PopRally Presents Petra Collins: In Search of Us

On March 18, PopRally presents Petra Collins: In Search of Us, an evening of performance, music, and digital art conceived and developed by Collins with artist and close collaborator Madelyne Beckles. The event comprises a live, three-hour tableau in the Agnes Gund Garden Lobby, a “digital salon” hosted on Instagram, a live musical performance by Junglepussy, and a set by DJ Madeline Poole.

Drawing from Lorraine O’Grady’s seminal 1992 essay “Olympia’s Maid: Reclaiming Black Female Subjectivity,” Collins and Beckles will stage a live tableau in celebration of the female form. The performers will confront traditional representations of the female body throughout the art-historical canon, which tended to exclude bodies of work by such historical “others” as women, gender nonconforming individuals, and persons of color. Addressing this history through the lens of the contemporary woman—characterized by autonomy, sexuality, intersectionality, and agency—Collins presents an homage to the odalisque that highlights how women’s bodies have traditionally been both venerated and degraded. In O’Grady’s words, “She is jezebel and mammy, prostitute and female eunuch, the two in one.” Expanding upon the live performance, Collins also invited Beckles, Grace Miceli, and Aleia Murawski to create short videos as part of a “digital salon” on Instagram—in a nod to the 19th-century Salon des Independants—using the platform to re-examine the role of the canon in a contemporary context.

Set Design: Lauren Nikrooz
Styling and Costumes: Zara Mirkin
Tableau performers: Monica Hernandez, Kalena Yiaueki, and Samira Alfarius
Additional DJ Set: Joey LaBeija