December 16, 2009

AMHERST, Mass.—On Saturday, Dec. 19, at 2 p.m. in AmherstCollege’s KeefeCampusCenter atrium and at 4 p.m. in the school’s Alumni Gymnasium, the Mead Art Museum will Webstream Attempting Necromancy with Wm. Blake, a groundbreaking performance by the artist Abby Donovan that will take place in the European Ceramic Work Centre in the Netherlands and broadcast around the world. The performance will be Webstreamed live at 2 p.m. from Europe and then rebroadcast at 4 p.m.; AmherstCollege junior Kyle Ramsay and senior Geoffrey Giller will coordinate the broadcast at both campus locations using a movie screen, projector and laptop. Both events are free and open to the public.

Attempting Necromancy with Wm. Blake is a two-person performance in which the blinded and later deafened Donovan, trailed by her adversarial assistant, engages in a futile effort to levitate a clay phrase by the British Romantic poet, painter and printmaker William Blake, “FOR LO FUTURITY IS IN THIS MOMENT.” As the artist explains, this choreographed but unrehearsed piece offers “an earnest, absurd and somewhat sad exploration of the act of human creation.”

Donovan’s artistic practice involves actions, performances and material constructions. An assistant professor of art at the University of Delaware, her recent projects include THESE THE HEAVENS OF MY BRAIN, a September 2009 performance in the 13th Annual DUMBO Art Under the Bridge Festival in Brooklyn, N.Y.; De Umbris Idearum, a live Webcast included in the exhibition Truth at the Pispala Contemporary Art Centre in Tampere, Finland; The Cloud of Disquiet, a permanent sculptural installation at the University of Oregon completed in May 2009 and funded by the Oregon Arts Commission, in Portland, Ore.; the Meaning Tor, an interactive installation and performance piece with takt kunstprojektraum and the Skulpturenpark Berlin_Zentrum, in Berlin, Germany; and Trying to Read The Rubaiyat, a robotic exhibition at Makerfaire Austin 2008, in Austin, Texas. In 2010, Donovan will undertake the networked performance Transmissions from Another World as part of V Mobilefest at the Museu da Imagem e de Som, in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The MeadArt Museum houses the art collection of AmherstCollege, totaling more than 16,000 works. An accredited member of the American Association of Museums, the Mead participates in Museums10, a regional cultural collaboration. During the academic term, the museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to midnight and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information, please visit the museum’s Web site, www.amherst/museums/mead, or call 413-542-2335.