Can People Heal Art? An Art "Opening"
If art can heal people, can people heal art? This is the question I explored with artist Ana Prvacki in “Art ‘Opening’,” a 1997 experimental performance piece in New York City.
Over the course of a day, five artists (Ana Prvacki plus Warren Neidich, Lee Emma Running, Stuart Solzberg and Alex Yudzon) received a shiatsu treatment from me, aimed at bringing their life energy, or qi, into balance. Each artist brought along a work of their own (including paintings and sculpture) that they felt also needed treatment. After consulting with the artist and sensing the artwork’s qi, I attempted with my hands to give the artwork healing attention, rebalance its energies, and bring it to its fullest aesthetic potential. The performace was videotaped by Rona Mark (Strange Girls) and Tim Sheehy, and shown that evening in the fashion of an “Art Opening”.
The results were surprising. I found that I could actually sense meridians of energy running along the artworks, and that the energy sometimes appeared deficient or blocked around the very aspects of the work that their artists had the most trouble with. The artists themselves reported that they enjoyed the shiatsu but more importantly found my treatment of their artwork cathartic in terms of their relationship to the work.