Bleeding for Art, Gangsta-Style:
The untitled performance that Tameka Norris staged at the Studio Museum in Harlem last night was painful for the artist, and for the audience.
For the piece, the artist cuts her tongue with one stroke of a knife blade. In a movement painterly and dancerly, she drags her tongue across the wall, using it as a brush and using saliva and blood as her paint.
The work, part of the Performa Biennial, is in Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art, a groundbreaking exhibition that’s being shared by the Studio Museum and NYU’s Grey Art Gallery.
Norris created the work, in part, as a reaction to a professor’s criticism that she “did not paint” as an MFA student at Yale.
Although the artist read no manifesto, curator Valerie Cassel Oliver writes in the catalogue, “it was clear that she was challenging the practice of painting, the art academy, and the canon of art history, and she was doing so gangsta-style.”