This week: After a dodgy intro we talk to Catherine Sullivan.
Catherine Sullivan was born in Los Angeles, California, in 1968. She earned a BFA from the California Institute of Arts, Valencia (1992), and an MFA from the Art Center College of Design, Pasadena (1997). Sullivanâ€™s anxiety-inducing films and live performances reveal the degree to which everyday gestures and emotional states are scripted and performed, probing the border between innate and learned behavior.
Under Sullivanâ€™s direction, actors perform seemingly erratic, seizure-like jumps between gestures and emotional statesâ€”all of which follow a rehearsed, numerically derived script. Unsettling and disorienting, Sullivanâ€™s work oscillates between the uncanny and camp, eliciting a profound critique of â€œacceptableâ€ behavior in todayâ€™s media-saturated society.
A maelstrom of references and influences from vaudeville to film noir to modern dance, Sullivanâ€™s appropriation of classic filming styles, period costumes, and contemporary spaces (such as corporate offices) draws the viewerâ€™s attention away from traditional narratives and towards an examination of performance itself. Sullivan received a CalArts Alpert Award in the Arts (2004) and a Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD) Fellowship (2004â€“05). She has had major exhibitions at Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2007); Tate Modern, London (2005); Vienna Secession, Austria (2005); Kunsthalle Zurich (2005); Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford (2003); UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2002); and the Renaissance Society, University of Chicago (2002).
She has participated in the Prague Biennial (2005), the Whitney Biennial (2004), and the Biennale dâ€™Art Contemporain de Lyon (2003). Sullivan lives and works in Chicago.