BAR Magazine

Issue 02

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Boston to New York: Allison MacDonald at Dispersed Holdings

Quick Bit

by Jameson Johnson

11 January 2018

Installation View, Allison MacDonald

In an intimate, third floor apartment on Bowery street, 19 female identifying artists gathered for series of installations, performances, film screenings, and happenings. Curated by Vanessa Kowalski, “Always First Demolition” brought artists from around the globe under one roof. The collection of work examined “what it means to persist in the pursuit of the seemingly impossible in a world that continues to build us apart.”

 

Exhibition Poster

The space, Dispersed Holdings, once belonged to Eva Hesse; a gorgeous soul whose body was taken from this earth at the young age of 34 yet whose spirit remains in the light, floorboards, and cracks between the walls of 134 Bowery.

For nearly two years, co-directors Sal Randolph and David Richardson have provided Dispersed Holdings as a place for remembrance of Eva (evidenced by her diaries, letters, and photographs which sit upon the mantle) yet also as a constantly evolving community space for reading, listening, watching, and performing.

 

Installation View, Allison MacDonald

Boston based artist, Allison MacDonald works primarily with fibers and through performance art. At “Aways First Demolition” she combined each of her practice into a performative installation. “Performance has allowed me to grow as a person because I am able to test the limits of my patience and my creation through the vessel that is my body,” she commented.

Her piece consists of braided strands made from the pulled fibers of handmade pillows and sweaters. As the braid circles around the perimeter of apartment, it both supports other work while filling in the aforementioned cracks along the way. Using her body as a gracious tool, she connects the stories of the threads while providing new life, structure, and support to the space.

Installation View, Allison MacDonald

MacDonald’s piece is reminiscent of Cecilia Vicuna’s “quipu” which combines notions of Andean ritual and heritage into her lifelong performance of laying red thread through environments. Similarly, MacDonald’s fibers are wound together to symbolize strength, connection, and historical narratives.

Although the exhibition is coming to a close, New York folks can catch the remainder of the installation until January 12th, with performances and events in-between. For more information about “Always First Demolition” you can visit the Dispersed Holdings site, which itself is a living, breathing piece of art.

"Dear Eva" project by Dispersed Holdings

We look forward to more from MacDonald both in Boston and beyond. To keep up with her work, she recommends visiting her Instagram.