Jill Kroesen: Collecting Injustices, Unnecessary Suffering

Artist, composer, and singer Jill Kroesen was an essential figure in the 1970s downtown New York performance milieu, working at the intersection of experimental music and then-emerging performance art.

Art Performance previously on at Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, United States.
From Friday 29 July 2016 to Sunday 31 July 2016

Jill Kroesen: Collecting Injustices, Unnecessary Suffering image

Published by anonymous on Friday 17 June 2016.
Contact the publisher.

After studying at Mills College with composer Robert Ashley, she embarked on a series of performances that defied categorization, such as Stanley Oil and His Mother: A Systems Portrait of the Western World (1977), The Original Lou and Walter Story (1978) and Excuse Me, I Feel Like Multiplying (1979). With these performances, she invented a space between structuralist theater, graphically-scored musical composition, and cabaret. In the words of performance critic Sally Banes, “condensing political events with soap opera plots and infantile rationalizations about the way the world works,” Kroesen’s “systems portraits,” as she came to call her works, manifested socioeconomic, sexual, and gender politics through funny, ramshackle, and chaotic performances. Coinciding with the Whitney’s collection exhibition Human Interest, Kroesen’s performance employs portraiture as a means of exploring power dynamics.

After an artistic hiatus of over thirty years, she returns this summer with a new show at the Whitney, Collecting Injustices, Unnecessary Suffering. This theatrical performance features original songs, dance, and the participation of many of her past collaborators—including Jared Bark who designs the show’s sculptural sets. In this new performance, Kroesen articulates, for herself and for her audience, an allegorical work which animates the structures of parenting, socialization, and control that shape individual lives and collective society.

Collecting Injustices, Unnecessary Suffering is organized by Jay Sanders, Engell Speyer Family Curator and Curator of Performance.