Girls and their horses . . . | Bleader

Girls and their horses . . .

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Kevin Kling
  • Gary Bistram
  • Kevin Kling
Holly Hughes is both a performance artist and dog person. She’s an associate professor at the University of Michigan, a Guggenheim fellow, and a regular audience member at dog shows, particularly ones featuring poodles. So it makes sense that Hughes’s new performance series, "Standing Heat," focuses on the relationships between humans and animals. Although Hughes has always had an interest in animals, her ideas first took shape after her performance piece Dog and Pony, in which Hughes poked fun at the routines and obsessions of dog people, herself included. "I started to realize that people are not just using animals as metaphors or symbols anymore, but really finding new ways to talk about relationships with animals," she says. "Relationships where animals are fully rounded and developed characters."

"Standing Heat" is a performance series with five narrative pieces—many of them autobiographical—told by different artists. Topics range from a Bridgeport beekeeper’s insight into urban agriculture to a man's story about how living with a disability shaped his relationships with animals. "People love to talk about their animals," says Hughes. "They have deep experiences and memories embedded in their pets. These stories are for anyone who has ever loved an animal, or thought that they might be one."

The prevalence of animal stories also seems to be a product of the green movement. As (most of) society becomes increasingly aware of the horrific effects of certain global trends—consumerism, food production, the draining of natural resources—it makes sense to reevaluate our relationship to animals and also identify our own animalism.

Participating artists in "Standing Heat" include: Kestutis Nakas, Deke Weaver, Kevin Kling, Kim Marra, Amy Chavasse, Raissa Hinman, and Hughes herself.

Through 5/20: Fri and Sat 8 PM, Sun 7 PM, Links Hall, 3435 N. Sheffield, $15, $12 online, $10 students and seniors, linkshall.org.

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