Rolling Nap Snoozes into Spring
March 18, 2015
“Relax… Do Less… Save the Planet… It’s not easy,” so says Billy X. Curmano - as American Idle - in the “The 24-hour Worldwide Rolling Nap”. This, his latest multi-layered performance and environmental statement calls for a paradigm shift to a slower pace. Curmano will attempt to bed down March 19th at 7:33 a.m. Central Daylight Savings Time and awaken with the 2015 Spring Dawn - 7:33 a.m. March 20th.
Naps are personal, but the “How Do You Sleep?” installation will be open for visitation March 18 from 5 to 8 p.m. with a reception March 20 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Witoka Contemporary, 27979 County Road 17, Winona, MN USA. The elaborate installation demonstrates just how hard the artist finds slowing down. It includes a Bed of Nails with a Pillow and Blanket of Tiny Tacks. The red steel frame bed has 2,395 galvanized steel 3” roofing nails, the canvas blanket 2,766 galvanized steel ½” cut tacks and the pillow boasts 640 black steel ½” cut tacks. Don’t ask about the Teddy Bear or Kevlar pajamas.
Other extended performances from the award-winning artist have included a 40-day Death Valley Desert Fast, a 2,376.4-mile Mississippi River swim and thousands of miles touring on a Greyhound Bus. He’s posted a thought per day without fail since January 1, 2013 about climate disruption to his blog on this site for the “InClimate Project” which is under the auspices of Franklin Furnace (NY). His nap begins with “InClimate Post #808”.
Humans probably do the least damage to the environment when they sleep, but modern society knocks out naps, siestas and free time in exchange for dwindling rewards. If everyone worldwide turned off for just an hour each day for a year, the energy savings could be as much as 623,292,349.6 kWh.
The napping body stays put, but the hours roll around the globe. The Nap Manifesto at www.rollingnap.com invites visitors to join the movement with their own idle stories and images or simply by taking a nap.
“Nonsense wakes up the brain cells.” – Dr. Seuss
Greetings from the Misi-ziibi to Mespaeths
September 27, 2014
In the performance and environmental statement, “Swimmin’ the River”, I swam 2,367.4 miles from the source of the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico. My support crews and I became Ambassadors for Clean Water as we reclaimed the waterways for life affirming pursuits.
Cause all things connect to all things
Nothing stands by itself all alone
Our actions and reactions circulate in rings
With consequences often unknown*
Since that time, I have done water cleansing rituals mixing waters from day 1 of The Swim with waters around the globe. “Greetings from the Mississippi to the World’s Waterways” included the most distant one, “Greetings from the Mississippi to the Arctic Sea”.
I slipped over the fence and performed Greetings to the East River late night September 25 near the India Street Ferry Landing, Greenpoint, Brooklyn, New York. On September 26 we continued with a special case.
Mespaethes - Great Brook with Tide - Newtown Creek is an Environmental Protection Agency Super Fund Site in recovery. Warnings are still abundant. No swimming, recommended only for experienced boaters and do not touch the water. If you do, wash as soon as possible. Sculptor George Trakas designed a nature walk there and several native species have returned. Earlier, we had witnessed small fish, a crab and a gull bathing in the water.
I bring “Greetings from Misi-ziibi to Mespaethes” because waters unite to flow with waters. All are subject to the same laws.
*From “I Think on These Things” free download available in Music
Billy X. Performs From Within Climate Actions
August 28, 2014
Art Works USA NEWS RELEASE: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Franklin Furnace Alum and InClimate artist, Billy X. Curmano, joins with more than 100 organizations and thousands of people taking part in the People’s Climate March September 21st in New York City. The permit allows the climate marchers to take to the main thoroughfares of Manhattan just two days before President Obama and world leaders gather for an emergency Climate Summit at the United Nations. The NYPD approved route starts at Columbus Circle on Sunday at 11:30 am and continues on 59th Street then down 6th Avenue to 42nd Street and on to 11th Avenue.
Two dedicated trains and hundreds of buses will bring activists to New York from all over the country. There’s a site to aid with travel and housing in NYC: http://peoplesclimate.org/transportation
Over 750 organizations world-wide are participating both in and out of NYC with major marches and solidarity events that will make this the largest climate action in history. Talk is cheap. The people are united in a common theme that demands bold action, not just rhetoric, on climate change. In New Delhi, demonstrations begin the day before New York. Australia has marches across the continent with the biggest in Melbourne. Berlin, London and Paris all have major marches scheduled. The list goes on and includes Kathmandu, Rio, Sao Paulo, Jakarta, Dublin, Manila, Seoul, Mumbai and Istanbul. The climate action is anticipated to represent roughly 100 million people around the world.
In New York, participating organizations include the largest transit workers union, art, student, environmental and religious groups, indigenous peoples and a coalition of buddhist monks. A Peoples Climate Convergence runs from September 19-21 with speakers and teach-ins and a group of artists, Peoples Climate Art, occupied a Brooklyn warehouse to build objects and signage for the march.
InClimate artist, Billy X. Curmano, intends to blend with other activists and climate specialists at Chicago’s Union Station for a relatively low carbon footprint journey to NY aboard the San Francisco Peoples Climate Train. His daily climate thoughts posted continuously since January 1, 2013 to the blog at www.billyx.net will reach #624 in Chicago. The thoughts range with both good and bad climate news, innovations, what can be done, parables, fables and poetry which are then re-posted to the InClimate Facebook page. From within the Peoples Climate Actions, he will continue the posts along with pop-up live art performances and water rituals.
Water resources are changing along with the climate from too much - with sea level rise, storms and floods - to - too little with prolonged droughts and contamination. The abundance, absence and changing states of water are apparent in Billy X’s extreme environmental art trilogy. He fasted on only juice and water for 42 days in Death Valley as a comment on overconsumption and the absence of water. He traveled to the Arctic Circle on public transportation to experience its changing states. In aqua abundance, he swam 2,367.4-miles of the Mississippi River from its Minnesota Headwaters to the Gulf of Mexico as a performance and environmental statement. Signed and numbered vials with the “Father of Waters” will accompany the artist in rituals that honor water as the source of life.
InClimate: Climate Change Solutions, Awareness and Action confronts global warming through art by calling upon artists, in collaboration with climate change specialists, to find solutions and antidotes for mitigating or adapting to our world’s most catastrophic problem. Because of the complexity of the subject, each artist or artist team is consulting or collaborating with a climate change specialist from one of the sciences, law, economics, or another appropriate field. Partnering with community organizations, InClimate is going directly to underserved neighborhoods in three boroughs of New York City—including areas most vulnerable. Curator Regina Cornwell conceived and is organizing InClimate under the auspices of Franklin Furnace.
Futurisms Bastard Son at Boswell Book Co.
July 3, 2013
Billy X. Curmano returns to Milwaukee for the signing and release of his art/adventure book Futurism's Bastard Son at Boswell Book Company, 2559 N. Downer Avenue on August 13 at 7 p.m. The former Milwaukeean is an award winning artist, UWM alumni and combat wounded Vietnam Veteran. He was instrumental in organizing exhibitions at Milwaukee's Broadway Galleries and forming the Wisconsin Art Guild that brought alternative art festivals to Milwaukee, Madison and Manitowoc.
Futurism's Bastard Son is a kind of coffee table art book with an optional DVD that documents several decades of work from somewhat traditional objects to conceptual plans, performances and intimate musings often with a sly touch of humor. The birth of performance or "live" art is often placed at the feet of the Italian Futurists inspiring the title.
The book exposes both major and minor works. Curmano was once buried alive for three days in the internationally acclaimed Performance for the Dead. It was followed by a 10-year, 2,367.4-mile lengthwise Mississippi River swim as performance and environmental statement with re-creations in among other places the Milwaukee Art Museum. His search for what separates the masterpiece from the common piece included a 40-day Death Valley Desert Fast. His welded steal Vietnam War inspired sculpture, Tiger Cage on Wheels, was a familiar site around UWM and went on to exhibitions in Minneapolis and at the New Orleans Contemporary Art Center. There are plenty of odds and ends like Arbitrary Time Zones, In Case I should Ever Be Murdered and Live Art for cows and other under-served audiences.
Futurism's Bastard Son was published by Mark Pezinger Verlag – Vienna and released in Kassel, Germany parallel to the international art exposition Documenta 13. The US release followed at the Museum of Modern Art's New York Art Book Fair. It's an artist's life as art in 164 black and white images, poetry and text on 115-gram Munken Lynx paper with stitched thread binding and French Flap covers designed by Astrid Seme. The hard copy is relatively guilt free. Curmano spent several years as a tree planter.
The optional DVD, with original score, includes a singular moment from each day of the Death Valley Desert Fast, scenes from the live burial, a short clip in which the Earth Speaks - literally - and the Henry Hampton award winning documentary Swimming the Mississippi.
Barbatus Joins Art Works USA
April 29, 2013
The Terra Linguistic Institute of Art Works USA is pleased to announce the addition to the staff of noted Professor, scientist and planetarian Dianthus Barbatus. His work translating warnings and environmental messages from Mother Earth were first immortalized in the video short, "Earth Speaks".
He's been quoted as saying, "As I witness what has been happening to our planet, our space craft and dear Mother Earth, primarily because of ignorance and greed from my own species, I have become much more of a planetarian than humanitarian."
Welcome home Professor Barbatus.
Earth Speaks http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URMeBd2qe_A
Mark Pezinger Verlag Adopts "A"
April 15, 2013
Mark Pezinger Verlag presents Adoptives.
Our new category, "Adoptives", is a selection of artists` books that have already been published or self-published, but are not available or accessible anymore. We have adopted at least some of these rare or forgotten works in our program to make them visible again.
For further information www.markpezinger.de/adoptives.html
Adoptive 1: Billy X. Curmano, A volume 1#1
"A volume 1 #1" was an experiment. Each contributor was given total artistic freedom within the technical and budgetary limitations of the print format available to us in 1973. The Franklin Speed Press was not exceptionally speedy. It consisted of a single pressman that had access to a commercial print shop after hours. "A volume 1 #1" was collated and center stapled one by one by hand. Although I was somewhat pleased with the results, I had originally hoped to produce an alphabet of the volumes, A, B, C and so on and on. But then I realized, at least for the moment, I was satisfied. I came to my senses and moved on. (Billy X. Curmano, January 2013)
24 pp., b/w, letter format, published in 1973, Milwaukee, USA, Edition of 350 or 500 copies, 50 copies left, 25€
February 8, 2013
I'm in NYC for another doozy of a storm. Internet in my room is down. I'll have to walk to keep that InClimate promise of a thought on Climate Change per day.
Works on Water
November 9, 2012
I'm in Berkeley enjoying life between here and San Francisco before the reception in Novato for Works on Water at the Marin Community Foundation. There are seven images from Swimming the Mississippi included in the exhibition of artists concerned with water issues. Glad to be among them. I haven't been to Frisco in years and decided this was the time to stop by.
NY Art Book Fair MOMA, P.S. 1
October 5, 2012
I just returned from the U.S. release of "Futurism's Bastard Son" at the Museum of Modern Art, P.S. 1, New York Art Book Fair. The publisher sold out the editions they had on hand and I delivered a few more copies. Things went well. Books are now in some select venues in Europe and NYC. We're working on wider U.S. distribution, but until then, send your checks $38.50 (Book $30 plus $8.50 s/h) to Art Works USA (MN residents add sales tax) or go to the publisher's site at the links page.
Futurism's Bastard Son Available Now
September 10, 2012
Go to Objects Page to see how you can be the first on your block with this landmark edition.
"Futurism's Bastard Son" documents several decades of eccentric work from somewhat traditional objects to conceptual plans and live art. It includes 3-days buried alive, a lengthwise Mississippi River swim as performance and environmental statement, 40-day Death Valley Desert Fast and performances for cows and other under-served audiences.
Published by Mark Pezinger Verlag – Vienna and released in Kassel, Germany parallel to Documenta, August, 2012. The US release is at the Museum Of Modern Art, P.S. 1, during the “New York Art Book Fair” - September 27-30.
The publisher and I chose quality over quantity, with a good paper, Munken Lynx, and stitched thread binding. (Pages: 115 grams Cover: 300 grams) It’s an artist’s life as art in 128 letter size pages with 164 black and white images and French Flap Covers. The text is in English from multiple sources including my own words. Design: Astrid Seme.
A collectors Edition of 50 copies includes a signed and numbered hand stamped folder with an artist altered world map showing the Mississippi River swim.
The publisher and designer contacted me after a performance in Vienna. I gave them access to my files. They did additional research and produced the volume. They used my three major works from “The Search DVD”, the Mississippi River swim, Death Valley desert fast and Three-day live burial, as pillars to build the book around, but it includes so much more from early works to the present.
Go to Objects Page to see how you can be the first on your block with this landmark edition.
Futurism's Bastard Son
July 30, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Publication of BILLY X. CURMANO FUTURISM’S BASTARD SON
Mark Pezinger Verlag announces the publication and European release of Billy X. Curmano Futurism’s Bastard Son at Kunstverein Kassel parallel to the international art exposition Documenta in Kassel, Germany, August 8, 2012. The U.S. release is scheduled for the New York Art Book Fair, Museum of Modern Art, P.S. 1, Long Island City, September 27, 2012. Curmano will perform at both receptions
During the life of an artist countless photos are taken, numerous videos are shot and plenty of text is written. In the case of a performance artist this material is even more extensive and also more important, because it provides witness to past events. Futurism’s Bastard Son documents selected major and minor works spanning several decades of output from this very eccentric Italian-American artist, who in addition to producing traditional objects has been buried alive, swam the length of the Mississippi River and often performs for cows and other under-served audiences in what is sometimes referred to as “Performance or Live Art”. Art historians often place the birth of this form with the Italian Futurists.
The World Wide Web allowed artist publisher Thomas Geiger and graphic designer Astrid Semme free access to Curmano’s archives. With his cooperation, a transatlantic collaboration evolved and resulted in Billy X. Curmano Futurism’s Bastard Son. It tells of an artist’s life as art in 128 pages with text from multiple sources and 164 black and white images. The text was culled from the artist’s own writings and project plans, lyrics, video transcriptions, reviews, articles and exhibition catalogs. The volume is letter sized with stitched binding and French flaps on both covers. An artist’s edition of fifty copies includes a signed and numbered artist-altered world map from Swimming the Mississippi.
He’s the only human being in recorded history to claim the distinction of swimming the entire length of the Mississippi River. He was buried alive for three days in a much ballyhooed effort to bring art to the spirit world that included a New Orleans-style funeral complete with Christlike resurrection. He once imprisoned himself in a tiger cage to protest the inhumane treatment of POWs in Vietnam. Maverick? Eccentric? Full-blown madman? Billy X. Curmano will be delighted to let you decide. - Mary Beth Crain, LA Weekly, 1999
Editing: Billy X. Curmano, Thomas Geiger, Astrid Seme
Graphic Design: Astrid Seme
22 × 28 cm, 128 p., stitched binding, edition: 500, 24 €
Paper: Munken Lynx
Cover: 300 grams Pages: 115 grams
Artist edition: 50 / 500, includes a drawing by the artist
In honour of this occasion we would like invite you to our exhibition at the Kasseler Kunstverein where Billy X. Curmano performs during the opening night:
Mark Pezinger Verlag
reading disorders thinking out loud
August 8th - 20th
August 8th, 8pm: Live Performance by Billy X. Curmano
August 10th, 8pm: Discussion with Billy X. Curmano, Astrid Seme, and Thomas Geiger about Futurism's Bastard Son and the double-edged relation between performance art and its documentation.
Soul Fire 4 the Gulf
April 27, 2012
I recently returned from Soul Fire 4 the Gulf, a healing ceremony inspired by New Orleans Medicine Person and Musician Dr. John. For the uninformed, he’s a 60‘s music legend whose latest album, “Locked Down”, has been referred to as “inspired voodoo-gumbo jazz funk” with a top rating in “Rolling Stone”.
Soul Fire was a heartfelt and almost indescribable experience. In Solidarity and Support of Dr. John’s vision, Turtle Women Rising and the tribal communities of Isle de Jean Charles, Pointe aux Chien, the Dulac Bands of the Biloxi, Chitimacha, Choctaw and the Atakapa Ishak Tribe joined in unity to welcome the Grandmothers, Elders and People of All Nations to support a Stand For The Earth in Mandeville and New Orleans, Louisiana.
On Monday April 16 the ceremonial fire, drums and songs began a 3-day, 24-hour continual sacred prayer of healing from an encampment at Fontainebleau State Park near Mandeville, LA-“for the Land, the Waters, the Critters and the People of the Gulf.” On Friday, the drum circle and ceremony moved to New Orleans and a traditional second line to the Mississippi River.
Personally, I was honored to be invited. I participated in the drumming, dancing, songs and prayers and performed water ceremonies with the ocean harp at the encampment and afterwards in the second line at the New Orleans River Front. I walked the perimeter, explored Bayou Cane, a grandmother tree and ancient mounds. I spoke with alligators, frogs and other creatures and met many new friends. I even became a reluctant truck driver running gear from Mandeville to New Orleans in a rented 17-footer. I played a final show with some Soul Fire Folks at Snake and Jakes Christmas Club Lounge on Oak Street before a sleepless night and way early morning flight back to Minnesota.
There were brief moments with grandma Margaret and other elders, time with Imani and Bellavia and a nice walk with Dr. John when he asked about my water harp and said – “That’s some hip shit.”
Billy X Proclamation NADD
February 27, 2012
NATIONAL ARTIST DINNER DAY (NADD)
" Take an Artist Out to Dinner Day"
or in exception
"Bring Them Home to a Lavish Feast Day"
Whereas: I, Billy X Curmano, doth hereby and with out prejudice proclaim myself "Artist of the year for 2012"
Whereas: I, Billy X Curmano, have accepted the aforesaid mantle "2012 Artist of the Year" and thereby assuming all the solemn duties, honors and responsibilities that are encumbered in said title.
Whereas: The aforesaid mantle carries the solemn and austere responsibility of occasional proclamations, diatribes and pronouncements concerning the arts and the state of said arts therein
Whereas: American culture beatifies, and thus esteems said art with its storage, valuation, and display in what are held to be deemed the "New Cathedrals" while the artist as creator of said art rarely earns more than a modest living from their afore mentioned art
Whereas: The words "Starving" and "Artist" are unfortunately, oft times joined and co-opted in so called "Starving Artist Shows" for execution of the sale of mass produced consumer items passed off to an unknowing and unsuspecting public as fine art
Whereas: The 2012 Artist of the year here-to-for proclaims the first Wednesday of each month be deemed " Take an artist out to dinner day" or in exception "bring them home to a lavish feast day".
This proclamation is there by witnessed and a judged viable and in effect from this day and to the expiration of my term as 2012 artist of the year and beyond.
On this date, February 24, 2012, at this hour 17:47 Pacific Standard Time, I, Billy X. Curmano, "2012 Artist of the Year", do hereby with intent affix sign, validate and witness this proclamation.
Billy X. Curmano, "2012 Artist of the Year"
February 24, 2012
Addendum: For the purposes of this document, the term artist shall be understood to refer to all art workers in the visual, literary and performing arts.
Artist of the Year Billy X Ejected
February 27, 2012
A security team at the Los Angeles Convention Center ejected self-appointed "2012 Artist of the Year" Billy X. Curmano from the Book and Trade Fair of the College Art Association 100th Annual Conference while he was attempting to deliver his first official proclamation meant to establish the first Wednesday of each and every month, "Take an Artist Out to Dinner Day" or in exception "Bring them Home to a Lavish Feast Day". The College Art Association (CAA) Annual Conference was chosen as the venue for this bold proclamation because of its prominence as the world's largest forum for the visual arts and Mr. Curmano's long standing with the organization.
In the traditions of Art, Dada, Fluxus and the Italian Futurists, Mr. Curmano attempted to present the document during an "Unauthorized Reception" with the assistance of the Reverend Doctor Kenneth Patrick Payne. Rules will be rules and institutional bureaucracy interrupted (or became part of) the Live Art attempt at the academic gathering. After brief negotiations, Paul Skiff, assistant director for the annual conference, agreed to announce the continuation of Mr. Curmano's performance at the Lobby Court Bar of the conference headquarters hotel in exchange for a quiet and peaceful resolution. The artists were willingly escorted from the hall without further incident and reestablished the performance with a more subdued tone at the new location.
After a brief introduction, the "Take an Artist Out to Dinner Day" or in exception "Bring them Home to a Lavish Feast Day" proclamation was read, witnessed and signed with assurances it's content would be widely dispersed. The somewhat wordy title is sometimes simply shortened to National Artists Dinner Day or NADD and is meant to include all artists, art workers and arty types in the visual, literary and performing arts.
Mr. Curmano has been recognized for these kinds of activities in the past. In fact, the College Art Association collected documentation from his unauthorized work, "The Homeless Hilton; N.Y., N.Y., performed at the CAA 1990 Annual Conference in New York City for their official archive. He has also volunteered his writing to the CAA Art Journal and his expertise as a panelist for the organization. Reached for comment a slightly miffed Curmano said, "See if I ever give these guys another free unauthorized performance."
About That Artist of The Year
January 4, 2012
I awoke elated as "2012 Artist of the Year" (Please See: Entry 12/30/2011), but as the tremendous responsibility became ever more clear I sunk once again into a depression - so much so - that I decided to put the coroner on speed dial.
Billy X. Named Artist of the Year
December 30, 2011
In a highly unorthodox move, Minnesota artist Billy X. Curmano has named himself "2012 Artist of the Year" and not just in Minnesota but in the whole world wide world (wwww). The announcement was made in January, but because of the artist's busy schedule the award ceremony will be held much later in the year. Unlike similar "of the year" awards, this one avoids the long wait and jump starts 2012. The distinction of this prestigious award and honorary title is augmented with a $100,000 cash component he plans to pay himself over numerous monthly installments.
Reached for comment in New York City, artist and Franklin Furnace founding director, Martha Wilson was quoted as saying, " Billy Curmano is a world-class artist whose work Franklin Furnace has presented and produced four times: On February 26, 1988 he performed “Performance Pod” in our performance space; on February 14, 1990 at the Hilton Hotel in mid-town Manhattan he performed “Homeless Hilton”; on July 23, 1997 Franklin Furnace screened “Swimming the Mississippi,” documentation of his decade-long effort to swim the entire length of the Mississippi River; and on October 29, 1999 we netcast this videotape to a worldwide audience through a collaboration with Pseudo Programs, Inc. Franklin Furnace’s artists are selected by peer review panels from among hundreds of proposals received each year from around the world, a testament to how important the artworld feels his work to be. I think it is only fitting that be he selected as “Artist of the Year.”
Samples of some of these works can be experienced at the artists web address http://www.billyx.net The former Milwaukeean moved to an isolated farmhouse in the Minnesota outback to develop what he hoped would be a singular style unaffected by the whims and trends of the art world. Circumstances have returned him to a slightly larger community in Witoka. When contacted at his rural studio for this announcement, Curmano was apparently unaware he was even being considered for the award. He simply stated, "I'm truly humbled by this totally unexpected honor. There are so many more deserving artists whole world wide (www)."
PANik 3 Vienna
December 27, 2011
The Performance Art Network (PAN) in Vienna featured Billy (USA) along with Katrin Herznern (Germany), Julia Klarig and Andrea Salzman (Austria), UpStage (New Zealand) and Pascale Grau (Switzerland) in PANik3, an evening of work intended "to transact aspects of documentation". The players had a full house that remained well into the evening discussing art theory. Maybe it's the water.
When he brings his works into formal spaces, Billy often refers to it as documenting performance in performance - or as the Viennese program noted, "Here the term 'live' and 'not-live' is disputable from scratch. For Billy X. Curmano art equals life. His performances mostly happen on imponderable terrain. In order to reach a live audience, he translates the past event for and on another stage." - Veronika Merklein.
The PANik 3 performance also led to a new project with a Viennese Publishing House for experimental artists' books. It will be a 3-way collaboration between Billy, artist/publisher Thomas Geiger and artist/designer Astrid Seme. The publisher's stated intent is to show the breadth and diversity of Billy's work from performance, painting and sculpture to video, post cards and even T-shirts, to a "younger, European audience". The 3 already have a drop box on the web to share work and ideas. After the European publication the files may be used to publish an American version.
Vienna/Wien - Wasser/Water
September 14, 2011
Vom Wasserüberfluss zum Wassermangel und den verschiedenen Aggregatszuständen des Wassers mischt "Wasser" Videoabschnitte, live Musik,”Performance Tricks” und Tagebucheintragungen von Extremprojekten in der Umwelt, welche die fast obsessive und manchmal sehr gefährliche Verbindung mit dem Wasser, unserer wertvollsten Resource, betont.
Describe your performance shortly
From the abundance of water to its absence and changing states, "Water" mixes video footage, live music, performance tricks and journal entries from extreme projects in the environment that illuminate one artist's almost obsessive and sometimes quite dangerous connection with water, our most precious resource.
Paragraph über Ihre Arbeit
Oft malen Künstler ihre Phantasien - ich aber versuche meine Phantasien zu leben. Ich tue dies, indem ich Kunstabenteuer an einsamen Orten arrangiere.
Ich erschaffe diese Vorstellungen der live art neu in den Darbietungsräumen und erreiche so mehr Publikum - Eine Performance der Performance. (Eine Aufführung der Aufführung).
One statement about your work
Artists often paint fantasies. I've tried to live mine through performance art adventures frequently in remote locations. I re-create these fantasies and expand the audience through live art events in formal spaces that document performance in performance.
Paragraph über das Thema Performance und Dokumentation
Live art ist oft diffus und schwer zu erfassen und schwer zu verstehen, wenn man nicht dabei sein kann. Das dokumentarische Festhalten der Vorstellung während der Darbietung/Aufführung macht einen neuen live art "Moment" möglich, der eigentlich schon einmal statt gefunden hat und jetzt neu erschaffen und lebendig wird, und so wieder zu einem neuen Moment wird, zu einem neuen Erlebnis im Moment. Am Ende sind dies alles nur eingeritzte Spuren, um zu beweisen, dass wir existieren.
One statement about the topic of performance and documentation
Live art is often elusive and difficult to fully appreciate without actually witnessing it during performance. Documenting performance in performance creates a new live art moment that illuminates a previous point in time while becoming simply another point in time. In the end, it is all just tracks scratched to prove we exist.
Seite 3 Neue Uebersetzung
"Swimming the River" (Durchchwimmen des Flusses)
"Swimming the River" war ein ueber 10 Jahre andauerndes, 3809.96 Kilometer langes Durchschwimmen des Mississippi - von der Quelle bis zum Golf von Mexiko - sowohl als Performance als auch um Aufmerksamkeit auf die Verschmutzung des Wassers und der Umwelt im allgemeinen zu lenken. Nationen zeigen ihre Eroberungern indem sie ihre Flaggen aufstellen. Ich aber wollte den Mississippi zurueckerobern zu seiner lebensbejahenden Bestimmung,
indem ich die ganze Laenge unter dem Banner der Kunst durchschwamm.
“Swimming the River” was a ten year, 3,809.96-kilometer swim from the source of the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico as both performance and environmental statement. Nations have claimed territory by posting flags. I wanted to re-claim the Mississippi for life-affirming pursuits by swimming its length under the banner of art.
Das Zen von einem muehsamen Schwimmzug zum nächsten, teilte den Nordamerikanischen Kontinent in gleich verblassenden Pinselstrichen in welcher sich eine einzige Form (die meines Koerpers) immer wieder, in der sich staendig veraendernden Landschaft, wiederholte. (Eine sich staendige aendernde Leinwand - die Schwimmzuege die Pinselstriche die sofort verschwinden) Die Zerbrechlichkeit der menschlichen Form im Kontrast zu den Naturgewalten und den Schifffahrtswegen veranlasste viele Zuschauer sich entlang des Ufers zu versammeln, von Bruecken zuzuschauen und in Booten und Kanus dem Schwimmer streckenweise auf dem Wasser zu folgen - wie eine Art Pilgerreise, die die Zuschauer durch oft entlegene und schwer erreichbare Gegenden fuehrte.
The Zen of stroke after tedious stroke bisected the continent with impermanent brush like strokes that followed a single form (My body) repeated through an ever-changing landscape. The fragility of the human form contrasted by the powers of nature and shipping lanes compelled audiences to line riverbanks, watch from bridges and follow by boat in a kind of art pilgrimage through often remote locations.
Gegenstaende und Eindrücke auf elektronische Medien gebannt, im Verlaufe des Schwimmens gesammelt und erstellt, wurden und werden waehrend der Perfromances und Ausstellungen immer wieder genutzt und eingesetzt, um mehr Publikum zu erreichen, den Geist zu erweitern und so das Abenteuer vom Ufer des Mississippi in die leichter erreichbaren Auditorien zu bringen.
“Objects and electronic media collected and created in the course of a swim” were then used in performances and exhibitions to expand the audience and bring the spirit of adventure from the banks of the Mississippi River to more accessible formal spaces.
Billy X to Vienna
August 16, 2011
I've been selected to perform a solo work based on my "Water Trilogy" for "PANik 3 Performance as Documentation" on Sept. 26 at the Depot in Vienna, Austria.
It's especially sweet because - way, way back - my paintings were selected by an international jury to be among those representing the USA in the III Vienna Graphikbiennale. I was honored and flew off to Europe. As a young pup, I wanted to see everything. I traveled around and - it's a long story, but suffice to say I ended up in Vienna a day late for the opening. I bet I'll get there on time - this time. If you have any Euro contacts that may be interested in my work - let me know.
"PANik 3 Performance as Documentation" also includes: Julia Klaring/Andrea Salzman (Austria), Katrin Herzner (Germany), Upstage (New Zealand) and Pascale Grau (Switzerland).
DVD Release & Poppa Neutrino Memorial
February 25, 2011
The release of Billy X Curmano's 3 major works onto a feature length DVD - Live Art - "THE SEARCH" will be celebrated at Ed's No Name Bar, Franklin and Third Streets in downtown Winona, MN - March 5th beginning with a screening at 8 p.m. and followed by and evening with the New X Art Ensemble. The gathering will include a memorial for former band mate and trans-atlantic adventurer Poppa Neutrino also known as William David Pearlman. New Xer's, Steve Smith and Billy X., journeyed to New Orleans for Poppa's second line and returned from the jazz funeral with a few more stories, images and items to share. Appropriately, Poppa Neutrino recorded "The River Meets the Sea" with New X during his days in Winona. It was inspired by adventures that included his Atlantic Ocean crossing on a raft made from scrap materials and Billy's swim from the source of the Mississippi River at Lake Itasca, MN to the Gulf of Mexico.
Live Art "THE SEARCH" on DVD
February 10, 2011
Announcing the release of Billy X Curmano's: Live Art "THE SEARCH" on DVD. Sales and 2 Min. Trailer available online at:
My DVD's have usually been released as handmade one-offs with a price tag to match. The Search is a compilation disc with 3 major works - the 2,367.4-mile Mississippi River Swim, 40-day Death Valley Desert Fast and 3-day live burial - replicated in larger quantities to make them more accessible.
A camera exposes the rough edges of "life as art" through extreme performances in the environment while searching for that indefinable quality that separates the masterpiece from everyday art. With a nod to Kandinsky, the DVD is subtitled "The Search for the Spiritual in Art". It is more about art, a vision quest or warrior's journey than religion. It is archived by the Museum of Modern Art Library in NYC and other prestigious collections.
As a bonus, "The Search" replaces the traditional short sound loop on standard menu pages with a complete composition from Threat Level 3's "Orange Alert". Don't worry you can still start whenever you like, but when you pop in a disc and have to wait for folks to settle in - you'll have a relaxing jazz interlude. A short translation of a missive from Mother Earth by The Terralinquistic Institute of Art Works USA follows the final credits. There's an original score throughout and an eco-friendly package design in collaboration with John O'Hara. A huge assortment of volunteer artists, musicians and ambassadors for art and the environment fill out the cast and crew.
The compilation includes:
PERFORMANCE FOR THE DEAD (14 Min.) The artist spent the last 3 days of a 7-day fast buried alive in absolute darkness seeking visions and hints of the other side. What was performed for the dead is left to the imagination, but elaborate trappings for the live audience included a New Orleans style Jazz Funeral.
SWIMMING THE MISSISSIPPI (29 Min.) a 2,367.4-mile Mississippi River swim from its source at Lake Itasca, Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico, a distance of about 30% of the earth's equatorial diameter. The Swim was never intended to be an athletic event, but rather - an intermix of art and life expressing an ecological imperative. It teetered between the Zen of stroke after tedious stroke and near death emergencies to the humor and absurdity of performance sculpture like the "X3C Polluted Water Wear" making a serious statement about water quality. The documentation was awarded the Henry Hampton Award for Excellence in Film & Digital Media.
DEATH VALLEY DESERT CLASSIC (42 Min. 22 Sec.) Still searching, Billy X. abandoned the traditional storyboard and limited recording to just a singular moment from each 24 hours of a 40-day desert fast in the extremes of Death Valley. The 40 some minutes in 40 days premiered in Los Angeles without the benefit of editing. A fasting body and brain, the environment, creatures, visitors - the forces of the valley... and of the spirit - directed the taping to create the third leg of this fine art trilogy.
Contains: Brief Nudity (Don't worry, Not Billy)
How to order:
$25.00 per copy includes shipping and handling
Double the money
and we'll double the offer
And we'll send two copies
But that's not all - "Orange Alert" from Threat Level 3 (regularly $15.00) will be included absolutely FREE with double orders.
Send check or money order payable to:
Art Works USA
27979 County Road 17
Winona, MN 55987
(Taxes/shipping etc. included)
THE SEARCH is also available online from:
In Winona, MN - Available at the Minnesota Marine Art Museum and Blue Heron Gallery.
For serious collectors, the first 100 copies have been hand signed and numbered by the artist and are available for $125 each.
Outlaw art: Purchase of this DVD could be a wise decision. Segments were shot clandestinely and without proper authorization. It could one day be pulled from the market and become extremely rare and valuable.
Amused journalists have dubbed him, "The Court Jester of Southeastern Minnesota" with comparisons to P.T. Barnum, Andy Warhol and Marcel Duchamp.
Poppa Sails On
January 30, 2011
My dear friend and collaborator Poppa Neutrino passed away on January 23. A jazz funeral is planned for him on Bourbon St. - Probably Feb. 19. I thought you may want to know.
New X will dedicate our next weekly session to his loving memory (Thurs. Feb 3).
Here's just a couple of sites that speak of his work:
January 25, 2011
I'll be returning to my roots with a silly performance piece, "Frozed Up", for the Frozen River Film Festival Fringe Friday this week. I've been in the deep freeze of a kind of hard MN winter and busy, busy with a new DVD release to be announced very soon - after I defrost.
Billy X Incidental Music/MAEP Annual Meeting
October 27, 2010
I'll be playing electric dulcimer to help open the annual meeting of the Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts on Oct. 30. I've been an elected artists' panel member for the last two years choosing exhibitions and trying to keep this great program running smoothly. It's the only program of its kind in a major museum in the United States. It has two dedicated galleries within the institution that are totally curated by artists selected from the MN arts community. It will be bitter sweet attending my last meeting as a panelist. MN artists come out and vote for the new panel 10:00 a.m. Saturday.
Walking the Woods
October 12, 2010
It always saddens me as the weather makes swimming in rivers, lakes and streams more of an ordeal than a great pleasure. Then, I usually resort to satisfying my call of the wild impulses with walks in the woods. Sometimes I just start out walking in whatever direction I choose. When I tire, I backtrack. I spend the day or night trying to interact with creatures I meet. The last few days I've explored in a couple of directions from my home, as well as with side trips to The Great Bluffs and Whitewater State Parks. It offers a grand feeling of renewal and makes me wonder why we think we can divide the earth into parcels, states and even countries.