For the inaugural exhibition in its project space at 515 West 26th Street, Albertz Benda is pleased to present Coyote Ugly, an exhibition and series of performances by Agathe Snow exploring the mosaic of experiences surrounding the American dream.
Bi-weekly performances by Agathe Snow will be presented every Saturday afternoon and Wednesday evening for the duration of the show, with projections of the performance shown in between events. Coyote Ugly offers a face and a voice to immigrants and aims to provide a fuller portrait to the question: what is survival?
Snow was once one of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants residing in the United States. Reluctant to address the difficulties of the controversial situation before this exhibition, Snow writes, “I feel so overwhelmed, I don’t know where to start, from what angle to approach it? Who to reach? To speak to?” Undocumented immigration, a charged issue in American homes and politics, is not a straightforward topic. Snow catalogues her own experience, while also observing the struggles of those are around her. “WHEN ILLEGAL YOU ARE NO MORE A WHOLE PERSON, YOU ARE IN LIMBO, NON-EXISTENT,” writes Snow. “I met a Pakistani man who shared a passport with 8 other members of his family. 1/8th of a passport, 1/8th legal. […] Fear is constant, single men especially take turns in one room, share a job’s different shifts. Time shares, apartment shares, work shares. Clocks with 8 hour slices, 4 part days. The individual is not left whole.”
Yet despite the fragmented biographies that she observed, the performances are not a chronicle of struggle. They are a celebration of the community that New York offers. “I am certain that nowhere else in the world would I have been able to have this life,” writes Snow. “A place where one does not feel persecuted, and have children that are oblivious to what it means to not have a place to call home, a future where all is possible as long as you work hard and develop a mind that can find where one’s life can be made and roots be set.”
Through the performances in Coyote Ugly, the artist will draw the viewer into the world of the undocumented. albertz benda’s project space will be broken up like a labyrinth, with winding walls and partitions and indirect paths, in order to channel sensations of divided identity, time, and space, as well as what it means to exist in the shadows. Remnants of personhood will exist throughout without a person attached – fake papers, baby bottles, superstitious artifacts, shoes. In the center of the maze, the artist will invite immigrants to share their stories. The performances will catalog the questions posed to the participants, juxtaposing the various answers shared as the series progresses. The process seeks to draw out the story of courage in one’s past, while encouraging empathy for others, and promoting self-preservation. As a result, Coyote Ugly takes audiences through the process of arriving to America, the complicated aspects of being here, and the failed or fulfilled expectations of the lives that immigrants have found.
As Snow explains, “To try to make sense of it all, I will be creating a space to get to know, get to feel, get a better sense of the issue and [this] very particular reality from a more intimate, a better informed standpoint and invite all, who might, like me, want to get closer, get personal and see where it leads.”
Saturday, September 12, 4:00 pm
Wednesday, September 16, 7:00 pm
Saturday, September 19, 4:00 pm
Wednesday, September 23, 7:00 pm
About Agathe Snow
Agathe Snow was born in Corsica, France in 1976 and lives and works in New York. She works in a variety of mediums including sculpture, writing, food, and performance. She is well-known for her performance of a 24 hour dance marathon at Ground Zero in lower Manhattan and her week-long dance marathon for the Whitney Biennial.
Snow’s work will be on view at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York in the exhibition Storylines: Contemporary Art at the Guggenheim through September 9. She has had solo shows of her work at the Guggenheim Museum, Berlin (2011), the New Museum, New York (2009), and has performed at the Whitney Biennial, New York (2008).