In January, Toronto-based, interdisciplinary artist Hazel Meyer presented her site specific installation and performance piece "Muscle Panic" at the Art League of Houston. Meyer first performed Muscle Panic in 2014 at the Cow Palace, Warkworth, Ontario. It has since been performed in numerous venues such as the Massie Family Sculpture Courtyard and Molson Community Gallery at the MacLaren Art Centre, Barrie, Ontario; Axenéo7 in Gatineau, QC, and the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, ON.
Much has been written about both Meyer and Muscle Panic, but very little attention has been given to the collaborators. Therefore, I thought I'd interview two performers in the Houston 2018 performance and discover what the performance was like from their perspectives. My first interview is with Evan McCarley. Evan is a performance artist, musician, photographer, art administrator, and curator. We conducted this interview via email.
ExA: First generation, hardcore Performance Artists swore off using actors, rehearsing or scripting performance, and doing repeat performances. However, in Muscle Panic, Hazel Meyer violates all of those principles. As performance artists, what are your thoughts on performing another artists work under her supervision? Did you feel that you had enough, too much, or not enough control and artistic freedom?
Evan: This was actually the third time that I have worked on a piece for another artist! I am all for it, I think the artist has a vision and trusts the people hired and/or brought on to fulfill it. Also, you implicitly interject a bit of your own style into the performance which I think the artist usually wants (if not, they let you know). Hazel made it very clear that she wanted us to just be ourselves, so that made the whole performance "easy" in terms of taking on a performative role.
I think it's ok to repeat performances! I have repeated my own work in different venues and to different audiences. Even if you are performing the "exact" same thing, it's never, ever the same. I like that, personally.
ExA: In interviews Meyer has stated that in her performances centered around sports she "champion(s) the intimacy, tenderness and radical potential of sports over things having to do with competition and virtuosity. Sports is a vehicle for me to talk about desire and the fluids, smells and leakages that accompany any and all kinds of bodies." That's her goal for the audience. As a performer in Muscle Panic, do you