Paula Burleigh, visiting assistant professor of art, Allegheny College, and director of the Allegheny Art Gallery
In this talk, Paula Burleigh discusses Performance Anxiety, a recent exhibition at the Allegheny College Art Galleries, featuring sculpture, paintings, and digital animation by Eric D. Charlton, Taha Heydari, and Wednesday Kim. Performance anxiety describes fear of acting in front of a group, but in a culture that encourages constant performance of the self, the phrase becomes more complicated. We do not fear performance, we perform because of anxiety. On social media, for example, public performance of work and play merge to form curated personal lifestyle brands. This endless exhibition of the self generates communication without community: we are always broadcasting to one another, but the messages are too narcissistic to form meaningful bonds. This absence of community sparks feelings of isolation and, in turn, the desire for more attention. This insidious cycle has become all the more apparent during the pandemic, when we rely on digital platforms for work, learning, and play. While the first half of this talk explores art on view in Performance Anxiety, the second half looks more broadly at the art world during (and perhaps, after?) Covid-19, considering the ways in which artists have made work that respond to this time of upheaval and isolation, and how the pandemic may exert lasting impact on the art world.
$15 door fee for guests and subscribers (no fee for members)Learn More