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October 16, 2019Cart


by Fairfield County Business Journal

Performance art at The Aldrich

The structure as built in the museum. That box in the upper right is the enclosed composting toilet.

The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield is presenting an unusual exhibition now through April 22, 2018. Not only are the artists on display with their art, they actually become the art. 

In the exhibition “Alex Schweder and Ward Shelley: Your Turn,” Alex Schweder and Ward Shelley occupy an architectural environment built for two. In a series of performances, they share amenities while engaging the public with their physical activities and conversations. Schweder and Shelley demonstrate not only the balance needed to successfully work in a partnership, but also the social balance needed to share resources limited by the confines of their construction. They’re scheduled to be in the exhibition between Nov. 30 and Dec. 10.

In addition to the performance art, an adjacent gallery displays their paintings and renderings. The performance art is staged in a 24-foot-high living environment, complete with a bed, a desk, an easy chair, a kitchen, a sink, and an enclosed composting toilet. Part of the performance art deals with their success or conflict in sharing these facilities.

Alex Schweder and Ward Shelley, conceptual perspective drawing for Your Turn, 2015 (Proposal for The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum), digital rendering.

The artists’ lives, while within the structure, will be on public view when the museum is open. Visitors are encouraged by the artists to engage them in conversation. When awake, Schweder and Shelley will each read, work, prepare meals, and complete acts of simple daily hygiene.

Schweder received a bachelor’s degree from the Pratt Institute School of Architecture, a master’s from the Princeton University School of Architecture, and a doctorate from the University of Cambridge in England. 

Shelley received a bachelor’s degree from Eckerd College and a master’s degree from New York University.