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The Hole Thing 

Wednesday, Dec 7 2011
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We like performance art but understand why some people don’t. Maybe their only experience with this most pliable of genres was some Sunday night thing on KQED in 1983 in which a skinny woman in gray tights danced to soft modern jazz on a poorly lit stage while latex house paint gently dripped on her … for 90 minutes. Tonight, that Sherwin-Williams is delivered from a paintball gun, and the score is more likely to be hardcore or speed metal. It’s “Third Strike: 100 Performances for the Hole,” a series of short pieces that push the boundaries of outlandishness. “The Hole” is where it takes place — a recessed part of the gallery floor that once was an auto mechanic’s pit. The rules? Performers cannot harm themselves or others, and each piece has to be exactly two minutes. In a video clip from the most recent edition, a man and woman dressed in white sit on opposite sides of a table, drinking colored fluid and spraying it on each other. A shirtless bald man paints a canvas only to get whacked every few seconds by a mechanical boxing glove atop the easel. About 30 long-haired people jam into the hole and form a head-banging mosh pit. A woman in black tights rolls onto her back, does a shoulder stand, and sprays sparks and smoke from between her legs. Organizers say commissioned works tonight include two that deal with the human body, one of which uses “bodily substances as raw material.” The gallery promises works that are “subtle, humorous, and unnerving.” Subtle, huh? This we have to see.
Sat., Dec. 10, 5:58 p.m., 2011

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Keith Bowers

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