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.