Carlson/Strom: Sloss, Kerr, Rosenberg & Moore.
Courtesy of Contemporary Collection of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, USA.
Carlson/Strom: “Sloss, Kerr, Rosenberg & Moore” 2007, Video (color, sound). Edition 3/7. 4’27’’
A collaborative work by choreographer and performer Ann Carlson and video installation artist Mary Ellen Strom, Sloss, Kerr, Rosenberg & Moore blends gesture, rhythm, voice, and text in a humorous performance playing on urban masculinity through the lens of a lawyer’s day. The compelling video shows the four lawyers, John Sloss, Chet Kerr, Scott Rosenberg, and Thomas Moore, dressed in black suits and ties in a corporate setting and performing choreographed movements and vocal sequences, which oscillate between fighting, Tai Chi, dance and theater. In the beginning their stiff demeanor goes between aggressive movements and submissive bows, calling to mind scenes from Hollywood action movies, but soon they unwind into a relaxed dreamlike floating. The lawyer’s performance displays the tension between the rigorous behavior they apply in order to gain authority in court and the roles they have to play in their daily life as fathers or dog owners or simply private individuals: moments in which leadership behavior, emotional devotedness and vulnerability are more visibly intertwined. The phrases the four men recite in a choir refer to the legal practice they have to rehearse for like actors. They unveil an uncanny link between jurisdiction and deportments that are typical for a consumer society: “At first I ask for more. I always ask for more.”
Ann Carlson and Mary Ellen Strom began working collaboratively in the early 1990s to create video and performance art together as Carlson/Strom. The collective has been recognized for the community-engaged activism of their work, which often addresses social and political themes. Carlson is a director, choreographer, performer and conceptual artist whose work explores the boundaries between dance and choreography. Strom is a video and installation artist whose work draws on performance studies, cultural geography, and feminist and queer studies, and who directs video and media installation studies as faculty at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
MFA contemporary collection: Founded in 1870, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, has since expanded its encyclopedic holdings to nearly half a million objects. Today its programming attracts over one million visitors a year. In September of 2011 the MFA unveiled seven galleries dedicated to the contemporary collections in the newly designated Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art, housed in the fully renovated 1981 building designed by I. M. Pei. The wing’s transformation resulted in approximately 21,250 square feet of space dedicated to the presentation of contemporary art in all forms. A rich diversity of over 200 works is presented throughout the wing at any one time. Installations rotate regularly, and feature internationally recognized artists from the collection, including:
El Anatsui, Lynda Benglis, Mark Bradford, Carlson/Strom, Cerith Wyn Evans, Ori Gersht, Mona Hatoum, Jenny Holzer, Sheila Hicks, Eva Hild, Wendy Jacob, Matthew Day Jackson, Jun Kaneko, Alex Katz, Ellsworth Kelly, Christian Marclay, Josiah McElheny, Ana Mendieta, Sigmar Polke, Ken Price, Doris Salcedo, Timorous Beasties, Anne Truitt, Kara Walker, Andy Warhol, Fred Wilson, and Betty Woodman, among others. The Museum purchased Sloss, Kerr, Rosenberg, & Moore by Carlson/Strom with funds provided by Robert
and Jane Burke, Davis and Carol Noble, Steven Rogowski and the New England Artist Fund 2008.119.