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2014 Biennial Performances

Robert Ashley and Alex Waterman: The Trial of Anne Opie Wehrer and Unknown Accomplices for Crimes Against Humanity

Location: Whitney Museum Second Floor (Kaufman Astoria Studios Film and Video Gallery)

Part of Robert Ashley and Alex Waterman’s contribution to the Biennial, The Trial of Anne Opie Wehrer and Unknown Accomplices for Crimes Against Humanity is a “speaking opera” from 1968, in which the main speaker (Anne Opie Wehrer in the original) is asked to publicly answer one hundred questions about her life (by an interrogator offstage). A series of improvised interruptions, diversions, and cross-examinations by two pairs of men and women creates a cacophonous score, with sounds of evasions, sarcastic questions and answers, laughter, and a huge, complex “story” about life as they all have lived it.

At the Biennial Anne will be replaced by four contemporary art-world personalities: artist Amy Sillman (also exhibiting in the Biennial), poet and cultural critic Wayne Koestenbaum, artist, actress, and forensic therapist Mary Farley, and visual artist Barbara Bloom. The new version of the piece will realize Anne Opie Wehrer’s dream of being at The Whitney, almost 40 years to the day after she wrote a letter to Marcia Tucker in 1974, “Proposed for the Whitney—in its museum form as a living sculpture.”

April 23–24, 26–27
2pm–4:30pm

$20 general admission; $16 senior citizens and students. Tickets are required, and quantities are limited. See all ticketing information.

Flyer for The Trial of Anne Opie Wehrer and Unknown Accomplices for Crimes Against Humanity in Michigan, WI, February 1969. Courtesy of Robert Ashley/Mimi Johnson

Flyer for The Trial of Anne Opie Wehrer and Unknown Accomplices for Crimes Against Humanity in Michigan, WI, February 1969. Courtesy of Robert Ashley/Mimi Johnson

Anne Opie Wehrer

Letter to Marcia Tucker, 1974

Read Anne Opie Wehrer’s 1974 proposal to perform this piece at the Whitney.

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