All photos: Gerard & Kelly, The Frank O'Hara Memorial Library (2014). Performance view.
Poet and critic Frank O’Hara died at age 40 in the summer of 1966, after being hit by a dune buggy on Fire Island. The Frank O’Hara Memorial Library is an interactive, mobile installation developed by artists Gerard & Kelly over the course of their residency on Fire Island and dedicated to O’Hara’s lifelong pursuit of the intimacy of poetic exchange. Poetry, in his words, could “at last be between two people instead of two pages.” Consisting of a circulating collection of books and a scored interaction between a single performer and a single viewer, the project continues the artists’ recent investigations of intimacy, exchange, and the transmission of queer cultural experience in works such as Timelining (The Kitchen, 2014) and Reusable Parts/Endless Love (Made in L.A. at the Hammer Museum, 2014).
The Frank O’Hara Memorial Library opened on Friday, August 1 and traveled to beaches, boardwalks, outside public gatherings, and inside private homes. Constituting something of an idiosyncratic portrait, the library features a selection of volumes by O’Hara and other texts in proximity to O’Hara, by reference, influence, citation, legacy, or spirit. There are also a few volumes on Fire Island. The library’s collection is ongoing; donations of books to The Frank O’Hara Memorial Library are graciously accepted.
Gerard & Kelly (Brennan Gerard and Ryan Kelly) have collaborated since 2003. Working within an interdisciplinary framework to create project-based installations and performances, Gerard & Kelly use choreography, writing and a range of other media to address questions of sexuality, collective memory, and the formation of queer consciousness. This spring, The Kitchen presented their most recent exhibition, Timelining, praised by The New York Times as “the high point of the Chelsea season.” In 2014 their work has been supported by fellowships from the Graham Foundation and Art Matters and a residency at Pioneer Work Center for Art & Innovation. Gerard & Kelly are one of 35 artists/collaboratives included in the upcoming Made in L.A. 2014 biennial at the Hammer Museum.
The discussion and reception on August 2nd were kindly hosted by Charles Renfro and Alex Galan.