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Liquor Store Theatre, vol. 1, no. 1

Artist: Maya Stovall
video | Digital video, color, sound | 4 | 2014

Maya Stovall employs a mix of anthropological observation and urban intervention to create what she considers performance and ethnography. Stovall’s current research focuses on Detroit, where she grew up. The subjects in her video for the 2017 Biennial are her neighbors in the McDougall-Hunt area on the city’s east side. In Liquor Store Theatre, she dances on the sidewalks and streets outside neighborhood liquor stores, combining elements of ballet and contemporary movement. After each performance, she invites her audience—largely these establishments’ patrons and other passersby—to share their recollections of and predictions for Detroit, which she records on video. The artist focused on liquor stores in particular because they serve as hubs of both commerce and community, with individuals selling clothing, electronic goods, and other everyday items in their immediate vicinity. They are, in Stovall’s words, “a backstage view of ongoing life in a neighborhood, in spite of narratives of abandonment.”

Exhibitions

Whitney Biennial 2017 | 2017.03.17 - 2017.06.11 | Whitney Museum of American Art(New York City, NY, United States)

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