|"This is your TASK, Go Wild."|
|Written by Nikolle Keeney, Daily Vidette Senior Staff|
|Sunday, 07 February 2010 21:49|
Build a robot. Hold hands with a pretty stranger. Be a turkey who really wants to fly. Sing a song. Start a revolution. Follow the “yellow brick road”, find out where it goes.
“TASK is art in the most unconventional sense of the word,” Oliver Herring, New York-based experimental artist and director of the internationally acclaimed ‘TASK Party,’ said.
“The party expands one’s comfort zone in so many different ways—that’s what’s so unique about this kind of expression. It’s a fantastic and uninhibited way to engage with others, engage with materials and engage with the environment in a very unusual way,” he added.
Herring’s party erupted in ISU’s University Galleries this past Friday. Over 200 students, faculty and community members joined together in a celebration of unbounded creativity.
Transforming walls into blank canvases and floors into performance space, the gallery opened its doors ready to embrace the unexpected.
Any person entering Friday’s party was instructed to both write out and randomly select a task to be expressed within the confines of the gallery. From there, the rules ended.
Aluminum foil, paint, boxes, flowers and toilet paper were among the many materials laid out for participants to express their given task. Without confines, such improvisational expression resulted in a messy and open-ended venue for creativity.
A man in a full-bodied robot costume broke out into the “Single Ladies” dance. A student stood on a chair and led an eruptive countdown to the New Year. A girl with a purple mustache painted her secrets on the wall.
Amanda Patenaude, a senior BFA student, drew “ask a stranger for a thirty second shoulder massage” out of the task bucket. She was happy to oblige.
“The TASK Party is a huge blast. There are just a lot of people here doing crazy things with a bunch of crazy materials just having fun. The chaos is what makes this party great,” Patenaude said.
Gary Justis, a professor of sculpture and print making, said that he was more than impressed with the success of the party.
“There is so much good, uninhibited energy happening at the present moment. Being here and witnessing this extreme of collective creativity is truly wonderful,” he said.
Following the TASK Party, Herring, alongside gallery staff, will spend a week compiling photographs, videos and photo-sculptures created at the event. The TASK+ exhibition will be displayed amidst artifacts and detritus created during the party.
Kendra Paitz, curator at University Galleries, said that she is looking forward to see what kind of work will emerge through the madness.
“I can’t imagine what the gallery is going to look like once everything is said and done. It’s great to see the gallery so full of energy and so much a product of the people who visit,” Paitz said.
“I’m excited to see the project translate and evolve as we set the gallery up for the TASK+ exhibition. The videos played will be projected over the art and photographs will interlace with work on the walls,” she continued.
Two years in planning, Paitz remarked that she was especially excited to have Herring at the gallery.
A German-born, Brooklyn-based artist, Herring is renowned internationally as a contemporary artist. His work has been exhibited at such venues as the Museum of Modern Art; the New Museum of Contemporary Art; and the Camden Arts Centre in London. After spending a decade devoted to the solitary art of knitting, Herring decided that he wanted to focus his work onto human subjects.
“I really love working with people—people from all walks of life who wouldn’t necessarily consider themselves ‘artists.’ I enjoy being open-ended in form and experimental about my work. TASK is a great outlet for that,” Herring said.
Herring began his TASK Project in 2002. Since then, he has held TASK at various venues across the US as well as in London and Paris.
The TASK+ exhibition will open in University Galleries on Feb. 16. The opening reception, scheduled for 5 p.m., is free and open to the public. TASK+ will be on display in the gallery through Mar. 28.
Herring encourages all students to check out the show and to take special note of the exhibition’s root in creative opportunity.
“My show, my mantra and my life are all about opportunities,” Herring said. “My message is that no person should wait; take every opportunity.”