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Shana Moulton's Portable Performance

July 29, 2011

Is being a performance artist just another job? In this film, artist Shana Moulton rehearses and performs Whispering Pines 7 in the exhibition Acting Out at the Bronx River Art Center. In her 14th floor studio at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace, an artist residency program of repurposed offices located in the heart of Wall Street, Moulton gathers up the essential tools of her trade — costume, wig, makeup, DVD — and takes the long uptown subway trip to the Mott Haven section of the Bronx.

Her first look at the venue, Moulton uses her limited rehearsal time to scale the video projection and adapt her movements to the confines of the space. The performance showcases, in a condensed and portable form, hallmarks of Moulton’s recent work: playfully interacting with fantastical digital animations, unexpected changes in emotional tone, and performing in character as Cynthia—the central protagonist of the ongoing Whispering Pines series. Reflecting on the evening’s performance, Moulton considers her aesthetic ambitions, audience expectations, and the pragmatics of being an artist in New York.

More information and credits


Art21 “New York Close Up” Created & Produced by: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Editor: Mary Ann Toman. Cinematography: Andrew David Watson. Sound: Nicholas Lindner & Nick Ravich. Associate Producer: Ian Forster. Production Assistant: Paulina V. Ahlstrom, Don Edler & Maren Miller. Design: Open. Artwork: Shana Moulton. Thanks: Bronx River Art Center, Sean Carroll, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Marisa Olsen, Erin Riley-Lopez & Chad Stayrook. An Art21 Workshop Production. © Art21, Inc. 2011. All rights reserved.

Closed captionsAvailable in English, German, Romanian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Italian

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Shana Moulton

Shana Moulton was born in 1976 in Oakhurst, California, where she currently resides after spending a number of years living and working in New York. Moulton’s humorous performances and videos are built around her kitschy alter ego, Cynthia, a character the artist developed during graduate school. Loosely rooted in Moulton’s childhood experiences growing up in a senior-citizen trailer park that her parents owned in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, her videos are fantastical renderings in bubblegum hues, with a hint of the dark side lurking just below the surface.


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