Harold Offeh

I am gutted but I totally missed Harold’s lecture.  I went in early to studio but slept through lecture at my desk.  First thing I knew about it was when everyone piled in in unusually high spirits; everyone was psyched for a change.  I knew he’d be great from looking at his web presence.  I did get to meet him and we chatted about the beauty industry and how it targets black women.  He was interesting.

What I like most about Harold is he isn’t boring.  His approach to working as an artist is refreshing, he is authentic.  Smart.  And prolific.  Kudos.  I think performance art is powerful because of its action and I wonder if performing an action for a camera is less impactful.  I guess it forces the issue whether the action or the record is the artwork.  The same happened with Carolee Schneemann’s ‘Interior Scroll,’ all that remained after the performance were the photographs, but at least it was witnessed directly by some audience.  Harold blurs the lines between fine art and what millions of you tubers and instagramers do so prolifically.  I think he has done so well for himself because he pitches his work through a lens, less because of its accessibility but because it allows him to edit, review and refine his output.  I have to be more productive myself next year and I absolutely have to document my practice to a much higher degree and to a better finish.

Carolee Schneemann is argued to have realigned the gender balance of conceptual and minimal art with her 1975 piece, Interior Scroll, by emphasizing her vagina as the source of artistic power. The crux of the piece was Schneemann extracting a feminist discourse from her vagina and reading it to the audience, as she stood naked on a table. Prior to this, she entered the room in a sheet and an apron, disrobed, lay on the table, painted an outline of herself, and then read from her book, Cezanne, She Was a Great Painter.


Covers 2008 –
Photography, Live Performance and Video

Covers is an internationally recognised performance project by artist Harold Offeh. Initiated in 2008, the project has evolved through major commissions from The Studio Museum, Harlem USA in 2014 and the Live Art Development Agency, London in 2015.


COVERS PDF Click link below
Designed by DUST. Commissioned by Leeds Beckett University

Covers uses the artist’s body, durational actions and physical re-enactment to build on established performance methodologies of the 1970s by artists such as Adrian Piper and Marina Abramovic. Through photography, video and live performance Offeh re-enacts archival album sleeve photographs by black singers from the 1970s and 80s, creating static, durational, tableaux poses. Covers, innovates through its use of performance strategies to re-activate historical popular cultural images. In collapsing live and documented elements Offeh makes visible the mediation and power of the photographic image to fix and shape identity.

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