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Julie Tolentino Performs, Talks at 2022 Whitney Biennial

HOLD TIGHT GENTLY | Image courtesy of the Whitney Museum of American Art

As the 2022 Whitney Biennial nears its closing date, visitors can still view School of Art faculty Julie Tolentino’s collaborative daylong performance and artist talk on Friday, Oct. 7. 

Starting at 1 pm on Friday, Tolentino presents Hold Tight Gently, an eight-hour performance in collaboration with actor Stosh Fila and artist and curator Robert Takahashi Crouch. Named after the final line of Donald Woods’ poem “Prescription,” the performance invites attendees to observe the “minimal yet attentive” interactions between the performers and various objects. Tolentino reflects on the work:

Hovering over an inclined, mirrored platform set against the slowly setting sun on the Museum’s third floor, HOLD TIGHT GENTLY honors the weighted impact of another person. Offered as touch, the work reflects on myriad sensorial and affective experiences: of being held, pushed, encouraged, missed, heard, misunderstood, beloved, and lost. Projected light reflects the movement imprint of care circles. The sound in the work is impacted by conversations leaking into the space from the gathering of co-conspirators in the adjoining room: artists, advocates, activists, poets, writers, museum staff, and visitors.

The performance is accompanied by a daylong conversation hosted by Tolentino and scholar Jih-Fei Cheng, titled Let’s Talk: Vulnerable Bodies, Intimate Collectivities, discussing the work of members of the collective What Would an HIV Doula Do? (WWHIVDD?). Throughout the day, the event will be punctuated by a repeating slideshow presentation and various video works. Contributors include Demian DinéYazhi’, Pato Hebert, Theodore (Ted) Kerr, Kia Labeija, Kang Seung Lee, Tiffany Marrero, Abdul-Aliy A. Muhammad, Ray Navarro, Nguyen Tan Hoang, and Tamara Oyola-Santiago.

Tolentino, who joins the Institute as a regular faculty in the School of Art for the 2022-23 academic year, explores the “the interstitial spaces of relationality, memory, race, gender, and the archive” through movement and durational performance within installation environments. Her works have been included in numerous solo and group shows at venues like Aspen Art Museum, Colorado (2020); Leslie Lohman Museum of Art, New York (2020); Commonwealth and Council, Los Angeles (2019); Participant Inc, New York (2019, 2005); The Kitchen, New York (2019); 6th Annual Thessaloniki Biennale, Thessaloniki, Greece (2018); and the Lab, San Francisco (2018).

Picture of Taya Zoormandan

Taya Zoormandan

As digital content and social media producer, Taya enjoys lifting up the stories and accomplishments of CalArts' students, alums, and faculty. She fancies herself a visual artist but is really more of an overzealous collector of art supplies.

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Julie Tolentino Performs, Talks at 2022 Whitney Biennial