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SiteWorks: San Francisco performance 1969-85

Pachyderm House with tapirs, San Francisco Zoo, 1 Zoo Road

Bonnie Sherk, Sitting Still II (1970)

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In a series of performances entitled Sitting Still, Sherk created eloquent images of solitude, speaking to her viewers through the sheer power of her presence and sensitizing them to the particular site chosen for each work.

This series took place in various locations in San Francisco beginning in October 1970. At the first performance, Sherk sat on a corner facing slow moving traffic (her audience) and watched the construction of the Army Street Circle. The following month Sherk, dressed in formal attire, sat silently in the midst of a flooded city dump at California and Montgomery Streets. That month Sherk also conducted her vigil at the San Francisco Zoo in a number of deserted and un-deserted animal cages (for example, Sherk and a man appeared in the Pachyderm House with South American tapirs).

The final piece in the Sitting Still series was presented in 1971. In this performance, called Public Lunch, the artist ceremoniously ate an elaborately catered lunch in an empty cage located next to a cage of lions during public feeding time at the zoo. (Roth 1983: 134)

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