A Conversation with Sharon Hayes and Brooke O’Harra

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Arts Cafe

Kelly Writers House

A conversation with Sharon Hayes and Brooke O’Harra

Creative Ventures program

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

In 1999, Brooke O’Harra co-founded, with composer Brendan Connelly, the NYC-based The Theatre of a Two-headed Calf. The ensemble-driven company layers various theatrical styles, texts and musical forms for unexpected experiences such as the 1970s punk rock-inspired adaptation of the 18th-century, Chikamatsu play Drum of the Waves of Horikawa (OBIE Award, 2007), or the re-imagined take on chamber opera and motherhood, You, My Mother (2012). As part of the Dyke Division of Two-headed Calf, she conceived, directed, wrote, and performed the popular lesbian soap opera Room For Cream, (La Mama, 2008-2011). In addition to developing and directing all 14 of the Two-headed Calf productions, she is also a freelance director with multiple honors including a Doris Duke Performing Artists Impact Award in 2015. She recently developed a new musical with Lisa D’Amour and composer Brendan Connelly titled Jack Spicer’s Billy the Kid. Brooke is currently working on a nine-part performance project titled I’m Bleeding All Over the Place: Studies in Directing or Nine Encounters Between Me and You; the first three performances were developed at The New Museum, NYC in 2014. The fourth part I’m Bleeding All Over the Place: A Living History Tour will run as a performance tour for 12 days (fifty tours) in June 2016 at La Mama ETC. She also has an ongoing collaborative performance, Time Passes, with visual artist Sharon Hayes.

Sharon Hayes engages multiple mediums–video, performance, and installation–in ongoing investigation into specific intersections between history, politics and speech. These relationships are central to all of her work from the 2003 performance and video installation: Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) Screeds #13, 16, 20 & 29, a re-speaking of each of the four audio tapes made by Patty Hearst and the SLA during the period of Hearst’s kidnapping to her recent work Ricerche, a large-scale video investigation that steps off of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s brilliant film, Comizi d’Amore. Hayes’ work is concerned with developing new representational strategies that examine and interrogate the present political moment as a moment that reaches simultaneously backward and forward; a present moment that is never wholly its own but rather one that is full of multiple past moments and the speculations of multiple futures. From this ground, Hayes often addresses political events or movements from the 1960s through the 1990s. Her focus on the particular sphere of the near-past is influenced by the potent imbrication of private and public urgencies that she experienced in her own foundational encounters with feminism and AIDS activism. Hayes has had recent solo exhibitions at Andrea Rosen Gallery (New York), Tanya Leighton Gallery (Berlin), the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York) and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia (Madrid). Her work been shown at the Venice Biennale (2013), the Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Guggenheim Museum (New York) and numerous museums and venues in Europe and the Americas. Hayes is also a recipient of the Alpert Award in Visual Arts (2013), an Anonymous Was a Woman Award (2013), Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Fellowship (2007) among other awards.

She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Fine Arts, PennDesign, University of Pennsylvania.