Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tania Bruguera is at it again - This time in Queens?!

An Artist’s Performance: A Year as a Poor Immigrant
By SAM DOLNICK, NYT - May 18, 2011

Tania Bruguera (left), a performance artist with members of Immigrant Movement International, an advocacy group. The group is part of the artist's yearlong performance art work, during which she is living with illegal immigrants in Queens.
Photo: James Estrin/The New York Times

Tania Bruguera has eaten dirt, hung a dead lamb from her neck and served trays of cocaine to a gallery audience, all in the name of art. She has shown her work at the Venice Biennale, been feted at the Pompidou Center in Paris and landed a Guggenheim fellowship.

But now she is sharing a tiny apartment in Corona, Queens, with five illegal immigrants and their six children, including a newborn, while scraping by on the minimum wage, without health insurance.

She has not fallen on hard times. Ms. Bruguera is performing a yearlong art piece meant to improve the image of immigrants and highlight their plight. And she is bringing her high-concept brand of provocation to a low-wattage precinct of taco stands and auto-body shops, where the neighbors have responded with varying degrees of curiosity, amusement and befuddlement.

“She’s an artist? I didn’t know that,” said J. P. Jimenez, a salesman at Metropolitan Lumber and Hardware on Roosevelt Avenue, opposite the storefront Ms. Bruguera opened last month. “I don’t see nobody going in with paintings.”

Click here to finish reading the NYT article.

Keep reading below for a description of Bruguera's long-term immigrant rights project, Immigrant Movement International, from her website.

Immigrant Movement International
Conception Year: 2006
Implementation Years: 2010 - 2015
Medium: Appropriation of Political Strategies, Useful Art
Duration: Long - Term Project
Materials: Immigration policies and laws, Immigrant Population, Elected Officials, Politicians, Community Organizations, Public Pressure, Media.
Location: Corona, Queens, New York, United States

Tania Bruguera's Immigrant Movement International, presented by Creative Time and the Queens Museum of Art, is a Long-Term art project1 in the form of an artist initiated socio-political movement. Bruguera will spend a year operating a flexible community space in the multinational and transnational neighborhood of Corona, Queens, which will serve as the movement's headquarters.

Engaging both local and international communities, as well as working with social service organizations, elected officials, and artists focused on immigration reform, Bruguera will examine growing concerns about the political representation and conditions facing immigrants. As migration becomes a more central element of contemporary existence, the status and identity of those who live outside their place of origin increasingly become defined not by sharing a common language, class, culture, or race, but instead by their condition as immigrants. By engaging the local community through public workshops, events, actions, and partnerships with immigrant and social service organizations, Immigrant Movement International will explore who is defined as an immigrant and the values they share, focusing on the larger question of what it means to be a citizen of the world. Bruguera will also delve into the implementation of art in society, examining what it means to create Useful Art2, and addressing the disparity of engagement between informed audiences and the general public, as well as the historical gap between the language used in what is considered avant-garde and the language of urgent politics.

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