Manicures as Action Painting and Performance Art
At the Modernist Manicure nail salon, canonical Modernist paintings are reproduced in miniature on the nails of participants free of charge. By intersecting Modernist tropes promoted by Clement Greenberg, e.g. abstraction, medium-specificity, flatness, etc. and strategies from Relational Aesthetics, e.g. providing free services/goods and the decentralization of art from art objects in favor of conversations and collaborative experiences, the piece attempts a critical re-examination of the two movements, their roles and merits in both the art and art-secular world. The project also facilitates an ongoing conversation surrounding issues in art history, feminism, race, and the dividing line between “high” and “low” culture.
Modernist Manicures kicked off in March of 2013 as a pop-up nail salon at the alternative gallery space Howard Art Project in Dorchester, was re-staged at Made in Fort Point during the summer & fall, and was most recently performed at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in January of 2014.