SiteWorks: San Francisco performance 1969-85

Reese Palley Gallery, 140 Maiden Lane, now Xanadu Gallery

Tom Marioni as Allan Fish, Allan Fish Drinks a Case of Beer (10th August 1971)



In 1969 I had to have a way of exhibiting because I felt like exhibiting. It was too politically complicated to try to exhibit my work and be a curator at the same time for a combination of reasons which are probably obvious. So I had to exhibit under another name. I created a fictitious character, Allan Fish. And when it was no longer necessary to be concerned about those things, then I announced, by way of a transformation piece, that I was Allan Fish […] Last Summer I did a piece called Allan Fish Drinks a Case of Beer, which has to do with creating a situation, an environment, while becoming increasingly more intoxicated over about an eight hour period. The Reese Palley Gallery bought a case of Becks beer for me. I put it in the refrigerator, and had the refrigerator in the gallery. I had all the things in the gallery that I needed to be comfortable. I had a TV set, my easy chair, a tape recorder, a refrigerator, and a can opener hanging down on a string from the ceiling. To separate myself from people that came into the gallery. I ran thread at about 30-degree angle across the room. The thread was white for the first foot, and then it was black across the room, and then it was white for the last foot against the wall. It looked like thin black lines floating, the kind of lines you see on your TV screens when you get disturbance. I tried to create an image with lines across it that would serve as a barrier. The lines also served as a screen, a projection of everything that was in the room, tending to make it all two-dimensional, as in a painting. I also had my conga drum there. I played my conga drum while the tape recorder, the radio, and the television set and the phonograph records were all playing simultaneously. I had a barrage of noise. Later in the day, as I was very drunk, those were the kinds of sounds I needed to keep me going. At a point when I was very drunk, I drew lines on the right side of my face and the left side of my face that suggested the contours of my own face moving around the left side of my face, so that it appeared, as in Futurist paintings, that I was moving fast when I couldn’t move fast. To compensate, I drew these lines to make it look like I was moving faster than I was. (Marioni in Vergine 2000: 143-4).