The Poetry Parade is a migrating feminist reading action. The project responds to the inaugural exhibition America Is Hard to See, and also addresses the new building itself, its location and histories relating to the evolution of the Meatpacking District and the Whitney as an institution. This parade of readings focuses on works from the exhibition as well as site-specific locations and views from within and onto the Whitney. Through proximity of texts and images we consider how the museum as a marker of culture materializes in various relationships. As a migrating group, we will look at what the building represents and how it functions, how bodies of work and viewers as bodies circulate throughout. We will meditate on forms of looking and framing: how works have been framed by the institution, the content of chosen artworks, and the architecture, views and the landscape of the west side of lower Manhattan. How have the cultural and economic shifts of this specific locale—from industrialization to dying industries to cruising and clubs to luxury goods and ‘high’ culture—evolved to shape a temporal present? This parade attends to past and present actions of bodies and uses of this site—a site of ongoing transition with an ever looming question about the assumed benefits of progress, newness and visibility.
The Poetry Parade is an ongoing collaboration by A.K. Burns and Katherine Hubbard in which artists, curators, and cultural thinkers read self-selected texts to works of art. Texts are chosen and paired with works either as a celebration, homage or to stage a confrontation. The parade asks for collective looking and sustained attention. Subjective pairings unfold throughout the event like a gritty conversation where language and form become equally resonant.