Performance Art That's a Clothes Call

Two dancers will move across line via clothes they try on and take off.

By Alysia Gray Painter
|  Monday, Mar 4, 2013  |  Updated 1:35 PM PDT
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Performance Art That's a Clothes Call

Floor of the Forest

Dancers will move across a web hung with clothing inside the Hammer Museum. The method? Putting clothes on then slipping out of them. Floor of the Forest starts March 30.

A number of games we played as children had a certain theme, or rule, if you prefer. The upshot? Get to Point B from Point A by either jumping over stones or only leaping with your right foot or bounding over all of the sidewalk cracks or blue squares or bits of asphalt.

Those Point-A-to-Point-B challenges don't really last into adulthood, outside of extreme sports or game shows. But an interesting artistic twist on the idea is headed for the Hammer Museum in Westwood at the end of March. Trisha Brown's "Floor of the Forest" has an interesting, "can they do it concept" and that concept is this: Two dancers move across "a web of ropes." 

The performance piece opens on March 30, ends April 21, and runs four times daily Thursday through Sunday.

Sounds like any advanced physical education course but then -- but then -- you see what is hanging from the ropes: clothes. Pants and shirts and a rainbow of wearables. Meaning that the dancers aren't merely crawling and clutching their ways across the ropes but they're trying on and slipping out of clothing as they go along.

This sounds pretty hard, especially since the rope web is a few feet off the ground. It's a rare morning you have to hang upside down while you put on your blouse, right? Hard.

But not too hard; the clothing items will act as "a cocoon or hammock" in many cases.

Call it a bit like the old clotheslines of yore, set inside a museum. Although most parents or grandparents would not have permitted a kid to move across the clotheslines while trying on and taking off the drying clothes.

Maybe more childhood games can find a place in the adult world. We'd love to see a performance piece based around hopscotch.

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