BEMIS CENTER FOR CONTEMPORARY ARTS
APRIL 29, 2017
Monument Push was the world premiere of a physically intensive four-hour performance by artist Cassils. Along with community members, advocates, and allies, Cassils pushed a 1,300 pound bronze monument, titled Resilience Of The 20%, to sites of resistance and violence. The collective body/bodies present during the performance expressed the role of personal realities within larger cultural narratives and communal experiences—making space for unseen or obliterated histories of marginalized communities in downtown Omaha. Monument Push had six sites which explored spaces of trauma, violence, celebration, resistance, and resilience.
This performance bookended Cassils solo exhibition, Cassils: Phantom Revenant, which opened with the internationally acclaimed performance Becoming An Image. The monument being pushed, Resilience of the 20%, was a sculpture formed by a series of kicks and punches during a 2013 performance of Becoming An Image. In this piece Cassils attacks a 2,000 pound clay block in total darkness. The bashed clay remnant explores the question: What is the formal shape of a violent attack? This sculpture, a faithful index of every blow, knee, and fist strike was then cast in bronze, rendering a body forged in violence into a thing of beauty and resilience. The once malleable object is monumentalized, reversing the terms of a traditional memorial or monument. bemiscenter.org/monumentpush
Hyperallergic: Best of 2017: Our Top 20 Exhibitions Across the United States
Hyperallergic: A 1,900-Pound Sculpture Pushed Through the Streets of Omaha, in Tribute to Its LGBTQ History
Art Forum: Critics Choice
Art Agenda: Cassils's "Monumental"
Omaha World-Herald: Monument Push: Heavy sculpture, heavy topic
The Reader: Resilience of the 20%
Omaha Magazine: Art Rage
Photos: Cassils with John Ficenec