Performance Art Lecture

Tuesday night was the night of my performance / lecture at the High Studio in Moorpark. What a great evening we had!

I lit candles to illuminate the works and served mead to our visitors, then we were entertained by two belly dancers, Tonantzin and Deanna, who had seen the exhibit and wanted to contribute somehow. I asked if they would perform among the exhibit during the lecture while I spoke about spaces that may have been used for dance in Neolithic Britain. They did a beautiful job.

I talked about the ways Neolithic people may have used chambers and showed images of these extraordinary spaces, particularly about fire and herbs that were found at Balfarg henge in Scotland.  While extemporizing the lecture I gilded stones that were concealed in one of the pieces in the gallery and my friends Rich Brimer and Zak Erving read passages selected from my dissertation describing fire and herbs, to start with in whispers but gradually building to speaking loudly. I wanted the audience to be overwhelmed by the sensory experience of the Cabinet, so that they were slightly disoriented by the event.

I thoroughly enjoyed the help of a few friends who made the evening a complete pleasure: my grateful thanks go to the owner of the gallery, Jean Amador, who has been a wonderful host and allowed me both to have the show and to do the lecture. Janet Amiri helped by providing candles and videotape, Stephanie Shulsted operated the video cameras. Thanks to Joseph Beuys for being a never ending source of inspiration.

 The show closes on Saturday – come to the closing celebration at 6pm. Directions are at 


The next version of the Cabinet will be quite different. I’ll be putting together an installation for the Channel Islands University Art Center to run from August 16th until October 18th. Performance / Lecture dates to be determined.

Michele DePuy Leavitt heard about the show from Janet Amiri and suggested that I use the Gerd Koch Gallery, which was formerly used as a containment cell for mentally ill patients when the campus was better known as the Hotel California. I think this will be very interesting. Perhaps the work will ease some of the disturbing tension present in the space.




About pearce

Michael Pearce is an artist, writer, and professor of art. He is the author of "Art in the Age of Emergence."
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2 Responses to Performance Art Lecture

  1. Stephen Wood says:

    The lightbulb moment came for me when Michael was elaborating on his answer to a question from the audience, right at the end of his performance. The move from working with wood and stone to working with metal, he explained, had profoundly altered the relationship between people and nature. People have to heat rock to a high temperature to wrest the metal from it. This created an attitude of exploiting nature, rather than working in harmony with it. Hence the attraction of the Neolithic for Michael, the desire to work with his hands on wood, stone and wax, to rediscover that connection with nature that our ancestors had.

  2. gallery says:

    It was pretty amazing on Tuesday evening at the High Studio Gallery listening to Michael, Rich and Zack, drinking mead, and watching dancers trying to imagine the lives of the Neolithic men! Having walked the Ridgeway and been to Avebury, Stonehenge and admired the burial chambers near the White Horse in Uffington, in Oxforshire, I share the same awe in front of Neolithic art and architecture as Michael… I loved the performance side, to be there, on that moonlit evening, in the dark, surrounded by the Michael Pearce’s artwork. We were in communion with the Cosmos with Michael as a guide for this journey. Why don’t we learn something from them? Aren’t we faced with the same mysteries: Life, Death, Creation and the Universe?

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