Gerard & Kelly’s Residency Culminates with “P.O.L.E. (People, Objects, Language, Exchange)”

Gerard & Kelly’s Residency Culminates with “P.O.L.E. (People, Objects, Language, Exchange),” an Exhibition Featuring Live Performances by Subway and Pole Dancers
New Museum Lobby Gallery
February 4–15, 2015

New York, NY…Gerard & Kelly’s six-month Research and Development residency, as part of the New Museum’s R&D Season: CHOREOGRAPHY, culminates in a two-week exhibition in the Lobby Gallery from February 4 to 15, 2015. “P.O.L.E (People, Objects, Language, Exchange)” explores fleeting encounters and processes of history and memory via sculpture, video, and live performance. For the exhibition, the artists have created an installation comprising two sixteen-foot brass poles for dancing, which stretch from floor to ceiling and displace panels from the gallery’s drop ceiling. The installation also includes plywood sculptures constructed using materials reclaimed from the artists’ previous installation on the Museum’s Fifth Floor.

The centerpiece of the exhibition is Two Brothers. Utilizing the highly charged form of pole dancing, Two Brothers engages physical and mental, actual and metaphorical, efforts to reconcile forces of suspension and gravity.  This score-based performance for two dancers and two poles, will be presented daily at 1 p.m., 3 p.m., and 5 p.m. The eight dancers participating in this work hail from a variety of trainings and contexts—from urban (and currently outlawed) subway performance to exotic dance to fitness to contemporary art.

In Reverberations, another score created by Gerard & Kelly and enacted daily from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Lauren Bakst, the Museum’s Research and Development Fellow, recalls and transmits events—from public conversations to protests to pole dancing classes—that have taken place over the course of the duo’s residency. Reverberations takes as its point of departure the connections between discourse and dance as well as personal and collective memory.

“P.O.L.E.” considers different kinds of kinship, such as blood ties, platonic love, and political allegiance. The manifestations of—and threats to—such bonds are evident in the choreography and objects in the exhibition, which also includes a video work made in the aftermath of the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, as well as Gran Fury’s iconic SILENCE=DEATH sign, which was first shown at the New Museum in 1987 by curator William Olander, a member of ACT UP. The neon sign, distinctly and instantly recognizable for its historical and political importance, illuminates Gerard & Kelly’s exhibition and encourages us to reconsider relationships across moments and movements.

Coinciding with the Museum’s weekly Pay-What-You-Wish Thursday evenings, Gerard & Kelly will continue to stage “Open Pole” on Thursday February 5 and Thursday February 12, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. “Open Pole” features two crews of dancers who perform on the poles in New York City subways—the Chosen Ones and We Live This—in an open-mic­-style, improvisatory event that will be conducted in the installation.

“Gerard & Kelly: P.O.L.E. (People, Objects, Language, Exchange)” is curated by Johanna Burton, Keith Haring Director and Curator of Education and Public Engagement.

Performers in the exhibition include Lauren Bakst, Sammy Bethea, Khalil El, devynn emory, Brandon Greene, TyTy Love, Roz “The Diva” Mays, and Tyke Turner.

For a complete list of performances and events taking place as part of this exhibition, plus information on Gerard & Kelly’s residency at the New Museum, visit our website.

About Gerard & Kelly
With “P.O.L.E.,” Gerard & Kelly continue their practice of creating performances for exhibition contexts, while mining the intersection of personal memory and collective history. Timelining, on view last year at the Kitchen, explored the choreography of partnership, utilizing various couples’ histories (from ex-lovers to siblings to a mother-daughter duo) to inform the work’s score and embodied action. For this work, the artists were awarded the 2014 Juried Award from the New York Dance and Performance Awards, also known as the Bessies. Future projects include “Modern Living”—a project sited at the Philip Johnson Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut, and the Schindler House in Los Angeles in 2015 that will explore notions of queer intimacy within legacies of modernist architecture—as well as a presentation of Timelining as part of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum’s exhibition “Storylines,” a collection show curated by Nancy Spector and on view June–October 2015.

Brennan Gerard and Ryan Kelly have collaborated since 2003. In 2010, they completed the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program and, in 2013, received their MFAs from the Interdisciplinary Studio in the Department of Art at the University of California, Los Angeles. Gerard & Kelly were among thirty-five artists and collectives included in the “Made in L.A. 2014” biennial at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. Other recent exhibitions have been held at Kate Werble Gallery, New York (2013); Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE) (2013); and the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY (2012). Recent performances have been presented by the Mona Bismarck American Center for Art & Culture, Paris (2014); LA><ART (2014); Danspace Project at St. Mark’s Church, New York (2011); and Park Avenue Armory, New York (2010). Their work is represented in the collections of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the Hammer Museum. More information about the artists can be found at

Artist residencies at the New Museum are made possible, in part, by Laurie Wolfert.

Additional support is provided by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Endowment support is provided by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Skadden, Arps Education Programs Fund, and the William Randolph Hearst Endowed Fund for Education Programs at the New Museum.

Special thanks to Dudley and Michael Del Balso, Smith Freeman, Edna and Haim Harel, Eric R. Johnson, Kate Werble Gallery, New York, Moving Theater, Clelia Warburg Peters, Peter Speliopoulos, and Warburg Realty for their support of “P.O.L.E.”

Images (top to bottom): "Open Pole" as part of "Gerard & Kelly: P.O.L.E. (People, Objects, Language, Exchange)" at the New Museum, 2014-5.  Pictured: Sammy Bethea and Khalil El; "Open Pole" as part of "Gerard & Kelly: P.O.L.E. (People, Objects, Language, Exchange)" at the New Museum, 2014-5.  Pictured: Keisha Franklin

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