For Art’s Sake, 2005-2007 public interventions
Erin Donnelly, Project Director
Celina Paiz, Project Coordinator
I modeled these actions after El Camino de Compostela in Spain, staging a series pilgrimages to seven museums in the New York metropolitan area. During my journeys, I carried a pilgrim’s credential that I asked museum directors or other cultural officials linked to the places that I visited to stamp and or sign.
For the first journey on March 20, 2005, I was heavily laden with donated art publications strapped to my back for a trip that took me from the heart of the world’s financial center in Lower Manhattan to East Harlem. El Museo del Barrio’s Director Julián Zugazagoitia commemorated the performance by signing the credential.
On the second pilgrimage on June 28 and 29, 2005, I forged my way walking backwards from Lower Manhattan Cultural Council to the Bronx Museum of the Arts, spending the night on a hard bed of art catalogues provided by Longwood Arts Project/Bronx Council on the Arts. The strenuous two-day journey came to an end when the Director of The Bronx Museum of the Arts, Olivia Georgia, officially greeted me at the door of the Museum and signed the credential.
During the third journey of the series on Sunday, December 4, 2005, I walked from LMCC to the Studio Museum in Harlem dressed in black and white raiment and wearing an iron crown embellished with seven admission buttons from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Upon arrival at the Studio Museum in Harlem, Director of Education and Public Programs Sandra Jackson lifted the crown off my shoulders and signed the credential, thus confirming that the journey was successfully completed.
For the fourth pilgrimage on February 2, 2006, I traveled by foot and ferry from the offices of LMCC to the Jersey City Museum, stopping at educational/cultural organizations along the route: an Episcopal church, an all-boys Catholic school and a public school, to spread the word about performance art and the penances that I have been undertaking. Upon my arrival at the Jersey City Museum, Marion Grzesiak, Executive Director, recorded her signature in the credential.
As part of the fifth penance on October 28, 2006, I traveled on my knees from the offices of LMCC to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) at Bowling Green. On this occasion I carried in my hands a piece of casabe, a type of bread prepared from the indigenous cassava root, thus transporting a legacy of the Caribbean Taíno culture to be presented as a gift to the host institution. Peter S. Brill, NMAI’s Assistant Director for Exhibitions, Public Programs and Public Spaces, signed the credential.
For the sixth penance on February 26 and 27, 2007, I journeyed from LMCC, to the Queens Museum of Art, stopping at several sites to give presentations entitled Seven Lives, through which I introduced my audiences to the works of seven consecrated performance artists. Tom Finkelpearl, the Executive Director of the Queens Museum, vouched for the completion of the pilgrimage by signing the credential.
For the seventh pilgrimage on October 26, 2007, I traveled by foot from the offices of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council near Wall Street, relying faithfully on verbal or written directions from passersby to help me reach my final destination: the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. Throughout this journey I refrained from attempting to self-direct the search in any way, and I was guided specifically by the goodwill of those whom I encountered along the route, and who answered my question: “Do you know how I get to the Lower East Side Tenement Museum?” My pilgrimage concluded with my arrival at the Museum, where the institution’s President, Ruth Abram recorded her signature in the credential with which I traveled.
For Art’s Sake is a devotional guide printed and bound at the Center for Book Arts (CBA) in an edition of one hundred. Concept, text, and illustrations by Nicolás Dumit Estévez. Page layout and letterpress printing by Amber McMillan. Text, handset Scotch Roman type, and illustrations, polymer plates, printed on Arches paper hand painted by CBA interns from a design by Ana Cordeiro. Pages bound with cotton velvet covers. Structure design and bookbinding supervision by Ana Cordeiro, based on a historical model taught by Pamela Spitzmueller. Aesthetic Credential letterpress printed and designed by Amber McMillan and Nicolás Dumit Estévez. Handset Scotch Roman type and polymer plates on handcut Fabriano Elle Erre paper (2006).
For Art’s Sake was presented as part of Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Workspace Residency Program and the Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance Art, and in collaboration with El Museo del Barrio, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, The Studio Museum in Harlem, The Jersey City Museum, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, Queens Museum, Longwood Arts Project/Bronx Council on the Arts, Local Project, Y Gallery, Steinway and Elmhurst Libraries in Queens, and the Center for Book Arts.
Funding for these pilgrimages have been provided by: The Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance Art (Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance Art is supported by Jerome Foundation and public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency); The Center for Book Arts; Lambent Fellowship Program of Tides Foundation; The National Association of Latino Arts and Culture; The Michael Richards Fund, a program of Lower Manhattan Cultural Council; The Center for Book Arts; The Urban Artist Initiative/NYC; and Queens Museum.
Special thanks to Dolores Zorreguieta, Martha Wilson, Sara Guerrero-Rippberger, Harley Spiller, David Hinkle, Geoffrey Jones, and Edwin Ramoran.