July 7 - August 5, 2017

The exhibition, Care, A Performance uses choreography as a lens to think through questions of mobility and access in works made by artists with disabilities, chronic illness or entanglements with the medical industrial complex. The exhibition expands ideas of mobility to encompass physical capacity, navigating bureaucracies and maneuvering through social space to posit how the disabled body might move differently through institutions that are disabling. 



One group of artists make work that speaks to the ways in which illness is social and not individual and the interdependencies built in support networks. Stuart Horodner’s Dependency Project was conceptualized in response to Hordoner’s then-role of caregiver for an aging family member. This endurance performance became a practice in knowing one’s needs and articulating them to another, asking for and receiving help for acts often taken for granted, including going to the bathroom, eating, bathing and moving through the world. Park McArthur’s Carried and Held is a list over over 250 people that formally acknowledges family, friends, nurses and strangers who have physically carried the artist during her daily maneuvering. Constantina Zavitsanos’s Specific Objects, riffs on Judd’s essay of the same name by presenting the handrails used to make bathrooms accessible in an affectation of the Minimalist’s stacked pieces. Zatvisanos and McArthur’s Score for Before is a set of instructions for accompanying a person who moves through the world in a wheelchair. Pepe Espaliú performance Carrying involved friends who carried the artist as a physical reality and a symbol of support.



Another group of artist work with the objects that help us navigate and move through the world. Sarah Sudhoff’s photographs of the metal implants left behind after a body has been cremated speaks to the the residual histories of these objects and highlight the unique markings left on its surface by both the body and the cremation process. Precarity is a theme of Tilt, a video/ sculptural performance by Harriet Sanderson, in which the four legs of a chair are balanced and propped up by four walking canes. Carmen Papalia’s Long Cane is a walking cane for the blind that has been adapted into a performance object eight times the length of a standard-issue cane. Gabriela Salazar reorganizes the logic of the hand rail into an eccentric sculpture. Lynne McCabe of Houston will update her 2008 work Building a platform to support my weight, a set of instructions written by fellow artists and documentation of the artist attempting to enact the build the title platform, with a consideration of how Rheumatoid Arthritis has since changed her mobility.

A group of Kansas City artists have been added to the exhibition for its presentation in Kansas City. Kansas City artist Samara Umbral’s painting Face is a large-scale recreation of the estimate she received from a plastic surgeon to feminize her facial features during the transition process. Hadley Clark creates a new work using the medical gowns she has been collecting from visits to the doctor’s office for examinations. Fiber artist E.K. Harrison uses a diverse range of materials and processes like felting, sewing, weaving, and natural dyeing to visualize Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, an “invisible illness,” as it is nearly unnoticeable at a glance.


In video and performance former Kansas City resident Ben Gould transforming the spasms caused by his Tourette’s Syndrome into dance and exercise. Developed through her dance practice, Valentina Desideri’s Fake Therapy Cards engage visitors in a game of “curing” each other through directives that encourage presence between people. In a series of videos, Baltimore-based artist Jaimes Mayhew and curator Risa Puleo perform quack healing therapies, including Primal Screaming, of the new age movement to embody ideas of care in the artist/curator relationship. Carolyn Lieba Francois-Lazard navigates her maneuverings through bureaucracies of care, including the tedium of being on hold while on the phone with an insurance company and the waiting time of the doctor’s office.


The word “curator,” comes from the Latin “to care for,” and historically has directed that care to objects held within a museum collection. Kansas City artist Megan Pobywajlo in collaboration with Olivia Clayton extends this definition to an art community in her work as an activist working towards getting a health care plan for Kansas City artists. Pobywajlo has designed a series of public programs that connect Kansas City’s art community to health care professionals and insurance providers, activating the exhibition’s themes and addressing the current national debates about health care at the local level.


Care, A Performance was workshopped as a Rehearsal at Roots & Culture, Chicago in August, 2016 and will travel to Sala Diaz in San Antonio this October. At La Esquina, Kansas City artists Hadley Clark, E.K. Harrison, Megan Pobywajlo, and Samara Umbral join the roster of artists.


For photos of the event, check out our flickr.


Hadley Clark (Kansas City), Valentina Desideri (Amsterdam), Pepe Espaliú (1955-1993),
Ben Gould (New York City), E.K. Harrison (Kansas City), Stuart Horodner (Lexington, KY),
Carolyn Lazard (Philadelphia), Jaimes Mayhew (Baltimore), Park McArthur (New York City),
Lynne McCabe (Houston), Carmen Papalia (Vancouver), Megan Pobywajlo and Olivia Clanton (Kansas City), Harriet Sanderson (2017), Gabriela Salazar (Brooklyn), Sarah Sudhoff (Houston), Samara Umbral (Kansas City), Constantina Zavitsanos (Brooklyn)


About the curator: Risa Puleo is an independent curator and critic. She is currently working on exhibitions that will be presented at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston; Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, Omaha; Charlotte Street Foundation; Kansas City, ArtPace, San Antonio, and the Leslie-Lohman Museum in New York City. Puleo has Master’s degrees from the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College and Hunter College’s art history program. She has written for Art in America, Art Papers, Art 21, Asia Art Pacific,, Modern Painters and other art publications. She is currently the inaugural curator-in-residence at Bemis Center for Contemporary Art in Omaha.


Public Programs:

July 7: Opening Night Performance
Ben Gould, formerly of Kansas City, currently based in New York City, will perform In Ballast, a new work in which the artist’s uncontrollable movements are transformed through a process of resistance and stabilization. These variables activate and unearth new manifestations of movement in an effort to prolong a state of stillness, creating a dance that is both visceral and tender. In Ballast will be performed periodically throughout the evening, becoming a set of exercises that stimulate the body’s growth and learning.


July 8, 2PM: Tour with Risa Puleo and Community Conversation led by Megan Pobywajlo and Olivia Clanton
Join curator Risa Puleo for a Tour of the exhibition, Care, A Performance, in which she will talk about the work on view in the exhibition. After the tour Kansas City artist Megan Pobywajlo will join Risa in leading a conversation with the Kansas City community on connecting the statements made by the artists in the exhibition into everyday life during an era of “Donald “Laziness is a trait in blacks” Drumpf Care.” Former Kansas City artist Ben Gould will also be present to talk about his contribution to the exhibition.


July 19, 6PM: Immediate Needs
What are your immediate needs in terms of health and healthcare?

Get answers to questions and connections to resources about your immediate healthcare needs through a series of speed-date style one-on-one meetings with healthcare professionals. This event will also help insurance providers and health professionals understand the current care related needs of the Kansas City arts community to formulate a larger healthcare related plan.


July 29, 2PM: How to get care
Daunted by the process of getting health insurance, especially in an era of changing public care options?

Learn to navigate your care options including finding health coverage and accessing local Safety Net services without insurance in a presentation by a presentation by Wyandotte Community Health Council + KU Med Collaborative followed by small breakout groups with healthcare professionals.

Event Details

July 7 - August 5


La Esquina

Opening Reception
July 7, 2017 at 6pm

Next Event

Spirit in Sonic Art: ATTAINMENT


Thursday, November 7, 2024 at 7:00 PM

Charlotte Street Stern Theater (3333 Wyoming St)
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