“Oliver Herring | Task” in Seattle tomorrow

Oliver Herring. Task - Photo Archive #34, 2006. Digital C-print. 14 1/4 x 9 1/2 in. Collaborative performance at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C., 2006. Courtesy of the artist and Max Protetch Gallery, New York

Season 3 artist Oliver Herring brings Task, his ongoing collaborative performance, to the Seattle Public Library tomorrow. In an unprecedented collaboration between the Frye Art Museum, Tacoma Art Museum, On the Boards and the Library, he will stage a day-long Task performance from 10 am to 5:30 pm.

An improvisational art-making event, Oliver Herring | Task brings together a group of strangers of diverse ages, professions and backgrounds to create a unique site-specific contemporary artwork. Herring devises simple “tasks” for the participants, which become catalysts for performance.

“I write a bunch of simple tasks in order to get the performance going,” Herring once explained. “Each one is put in a task pool, and the performance starts with each participant taking an envelope, opening it and trying to fulfill that task. Once they’re done, they each write a new task, put it back in the task pool, grab a new task and go on with business.” After the first five or 10 minutes, the performance is entirely self-perpetuating.” The performance’s unpredictability is inherent to its process: the artwork takes shape according to the interests and creativity of those on stage as well as the relationships they form with one another.

Herring has staged Task performances at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (2006); Plaza de Toros in Santa Cruz de Tenerife (2003), the Former Federal Security Bank in Lake Worth, Fla. (2003); L’Ecole Supérieur National des Beaux Arts, Paris (2002); and the Masonic Temple at the Great Eastern Hotel, London (2003). The upcoming Seattle Public Library performance will be the first staged indoors, and the first involving multiple organizations.

Image: Oliver Herring. Task – Photo Archive #34, 2006. Digital C-print. 14 1/4 x 9 1/2 in. Collaborative performance at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C., 2006. Courtesy of the artist and Max Protetch Gallery, New York

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Art21 Director of Special Projects
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