Blonde Tresses at the Park Avenue Armory

MK Guth, Ties of Protection and Safekeeping 2007-08.

The Park Avenue Armory portion of the Whitney Biennial just closed this past Sunday. In great part dedicated to the more ephemeral and time-based medium of performance art, it included the work of the Portland artist MK Guth. Previously New York–based and the founder of the Red Shoe Delivery Service (the art collaborative that Fashion Projects interviewed in the first issue), MK Guth contributed an interactive sculpture to the biennial show.

The piece started by asking viewers what they felt was worth protecting. The answers were then written on strips of red flannel and woven into an ever-growing braid made of artificial hair, which the audience braided together with the artist. The day I visited the Armory, the performance had come to a close and the braids draped the dark-lit wood paneled rooms of the Armory, where the performance had taken place. Yet some of the artificial hair was left in an adjacent room together with pieces of red felts—the remnants contributing to the melancholic and morbid feeling conveyed by the braided blonde tresses.