Jen Catron and Paul Outlaw are some of the most passionate performance artists we know, but they’re bored by most performance art.
“What’s the best thing about performance art?” Paul Outlaw quizzed me during a phone interview. “I don’t know. I left before it’s over.”
Given those feelings, it’s unsurprising that the two have made it their goal to make the most unboring performance art possible. Last we checked, the duo were getting sand in their American flag swimwear at Creative Time’s artist sandcastle competition. They won first prize for a whimsical entry: a fortress full of sunburned performers spitting at the passers-by.
A few months before that, we saw them at AFC’s own Art Fag City Rob Pruitt Art Awards and Auction* (Not affiliated with Rob Pruitt). They amazed everyone with their Bacchanalian food performance; gold-lame clad performers scaled ladders to pluck the ripest of gold-covered fruit and the greasiest of gold-covered pig. Catron and Outlaw excel in the business of decadent, gross, and shiny, and they do it for hours at a time.
For their opening this Wednesday at Allegra LaViola, Catron and Outlaw have decided to show just how painfully difficult it is to be them by attaching themselves to a large wheel that will continually dip them into a vat of golden liquid.
“We’re literally gilding ourselves with precious metals,” Jen Catron told me. “Our performances are a tongue-in-cheek way of saying we’re bored by the art world.”
Outlaw warned, though, that they’ve never tried out their homemade wheel. “There’s dangers involved, potential for death,” he added. “We could get stuck in the gears of the machine and drowning is a high potential.” Well, we sure hope that doesn’t happen.
There’s still fun-and-games with the exhibition, and another first for the duo will be their “rideable sculpture,” which will be up and running throughout the exhibition. They wouldn’t give me all the details, but Outlaw did say it would be like “riding a large chicken, specifically.”
Of course, a Catron and Outlaw show wouldn’t be complete without some spit: there will be human fountains. All they want, according to Outlaw, is to put on a “remarkably exciting extravaganza.” Sounds like they’ve already succeeded.