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A Different Kind of Intimacy: Radical Performance at the Walker, 1990-1995, a research exhibit recently presented at the Walker, drew upon the history of radical and queer performance programed at the Walker to explore how artists responded to the AIDS pandemic. Curator Gwyneth Shanks argues that when confronted with AID’s mounting death toll, the ‘liveness’ of performance took on newfound urgency and meaning for artists.


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“I think we get stuck in these models of only being very referential or reverential. I feel like you can either be hagiographic or you can kill your idols, and there’s no middle ground.” Artist Patrick Staff discusses queer archives, visibility, and their work—including The Foundation(2015)—with Gwyneth Shanks.

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“To me the lesbian tradition of performing against censorship is key.” In conjunction with the exhibit A Different Kind of Intimacy, activist and queer scholar Lisa Sloan discusses the role of feminist and lesbian artists in the arts ecosystem during the height of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

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Queer theorist and performance scholar Sean Metzger discusses the indelible mark AIDS left on the queer and artistic communities across the country. The disease produced a deep urgency to affirm life, presence, and the importance of community in the face of AID’s devastation.


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Gwyneth Shanks sat down with Patrick Scully, a longtime performer, presenter, curator, and activist in Minneapolis to discuss his collaborative 1995 dance piece Unsafe, Unsuited, his role as the founded of Patrick’s Cabaret, and the broader political landscape of the early 1990s.

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Civic-minded, anti-racist artist and organizer Eleanor Savage discusses the 1980s and early 1990s and its impact on performance and activism with Gwyneth Shanks, curator of A Different Kind of Intimacy: Radical Performance at the Walker, 1990-1995.


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“Hers was a dance practice that sought to reveal itself; her simple never lacked.” With a 1973 letter between Trisha Brown and curator Suzanne Weil as her guide, Gwyneth Shanks reflects on the legacy and passing of a choreographer with deep Walker ties.


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The term ‘interdisciplinary’ is a slippery one, defining as it does scholarly pursuits or aesthetic practice that fall in between established disciplines or genres. Gwyneth Shanks introduces a series examining the notion.

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Gwyneth Shanks focuses on how the curation and presentation of interdisciplinary projects re-choreographs the ways in which Walker employees work.

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Gwyneth Shanks explores how to display and exhibit performance-related materials from video to costumes, sound to paintings to sculptural objects. What are those strategies curators marshal to draw immaterial artworks—or time—into visitors’ experiences of an exhibition?