Gerard & Kelly: P.O.L.E. (People, Objects, Language, Exchange)


Gerard & Kelly’s new project continues their longstanding investigation into intimacy, relationships, and cultural transmission via vernaculars of pole dancing.

Cover Image: “Open Pole,” as part of “Gerard & Kelly: P.O.L.E. (People, Objects, Language, Exchange)” at the New Museum, 2014­–15. Pictured: Keisha Franklin

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Presented as part of the “New Museum R&D Season: CHOREOGRAPHY”

Gerard & Kelly (Brennan Gerard and Ryan Kelly) work within an interdisciplinary framework to create project-based installations and performances that use choreography, writing, and a range of other mediums to address questions of sexuality, collective memory, and the formation of queer consciousness. As the culminating event in a six-month Research and Development residency at the New Museum, their two-week exhibition “P.O.L.E. (People, Objects, Language, Exchange)” explores fleeting encounters and processes of history and memory via sculpture, video, and live performance.


Two Brothers
Performed daily at 1 p.m., 3 p.m., and 5 p.m.
Featuring TyTy Love, Roz “The Diva” Mays, Forty Smooth, Tatyana St. Louis, Justin Tate, Tyke Turner

Performed daily* between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. (*except February 4 & 14)
Featuring Lauren Bakst

“Open Pole”
Thursday February 5 and Thursday February 12, 7–9 p.m.
Co-hosted by the Chosen Ones and We Live This

“P.O.L.E.” considers different kinds of kinship, from blood ties to platonic love to political allegiance. The manifestations of—and threats to—such bonds are evident in the performances and objects in this exhibition, which includes an installation comprising two sixteen-foot brass poles for dancing. These poles stretch from the floor to the ceiling and displace panels from the gallery’s drop ceiling. The installation also includes plywood sculptures constructed using materials reclaimed from the artists’ previous installation on the Museum’s Fifth Floor. These objects are presented alongside a video piece made in the aftermath of the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, as well as Gran Fury’s iconic SILENCE = DEATH (1987) sign, first shown at the New Museum in 1987 by curator William Olander, a member of ACT UP. The neon sign, distinctly and instantly recognizable as politically and historically significant, illuminates Gerard & Kelly’s exhibition and encourages us to reconsider relationships across moments and movements.

Two Brothers, a score for two performers and two poles, utilizes a highly choreographed form of pole dancing to highlight physical and mental, actual and metaphorical, efforts to reconcile forces of suspension and gravity. Reverberations, a second score, recalls and transmits events—from public conversations to protests to pole-dancing classes—that have taken place over the course of the duo’s residency.

Coinciding with the Museum’s Pay-What-You-Wish Thursday evenings, two final installments of “Open Pole” provide an open-mic-style, improvisatory platform for pole-dancing hosted by crews of subway dancers.

This exhibition concludes Gerard & Kelly’s six-month residency, organized as part of the New Museum’s R&D Season: CHOREOGRAPHY and curated by Johanna Burton, Keith Haring Director and Curator of Education and Public Engagement. The residency included an extended period of research comprising public programs, workshops, dance classes, and exploratory installations.

Fifth Floor Gallery | October 8, 2014–January 25, 2015
Gerard & Kelly transformed the Fifth Floor gallery into a space for fieldwork, movement practice, and interactive research. In this gallery, video stations displayed media related to dance, performance, sculpture, intimate exchange, and collective memory, which could be viewed while lounging on mattresses distributed throughout the space. The gallery also contained practice poles for dancing and occasionally for practical skilling by the artists, their collaborators, and the public.

“In Bed With…”
This series featured two-on-one encounters exploring questions of precarity and work, the transmission of performance scores, choreography, objects, and poetry. These conversations took place on the mattresses in the Fifth Floor gallery.

October 29, 2014: In Bed With…Chris Kraus
November 1, 2014: In Bed With…Andrea Fraser
December 13, 2014: In Bed With…Heather McGhee
January 10, 2015: In Bed With…Tere O’Connor

Open Pole
During “Pay-What-You-Wish” Thursday evenings from 7 to 9 p.m., the public is invited to observe and participate in pole-dancing classes and practice sessions.

November 6*
November 13
November 20*
December 4
December 11*
January 8
January 15*
January 22*
February 5 (co-hosted by The Chosen Ones and We Live This)
February 11 (co-hosted by The Chosen Ones and We Live This)

*Class with Keisha Franklin, yoga, dance, and pole instructor at Shockra Studio

Workshop as Work: Reusable Parts/Endless Love
Curious as to how a work of performance has multiple lives—both as something to be watched and experienced as a reader and as something to be done and experienced as a participant—Gerard & Kelly reformatted an existing project into a public workshop that took place in the New Museum Theater. This workshop tested intimate scores with larger groups and explored transmission of work entering its second and third “generation.”

December 7, 2014: Workshop as Work: Reusable Parts/Endless Love

CLASSCLASSCLASS at the New Museum: January 28–February 13, 2015
Augmenting their residency, Gerard & Kelly have invited New York City–based CLASSCLASSCLASS (CCC) to operate its program of process-based, affordable dance classes in the New Museum Theater. CCC has made a significant intervention into education in the fields of performance and dance and has structured a production model that relates to broader explorations of alternative ecologies for working and living. Classes are open to adult dancers and non-dancers from the general public.

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Artist residencies at the New Museum are made possible, in part, by Laurie Wolfert.
Additional support is provided by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Endowment support is provided by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Skadden, Arps Education Programs Fund, and the William Randolph Hearst Endowed Fund for Education Programs at the New Museum.

Related Events


On _Reverberations_

Lauren Bakst was the R&D Season Fellow for CHOREOGRAPHY. In a series of three texts published on Six Degrees, Bakst shares several lines of inquiry she pursued while researching the R&D Season’s thematic during her residency, addressing how considerations of subjectivity, affect, memory, and history can be taken up through the skilled dancer’s body and choreographic forms within exhibitionary spaces. During my time as the R&D Season Fellow at the New Museum, one of my primary responsibilities… Read more

by Lauren Bakst, R&D Season Fellow
Lauren Bakst
Gerard & Kelly
R&D Season
R&D Season Fellow

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