‘Sanctified Performance Day’ spans spirituality

SALUTING SURYA- Diana Cummings with percussionist Chris Payne perform the “movement ritual” for gallery goers in the Vincent Price Art Museum first floor lobby. CN/Greg Reyes



By Greg Reyes and Jesus Figueroa 


From relaxing Buddhist chanting to a thrash hard rock band, “Sanctified Performance Day” at the Vincent Price Art Museum had something for everyone to enjoy last Saturday.

The VPAM hosted several events co-curated by Mary Anna Pomonis and Adriana Yugovich that went with the theme of “Spirituality in Contemporary Art.”

Krystal Krush, composed of artists Asher Hartman and Haruko Tanaka, led a small group through psychic energy exercises designed to be able to interact and appreciate art in a new way.

Tanaka tried to show through general meditation techniques specifically designed to open energy receptors in the body a different way to connect to art.

“What we (Hartman and Tanaka) are trying to do is get people very much in touch with their interior, their senses and their sense of inner sight,” Hartman said.

The exercise took place from 2  to 4 p.m., so those who attended the workshop were unable to wander through the rest of the day’s events.

Ross Rudel began the events and held the attention of spectators with his performance, “Nebulizer.”

His performance was part a “Wet Column” series.

Rudel stood on top of a piece of log barefooted wearing a heavy World War II vintage Swiss army camouflage outfit that belonged to his deceased brother as a helmet made of sticks spun around him.

Audiences were intrigued as he maintained his posture not moving or blinking at all for the 30 minute duration of his performance.

Outside of the gallery in the outdoors, Stri Swendsrud and Quiin Gomez Heitzeberg gave an informative presentation of a brief history of Southern California’s spiritualist campsite communities combined with Spiritualist lyceum recitations.

“Our (Swendsrud and Heitzeberg) performance is about the history of a group in Los Angeles called the Semi-Tropic Spiritualist, who were powers of the spiritualist religion which was big in the 1800s and kind of into the 1900s, which basically believed there was no real death.

You moved on to an afterlife where you could communicate with people who are still living,” Swendsrud said.

To establish the idea of the Semi-Tropic Spiritualist, both artists began to build a ritualistic campfire based on sacred geometries.

Since it was windy outside, the candles and structure began to crumple, but part of the audience came together and assisted in completing the presentation huddling around to block out the wind.

Jennifer Juniper-Stratford led “Nichiren Buddhist Toso,” a chant which attracted many viewers into the “Sanctified” exhibit where it took place.

The chant lasted for 30 minutes with many gathering around the main people chanting.

The chanting was quite ominous having unison between the group and bell chimes echoing through the gallery.

The events came to an end with a hard rock performance by the band Barfth.

Their performance on a makeshift stage outside the VPAM bellowed through the air with a screeching guitar and loud grunts.

The performance, scheduled to be 20 minutes in duration, went on for about 40 minutes with the crowd thinning out as the show came to a close. Few stayed throughout the entire performance.

The numerous events each took their view on spirituality and presented them in a unique way.

There was no point in which audiences had time to be bored as there were many activities to take part in.

“Sanctified: Spirituality in Contemporary Art” exhibition, guest curated by Pomonis, open at the Vincent Price Art Museum small gallery through April 26.

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