Savoir-Faire 2012

*click on image for online catalog preview*

September 4 – 29, 2012  

*see schedule for date/times of performances


Featuring performances by:

Thursday, September 6th, 7pm / GO! Push Pops   SistersSpinderella
feat. Maria Jose Duran Steinman

Thursday, September 13th, 5-7pm / Pink Assignment  Pull Up

Mariángeles Soto-Díaz & Claudia Sbrissa

Thursday, September 20th, 7pm / Vernita N’Cognita The Black Dress

feat. Amanda Flowers and music by Charles Ditto

Thursday, September 27th 7-8pm / The DIRT PALACE   The Secret Rooms of the Dirt Palace 

Olivia Horvath, Xander Marro, J.R. Uretsky and Pippi Zornoza 

Savoir Faire 2012

Soho20 invites you to their fourth annual performance series devoted to the work of women artists curated by gallery director Jenn Dierdorf. Savoir Faire features newly commissioned work from an array of artistic collaborations to be presented on four consecutive Thursdays in September. Following Soho20’s tradition of supporting women artists and innovation each performance group features women from a diversity of backgrounds and experiences.

Presented by Go! Push Pops (Katie Cercone and Elisa Garcia de la Huerta) in partnership with Maria Jose Duran Steinman SistersSpinderella is a performance sculpture encompassing numerous alternative ancient mythical and spiritual sources that presents contemporary interpretations in which women display power and pleasure, not unrelated to the work of many feminist artists in the 1970s who sought alternative sources to western patriarchal structures including concepts of the Great Goddess. Pink Assignment, a collaboration between Claudia Sbrissa and Mariangeles Soto-Diaz, will draw through space with pink ribbon during their performance Pull Up in which the interior of the gallery is connected to the outside world. Using materials and color marked as feminine Pink Assignment emphasizes women’s creative power as they activate the space with their “drawing” and audience participation. Working with composer Charles Ditto, Vernita N’Cognita uses the ubiquitous Black Dress interrogating women’s presentation of themselves through clothing as she explores this physical presence through traditional Japanese Butoh expressive movement in The Black Dress. The last performance in the series by The Dirt Palace (Olivia Horvath, Xander Marro, J.R. Uretsky, and Pippi Zornoza) challenges traditional representations of femininity by presenting alternative scenarios to women’s lives that do not conform to traditional expectations. In this collaborative exploration, The Secret Rooms of the Dirt Palace, femininity cannot be fixed yet is contrasted with traditions of masculine power to craft new possibilities for women.

The work of these four performance collaboratives demonstrates important directions in feminist art of the twenty-first century by demanding or working with concepts of transformation of “woman” that build on ideas initiated by the 1960s and 1970s generation of women artists. The performers in Savoir Faire make use of non-traditional high art materials such as textiles, ribbon, clothing, song, and ritual—materials which hold their own symbolic connotations. Others challenge traditions of linear narrative which structure one’s everyday experiences to provide a multiplicity of options for women and their lives or develop new models of femininity based on traditions which western society has often deemed less important. Significantly, these artists have chosen to work in the medium of performance to make direct connections with the audience in hopes of transformation. Since the advent of the feminist art movement performance art has been a popular outlet for women artists to expose the conditions of women’s lives, to critique those conditions, and to present alternative possibilities. To these ends female artists often turned to their own bodies and experiences as subject in an active expression of agency. Moreover, performance art offers the potential for collaboration which continues to be a popular manner of working among women artists that provides an alternative to the model of the individual (male) genius so prevalent in histories of art. The Savoir Faire artists stem from these traditions yet their work uniquely combines elements of joy and pleasure to expose biased social structures and artificially constructed gender roles to ultimately change the conditions of people’s lives.

Kathleen Wentrack, Ph.D.


Savoir-Faire 2012 performing artists: 

GO! Push Pops  feat. Maria Jose Duran Steinman


Thursday, September 6th, 7pm 


*click here to see images from Go! Push Pops’ performance SistersSpinderella.

SistersSpinderella is a Go! Push Pops performative sculpture in collaboration with Chilean artist Maria Jose Duran Steinman. Based on various mytho-spiritual lore including Native American matrilineal creation myth and Italian trance dance originating from the Greek rights of Bacchantes,  SistersSpinderella is part sculpture, part ritual, part jig.  The project references the Native American Spider Woman ‘Creator/Grandmother of the Sun’ Goddess and the correlate work of the 1970s feminist Spider Woman Theater Collective, a leading voice for indigenous women and Feminist Art. SistersSpinderella also incorporates elements of the healing trance dance known as Tarantella, a modern conception of the Baccantian dance Pizzica Tarantata (“the bite of the spider tarantula” also called “bite of love”) where the wild women followers of Bacchantes, Roman God of intoxication, become abandoned to their physical natures, literally spinning and stomping their way free of repressed sexual energy.

For this project, The Push Pops will collaborate with Maria Jose Duran Steinman, an artist whose textile based sculptures and site-specific installations pose libidinal experiences with the material and its cycles of transformation.

The Push Pops are a queer, transnational feminist collective under the direction of Katie Cercone (b. 1984 Santa Rosa, California) and Elisa Garcia de la Huerta (b. 1983 Santiago, Chile). The Push Pops formed at the School of Visual Art where both Cercone and Garcia obtained their MFA in 2011. The Push Pops have shown their interactive multi-media sculptures and performances in free public art festivals and galleries throughout the greater Metropolitan area since April of 2010. Employing the female body – that which is bound to a cross-cultural language of desire, signification and power – in tactical, ideological strategy, the Push Pops utilize gesture, exclamation and popular idiom to embody a new and discursive physicality. Neo-Dada, Fluxist and Feminist, their performance work posits the body as a danger to the operation of reason and male economy of lack.



Maria Jose Duran, Chimera, 2010

Maria Jose Duran Steinman, b. 1982 in Chile, received BFA Fine Arts at Finis Terrae University in 2006. In 2008 she was awarded with the Fulbright Scholarship and the Chilean international Scholarship to pursuit graduate studies in NYC.

In 2010 she received her MFA Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts as well as the Alumni Scholarship award. Duran-Steinman has exhibited in Chile and New York; more recently in Perry Rubenstein Gallery, Cuchifritos Gallery, Galeria Artespacio and a solo show in NY in 2011 at the Governor’s Island Art Fair. She worked as personal assistant to Lynda Benglis during 2010 and 2011. Currently she is preparing “El Descubrimiento de America/ The Discovery of the Americas”, upcoming three-person show at Local Project in LIC for October 2012.





Pink Assignment  /  Mariangeles Soto-Diaz & Claudia Sbrissa

Pull Up

Thursday, September 13th, 5-7pm


Left to right: Claudia Sbrissa, Wrapped Pillars, 2007- 2012, site specific installation, Smack Mellon Gallery, NYC, Photo by Michael Marfione. Mariángeles Soto-Díaz, The Pink Elephant in the Room Addresses the Glass Ceiling, Again, 2012

Pull Up is the debut performance of Claudia Sbrissa and Mariángeles Soto-Díaz’s collaborative duo Pink Assignment. Threading their way through space with lines of pink satin ribbon, in this site-specific performance the artists will connect an elaborate indoor installation at the gallery with a public installation along 27thStreet. Pink Assignment will explore, construct, negotiate, define and activate their physical space. Onlookers will be invited to participate as a sense of imaginative labor and teamwork materialize in pink.


Mariangeles Soto-Diaz is an abstract artist who works with paint, paper, ink, slides, spices, UPC codes and vinyl tape, and for this performance, ribbon. Conceiving abstraction as the critical and poetic language of potential allows her to pierce the detached geometries of ordering structures, making them responsive and more pliable. Recently, she’s been exploring collaborative approaches to abstraction.

Claudia Sbrissa’s work is informed by issues of identity, culture and by her engagement with materials. It is suffused with a quality of romance and material transcendence, in which its human traces convey the connection between material image and space.

Soto-Díaz and Sbrissa decided to perform together as Pink Assignment this year when they realized they not only share a strong commitment to feminism but also to developing similar formal and political sensibilities in their individual work.



Vernita N’Cognita feat. Amanda Flowers and music by Charles Ditto

The Black Dress

Thursday, September 20th, 7pm


 Photos by Ian Douglas

The black dress is a ubiquitous garment for women with myriad ties to facets of identity and occasion.  Whether to celebrate, mourn, veil, or flaunt the black dress has become a powerful symbol for femininity.  In this performance, N’Cognita explores the symbology of the black dress utilizing aspects of the Japanese art of Butoh movement and sound.  Accompanied by as many as six participants, N’Cognita will use hundreds of black dresses to explore how this has become a costume for our lives.   Music for the performance composed by Charles Ditto and guest artist Amanda Flowers.

Vernita N’Cognita aka Vernita Nemec is an artist and curator. Working in a variety of media, she came to performance art from a visual art background.  Nemec received her B.F.A. in painting from Ohio University and an M.A. from New York University.  Since the late 1970’s she has done more than 70 performances and worked with renowned artists Meredith Monk, Kazuko Miyamoto, Frances Alenikoff, Coco Gordon and others.  Nemec has performed all over the world including Mexico City, Tokyo, Frankfurt, Darmstadt, Budapest, Dublin and Paris, and in New York City at Judson Dance Theater, Printed Matter, Franklin Furnace, Cunningham Studio, and the Guggenheim museum to name a few.  She has also been the recipient of numerous awards including the Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance Art from the Jerome Foundation in 1988 as well as Performance Studies International, the Kauffman Foundation, NYSCA, the National Endowment for the Arts and a Puffin grant in 2007.  Nemec participated in Linda Montano’s 7 Years of Living Art project from 2004-2011 and is a member of The Field in NYC.  Nemec began working with Butoh in 1999 and has studied with Akira Kasai as well as experimental choreography Deborah Hay.  She is currently the director of Viridian Artists, Inc. and maintains a studio in SOHO, NYC.



The DIRT PALACE /  Olivia Horvath, Xander Marro, J.R. Uretsky and Pippi Zornoza

The Secret Rooms of the Dirt Palace

Thursday, September 27th 7-8pm


The Secret Rooms of the Dirt Palace is a multi-media performance that explores constructing and performing femininities through a series of vignettes.  Framed by the explicit explanations of Madame Von Malt Liqueur, our narrator, whose narrative is drunk on all of the love in the air and full of repetition and lies. Madame Von Malt Liqueur knows that every story is a story of survival and that in order to make sense, a story must have at least a beginning. The Secret Rooms of the Dirt Palace has at least five beginnings; each presenting a navigation of contemporary womanhood that draw on personal experience as a point of departure to present diverse femininities that are not a reaction to or imitation of male power. Combining traditional storytelling, aggressive magic realism, surrealism, awkward realism, and utilizing puppetry, video, song, ritual, objects and dance The Secret Rooms of the Dirt Palace is a mystical look at what femininity might be — fluid, constructed, individual and sometimes a little wasted.


left to right: Xander Marro, JR Uretsky, Rise, 2011, video still,  Olivia Horvath, Monstous-Feminine, 2012, Photo taken by Ian Cozzens, Pippi Zornoza, Bonedust, Fruit of the Ash, 201, Photo taken by Natalja Kent


The Dirt Palace is a feminist art collective based in Providence, RI. Over the past 12 years, the Dirt Palace has served as an incubator for a vast scope of prolific artists, and has become an underground institution. Although it is now a cornerstone of the Providence arts community, this undertaking was originally born from the desperate need for a radically new context in which female-identified individuals can live and work rigorously immersed in their creative lives. There are currently seven members of the Dirt Palace that work in a variety of media, including printmaking, audio and performance art, film/video, sculpture, writing, puppetry & painting.  Continually at war and making peace with the identity of the collective vs. the individual, this performance brings together founding members Xander Marro and Pippi Zornoza, along with newer members J.R. Uretsky and Olivia Horvath, to create a mysterious experience featuring spontaneous collaborators and the Dirt Palace’s eclectic entourage.


Contributing Artists: Muffy Brandt, Michelle Chrzanowski, Sam Merritt, Rebecca Mitchell, Jieun Reiner, Chrissy Wolpert.












Comments are closed.