By Nancy Popp

(Back to Art on the Grounds)

Los Angeles-based artist Nancy Popp will mark the trajectory of her body through the buildings and grounds of Montalvo using a florescent orange mason line. During a 3 hour period, Popp will traverse public pathways and off-limit areas, including trees and buildings, and explore how our experience of public space is structured through spatial boundaries and written and unwritten codes of use. Envisioned as a three-dimensional drawing, parts of the orange mason line will remain up on the grounds as visible evidence of the movement of Popp’s body through Montalvo’s grounds.

This intervention develops out of Popp’s series Untitled (street performances). In 2005, Popp commenced a series of climbing actions in which she daringly scaled urban infrastructure, in particular street lights, transforming their function and highlighting new and unexpected relationships between the body and the cityscape. Popp has performed these actions throughout the US and internationally. In 2010, she expanded this practice to include performances with mason line. As part of the Los Angeles performance festival, PERFORM! NOW!, Popp scaled walls and rooftops and traversed streets, alleys and intersections in the city’s Chinatown. She used  the visual trace of the mason line to mark the physical boundaries of the festival (the locations of participating galleries and featured performances), as well as the social borders between the local Chinese community and contemporary art community-two distinct constituencies who occupy the same urban area but seldom interact .

Popp is a visual arts fellow at Montalvo’s Lucas Artists Residency Program. While in residence she will make a series of topographical drawings mapping the sites of her past performances.