Sharon Hayes: I March in the Parade…


To coincide with the re-opening of the New Museum, Sharon Hayes’s I March in the Parade of Liberty but as Long as I Love You I’m Not Free will be presented in the 7th floor Sky Room from September 25 to November 30, 2020.

Cover Image:

Sharon Hayes, I March in the Parade of Liberty but as Long as I Love You I’m Not Free, 2007-8. Performance documentation. Photo: Andrea Geyer.

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The work is returning to the New Museum after it was originally commissioned and exhibited here more than 12 years ago. Sharon Hayes works in performance, video, and installation, creating situations that expose dramatic frictions between collectivity and personal action. With interventions that are inspired by the language of politics and the dramaturgy of theater, Hayes has staged protests, delivered speeches, and organized demonstrations in which crowds and individuals are invited to rethink their roles in the construction of public opinion.

I March in the Parade of Liberty but as Long as I Love You I’m Not Free originally took the form of a series of performances realized on the streets of New York in the days around the reopening of the New Museum at its current site at 235 Bowery in December 2007. The recordings of the performances were simultaneously presented as an audio installation in the Shaft Space between the museum’s Third and Fourth Floors. Equipped with a bullhorn, Hayes walked to different street corners in the neighborhood to recite a love letter to an unnamed partner for an audience of onlookers and passersby. Delivered amidst the shadow of the Iraq War, the performance took the form of a public confession combining the idiom of politics, the transmission of secrets, and the language of love. Hayes’s text drew upon specific historical sources ranging from Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis to language borrowed from Gay Liberation Day parades of the 1970s. This repetition of historical speech is a common strategy in Hayes’s work and reflects the embeddedness of personal and collective memories within shared public spaces and the feelings of absence, desire, longing, and loss that inflect the experience of moving through the city. Re-presented again at the Museum more than a decade after its creation, and marking another reopening after the six-month closure due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, I March in the Parade… creates an echo between New York City now and multiple points in the past.

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