration for funding in Emerging Fields from Creative Capital.

The work sample in this application proposal reflects the body of work produced for The Book of Everyday Instruction, Chapter One: you+me together. you + me together was a chronicle of time spent one-on-one. Cleveland residents were invited to spend an afternoon with me, engaging in whatever activity we agreed to share. These activities were documented, timelined, and presented in exhibit format at SPACES.

The attached images are meant to demonstrate two things clearly: first, the working style and aesthetics for an existing chapter of this ongoing project; second, my ability to use conceptual, interactive performance to generate appropriate, non-documentation-based material for a static solo gallery exhibition. The exhibition contained the following elements: a series of 16 text and photo diptychs representing a formal product of my social interactions, an “evidence room” containing labeled bags and shelves of tagged objects collected during those interactions, and instructive question-cards for gallery visitors to use as a frame to their viewing experience. I also hosted a live public event (as opposed to the more private one-on-one performances) called Games for Two Players, which incorporated some of the methodologies developed over the course of the 16 private interactions.

I have also included work samples from previous projects, including The Department of Local Affairs, which was produced as a solo exhibition for the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, and Tea Will Be Served, one portion of The Bureau of Self-Recognition. The Department of Local Affairs sample demonstrates one complete installation, alongside event/participation photos, the products of those events, and a body of individual photographic research conducted during project development phases and distributed as a series of postcards. The Tea Will Be Served sample also shows an installation and its performance components: events, formal photography, and text used as a form of facilitation. Both additional sets of images serve as aesthetic and conceptual reference points for my current body of work, and demonstrate my technical growth as an artist between 2011 and the present.

EDUCATION

Brooklyn College CUNY, Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, MFA 2011 in Performance & Interactive Media.

Yale University, Department of Theatre Studies, BA 2006 cum laude with distinction in major.

SOLO EXHIBITIONS + PROJECTS
2016
Book of Everyday Instruction, Chapter Four. R. Jampol Projects, New York, NY. Curator: Rebecca Jampol.

2015
Book of Everyday Instruction, Chapter Three: We walk the world two by two. Elsewhere, Greensboro, NC. Curator: George Scheer.
Book of Everyday Instruction, Chapter Two: Things I’ve seen people do lately. Salisbury University, Salisbury, MD. Curator: Tara Gladden.
Book of Everyday Instruction, Chapter One: you + me together, SPACES, Cleveland, OH. Curator: Christina Vassallo.
Mental Map, Special Project for BRIC Arts, Brooklyn, NY. Curators: Elizabeth Ferrer & Jennifer Gerow.

2014
Urban Design Lab/The Department of Local Affairs (with Teal Gardner), Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Omaha, NE. Curator: Amanda McDonald-Crowley.

2013
The Bureau of Self-Recognition, Momenta Art, Brooklyn, NY Curator: Eric Heist.

2012
Bank Vault, EIDIA House/Plato’s Cave, Brooklyn, NY. Curator: EIDIA (Melissa Wolf and Paul Lamarre).
Free Consultations, Panoply Performance Laboratory, Brooklyn, NY. Curator: Esther Neff.
Process Dinner Deluxe, SUPERFRONT, Brooklyn, NY. Curator: Mitch McEwen.

2011
Tea Will Be Served, Agape Enterprise, Brooklyn, NY. Curator: Kikuko Tanaka.
Boardroom Bed & Breakfast, Brooklyn College MFA Thesis (with TJ Hospodar), New York, NY

2010
The [Gallery] Walks, Robert Moses Walk Project, New York, NY. Curator: Blake Morris.

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2015
Eyebeam In Objects, Upfor Gallery, Portland, OR. Curator: Roddy Schrock.
Bronx Biennial, Bronx Musuem of the Arts, Bronx, NY. Curators: Laura Napier & Hatuey Ramos-Fermin.

2014
Resource Room at Prelude 2014, James Gallery, CUNY Graduate Center, New York, NY. Curator: Katherine Carl.
Practice, Practicing, and the Perpetual Being of Performance, Museum School of Fine Arts, Boston, MA. Curators: Esther Neff and Helina Metafaria.
Call and Response, Antioch College, Yellow Springs, OH. Curator: Gabrielle Civil.
The Deconsumptionists, DEPE Space, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, Detroit, MI. Curator: EIDIA.
LUMEN Festival, Staten Island, NY. Curators: Esther Neff and David C. Terry.
Sneak Review: Ben Patterson, Schau Fenster, Berlin, Germany. Curator: Petra Stegmann.

2013
Dear Diary: Update All, Neuberger Museum, Purchase, NY. Curator: Jacqueline Shilkoff.
Curate NYC: Online exhibits selected by Leslie Johnstone and Hitomi Iwasaki, New York, NY
NYC25, Westwood Gallery, New York, NY. Curator: Danny Simmons
Etiquette for Lucid Dreaming, Project for Empty Space @ Newark Penn Station, Newark, NJ. Curators: Jasmine Wahi & Menakshi Thirakode.
Ich/I, Kunstlerhaus Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany. Curator: Adnan Yildiz.
Untitled (As of Yet), Flux Factory, Queens, NY. Curators: Sally Szwed and Christina Vassallo.
SAME (difference)_sculpture in relation, Kunstkammer AZB, Zurich, Switzerland. Curators: Anne Koskiluoma and Tanja Trampe.
Taking Site, D21 Kunstraum/5533 art space, Leipzig Germany / Istanbul, Turkey. Curators: Nancy Atakan, Filiz Avunduk, Volkan Aslan, Lena Brueggemann, Hannah Sieben.
Romer XVI, Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart, Germany. Curator: Marlene Perronet.
Anti-Auto Show, Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit, Detroit, MI. Curator: Spread Art.

2012
The Culture Project’s Women Center Stage Festival, New York, NY. Curator: Manda Martin.
Crossed Boundaries, Glasshouse Projects, Brooklyn, NY. Curators: Lital Dotan and Eyal Perry.
Ephemeral Evidence, Exit Art, New York, NY. Curator: Andy Horwitz.
Itinerant, Queens Media Arts Development, Queens, NY. Curator: Hector Canonge.
iCan, IV Soldiers Gallery, Brooklyn, NY. Curator: Ivy Castellanos.
Festival of Ideas for the New City, The New Museum, New York, NY. Invited by Derek Denckla.
Detroit: A Brooklyn Case Study, SUPERFRONT LA/ Marygrove College, Los Angeles/Detroit, MI

2010
3rd Annual Bushwhack Festival, The Bushwick Starr, Brooklyn, NY. Curator: Noel Allain and Sue Kessler.
Urban Wilderness Action Center, Eyebeam Art + Technology Center, New York, NY. Curator: Amanda McDonald-Crowley.
Last Supper Art Festival, 3rd Ward, Brooklyn, NY. Curator: Coralina Meyer.
Moviehouse: Chat Roulette, 3rd Ward, Brooklyn, NY. Curator: Chris Henderson.

2009
The Work Office, chashama, New York, NY. Curator: Katarina Jerinic and Naomi Miller.

SELECTED HONORS & AWARDS

2015

Public art commission for Elsewhere’s South Elm Projects, Greensboro, NC.

Selected for the Bronx Museum’s prestigious Artists in the Marketplace (AIM) 35.

Rema Hort Mann Foundation Grant Nominee.

2014

Selected as one of four artist-curators for the 2014 Prelude Festival at the CUNY Graduate Center.

Social practice commission at the Bemis Center (Omaha, Nebraska).

New work commission from LUMEN (Staten Island, NY).

2013

Selected as an Honorary Fellow, Fellowship for Utopian Practice, Culture Push.

2012

Rema Hort Mann Foundation Grant Nominee.

2011

New work commission from the Culture Project for Women Center Stage Festival 2012.

Nurture Art Benefit Honoree.

Rema Hort Mann Foundation Grant Nominee.

Recipient of Brooklyn College Graduate Travel Fellowship.

2010

One of four graduate students selected to speak at Pizer Colloquium, Brooklyn College, CUNY.

Sole department recipient of Brooklyn College Graduate Tuition Waiver.

Recipient of Brooklyn College Library Art Award for video “Dancing Couple Over Time.”

New work commission from the Bushwick Starr’s 3rd annual Bushwhack Festival.

RESIDENCIES & FELLOWSHIPS

2015 – 2016 Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Workspace Studio Residency, New York, NY

2015 Solo(s) Project House Winter Residency, Newark, NJ

2015 Elsewhere South Elm Commission and Residency, Greensboro, NC

2015 SPACES SWAP Residency, Cleveland, OH

2014 The Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Omaha, NE

2014 Create Change Residency, The Laundromat Project, New York, NY

2014 Fellowship in Utopian Practice, Culture Push, New York, NY

2013 Taking Site Residency, 5533, Istanbul, Turkey

2012 – 2013 Visiting Artist, Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart, Germany

2011 Teaching Residency/Fellowship, Eyebeam Art + Technology Center, New York, NY

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS

Scholarly

“This slideshow is here so we both know what to do,” Emergency Index, published by Ugly Duckling Presse, 2014.

Bureau of Self-Recognition (Artist Monograph), published by am i human Press, May 2013.

“What would you do with . . .? (A Conversation About Value),” Emergency Index, published by Ugly Duckling

Presse, 2013.

“Partial holdings of the Bank of the Bureau of Self-Recognition,” Exit Strata (Print), December 2012.

“Tea Will Be Served,” Emergency Index, published by Ugly Duckling Presse, 2012.

“Not Ruined Enough,” Lab for Urban Futures: Detroit, published by SUPERFRONT, 2012.

“Notes from Architecture at Occupy Wall Street,” Broken English, published in conjunction with Performa 11,

edited by Julieta Aranda and Carlos Motta, November 2011. (With Mitch McEwen.)

“7884 Collaboration Profile” (working title), YAF Connections, published by AIA Young Architects Forum,

November 2011. (With Mitch McEwen.)

“Defining a City” City As Lab, edited by Adriana Young. Published by Parsons School of Design, 2011.

“BARCAMP,” SCOPE New York International Contemporary Art Show, published by SCOPE Art, 2011.

“From Small Plates to Big Purpose: Investigating Cities Bite by Bite,” Detroit: A Brooklyn Case Study,

published by SUPERFRONT, 2011.

“Is Brooklyn (Abu Dhabi) Over?” New City Reader, published in conjunction with the New Museum’s

Last Newspaper exhibit, 2010.

Blogs

Regular contributor on performance and social practice for Hyperallergic, November 2013 – present.

Regular contributor on real estate, arts and culture for Brooklyn Based, 2010.

“What are the things that make us a ‘we’?” Open Engagement Blog, March 2014.

“Heist at Staten Island’s LUMEN,” Culturebot, June 2013

“Dead Email Office,” word servents, April 2013

“The era of silent reading is over.”, word servents, January 2013

“Doing the Always,” word servents, November 2012

“Field Notes: Bureau of Self-Recognition,” Exit Strata (Blog), September 2012

“Ephemeral Evidence Conversation: Chloë Bass and Andy Horwitz,” Culturebot, April 2012

BIBLIOGRAPHY

“A conversation: Chloë Bass on Prelude 2014,” by Eleonora Castagna, Droste Effect, October 2014

“I drank wine, I saw art, but this was no opening,” by Karen Kedmey, Artsy, October 2014

“In conversataion: Prelude 2014,” by Frank Hentschker, The Brooklyn Rail, September 2014

“A laboratory experience,” by Casey Logan, Omaha World-Herald, September 2014

“From Private Repository to Public Forum,” by Martha Schwendener, New York Times, February 2014.

“Studio Visit: Chloë Bass,” by Sophie Buonomo, BOMB Blog, July 2013

“Chloë Bass: Portfolio,” BOMB Blog, July 2013

“An Examination in the Process of Self-Recognizing,” by Willow Goldstein, Arts in Bushwick blog, June 2013

“Highlights of Bushwick Open Studios 2013,” by Chelsea Haines, BOMB Blog, June 2013

“AO On-Site: Bushwick Open Studios 2013,” by Hannah Palmer Egan, Art Observed, June 2013

“10 Must-Visit Studios, 10 Must-See Exhibitions, and More at Bushwick Open Studios 2013,” by Benjamin Sutton,

Art Info, May 2013

“And They’re Off: Friday Night Openings at Bushwick Open Studios 2013,” by Hrag Vartanian, Hyperallergic,

May 2013

“Entrevista de la Edicion: Chloe Bass,” by Oscar Oliver Didier, ENTORNO Magazine, Summer 2012

“Self Money in the Bank,” by Akeem Duncan, Quiet Lunch Blog, September 2012

“Chloë Bass Has Her Designs Set on ‘Self-Recognition,’” by Lanie Zipoy, Works by Women, March 2012

“Bushwick’s Best Performers Show Off During SITE Fest,” by Sam Goldman, Times Newsweekly, March 2011

“Armory Arts Week, SITE Fest,” video profile by Grace Moon, Velvet Park Media, March 2011

“Chloë Bass: So Much Amazing Stuff!” by Katarina Hybenova, Bushwick Daily, March 2011

“Social Disrobing and Other Party Fare,” by Melena Ryzik, New York Times, June 2010

“SITE Unseen: Bushwick’s Performance Festival Returns,” by Aaron Short, February 2010

“Spare Times: Open Studios in Brooklyn,” by Melena Ryzik, New York Times, June 2009

“Escaping from the Art Market,” by Benjamin Sutton, L Magazine, May 2009

“Comfort Food,” by Katherine Sharpe, ReadyMade Magazine, February 2009

“A Day in the Life of Chloë Bass,” by Rachel Geizhals, CUNY Graduate School of Journalism Blog,

November 2008

WORK EXPERIENCE

2015 Mentor, Oklahoma Arts Writing & Curatorial Fellowship

2015 Visiting Artist, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Antioch College, Moore College of Art & Design

2013 Mentor, New York Arts Practicum

2011 – 2012 Adjunct Lecturer, Brooklyn College

2011 Resident Teaching Artist, Eyebeam Art + Technology Center

2007 – 2011 Co-Founder/Co-Lead Organizer, Arts in Bushwick