The Barnes project, Person of the Crowd, takes its name from an Edgar Allan Poe novel about the idea of flânerie, the art of strolling, idling, thinking and spending time generously alone on the streets or in the cafes watching (spying on?) others. This 19th Century concept has been turned on its head in a project that chronicles artist performances in the streets and cafes. The artists may be alone, watching the crowd, but they are more the watched than the watcher.
Ayana Evans is a perfect reverse-flåneur — a women (not envisioned in the 19th Century flåneur concept) and someone whose endurance performances are active, conceptual, aerobic and the opposite of idle.
I talked with the New York-based Ayana, a friendly young woman and Tyler MFA in painting, at the press preview for Person of the Crowd, and, among other things, she told me that her public, endurance-aerobic performances are not rehearsed (although she does hours of getting/staying in shape for the stairs-running, chairs-dipping, jumping-jacks jumping and other feats of endurance she performs for hours at a time in the public sphere.
The artist works in prominent locations (the Rocky steps, one time in NYC in the middle of a busy intersection). And she dresses, purposely, in the most “girlie girl,” non-athletic garb imaginable. She will wear the tiger-striped catsuit and black stiletto heels she wore at the press preview in her 10-hour Philadelphia performance on May 6 at locations all around town.
“I’m a feminist. My mom is a feminist,” she said, adding that feminist women were major influences on her thinking about being a woman and a black woman. Coco Fusco was someone who influenced her when she was at Temple, she said.
One part Wonder Woman, one part agent provocateur, find Ayana at these sites (below) on May 6, 2017, 10AM – 8PM, and join her May 10, 6-8PM, at the Barnes Foundation, where she will preside at the head of the table at a tea party, maybe a Mad Hatter’s version, I don’t know.
Locations for Ayana Evans’s performance, titled, “Throwing Hexes,” on Saturday, May 6, from 10AM – 8 PM. (Times are not set, and if there is a more specific itinerary I’ll post it in the News Post.
United for Christ Ministries, 628 N. 21st St.
Barnes Foundation outdoor fountain
Rocky steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
North Philadelphia private home
Pat’s and Geno’s Cheesesteaks in South Philly
9th St., Giordanos, Italian Market
Jim’s Cheesesteaks, 4th and South Sts.
9th and South St.
First Bank of the USA, 116 S. 3rd St.
Ritz Carlton lobby bar/restaurant, 10 S. Broad St.
Bellevue Hotel bar, 200 S. Broad St.
And on Sunday, May 7, Ayana will perform at Temple University, 11AM – noon