LAWRENCE — This week the Spencer Museum of Art will host Chicago-based artists Miller & Shellabarger (Dutes Miller and Stan Shellabarger) for a series of public events on April 28-29 that explore performance art, queerness and the dynamic of performing as a couple.
Married couple Miller & Shellabarger began “Untitled (Pink Tube)” in 2003 as a public performance where they simultaneously crochet at opposite ends of a long tube of pink yarn. They have agreed that when one of them is no longer able to perform, the other will unravel the tube, which will also be a public performance. Their work addresses the rhythm and quality of human relationships as well as universal human experiences and specific experiences related to queer identity. Miller & Shellabarger will perform “Pink Tube” at the Spencer Museum from 10 a.m. to noon and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, April 28, and from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 29.
At 3:30 p.m. April 29, another collaborative duo, Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens, will join Miller & Shellabarger for a candid conversation about their years of performance work and what it means to perform as couples. Sprinkle and Stephens, artists and life partners known for their commitment to the environment, have collaborated on multimedia projects since 2002. They are authors of the “Ecosex Manifesto” and producers of the award-winning film “Goodbye Gauley Mountain” and the documentary “Water Makes Us Wet.”
“There will be two full days in which audiences can join Miller & Shellabarger at the Spencer Museum to view their performance and engage them in conversation,” said Joey Orr, Spencer Museum curator for research. “Additionally the lively conversation we anticipate between them with Sprinkle and Stephens is an amazing opportunity and not to be missed.”
These events are all free and open to the public. They are presented in partnership with the Kansas City Art Institute and the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art.
Photo: Miller & Shellabarger performing “Untitled (Pink Tube)” in Basel, Switzerland, during VOLTA, 2008, Photo by Deb Sokolow.