Sudden as a Massacre

Art / Kate Gilmore

:: Sudden as a Massacre ::

Kate Gilmore; “Sudden as a Massacre”; PICA Time Based Art Festival; Portland, Oregon; 2011


From the artist

:: Account ::

“Sudden as a Massacre” is a video made in 2011 for PICA Time Based Art Festival in Portland, Oregon. Originally, a version of this piece had been performed at Pace Gallery in 2011. In the original performance (“Through the Claw”), a group of women tear apart a 7,500 pound cube of wet clay and throw it at the walls, floors, ceiling, and occasionally at the audience. This turned out to be one of my favorite performances, so I decided to redo a version of it for the video in Oregon—the result is “Sudden as a Massacre.” “Sudden as a Massacre” had a similar configuration of clay and women, but the walls were a vibrant yellow and it was performed for the camera. The video played alongside the resulting installation. The performers in both of these works were amazing—the New York version consisted of former students or individuals I had worked with before. The Oregon piece was more complicated as I am not from there, so I relied on the staff and curator to organize the performers. In both of these pieces the force and energy of these women to destroy this historical and political object appears as a deep and intense necessity.


Kate Gilmore was born in Washington, D.C., in 1975 and lives and works in New York, NY. Gilmore received her MFA from the School of Visual Arts, New York, NY (2002) and her Bachelors degree from Bates College, Lewiston, ME (1997). She has participated in the 2010 Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY, The Moscow Biennial, Moscow, Russia (2011), PS1 Greater New York, MoMA/PS1, New York, NY (2005 and 2010), in addition to solo exhibitions at The Everson Museum, Syracuse, NY, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CT (2014), MoCA Cleveland, Cleveland, OH (2013), Public Art Fund, Bryant Park, New York, NY (2010), Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, PA (2008), Contemporary Art Center, Cincinnati, OH (2006). She has been the recipient of several international awards and honors such as the Guggenheim Fellowship (2018), Art Prize/Art Juried Award, Grand Rapids, Michigan (2015), Rauschenberg Residency Award, Rauschenberg Foundation, Captiva, FL (2014), Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome (2007/2008), The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award, New York, NY (2009/2010), Art Matters Grant, New York, NY (2012), Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Award for Artistic Excellence, New York, NY (2010), the Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance, New York, NY (2006), “In the Public Realm,” Public Art Fund, New York, NY (2010), The LMCC Workspace Residency, New York, NY (2005), New York Foundation for The Arts Fellowship, New York, NY (2012 and 2005), and the Marie Walsh Sharpe Space Residency, Brooklyn, NY (2010). Her work is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, California; Rose Art Museum, Waltham, Massachusetts; Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indiana, Indianapolis; and Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Illinois. Gilmore is an Associate Professor of Art and Design at Purchase College, SUNY, Purchase, NY.