Performance artist Shaun "El Conquistador" Leonardo debuts The Arena, a new work that will be accompanied by a concert, Radical Presence, by contemporary classical group Musiqa. The event marks the premiere of the performance and is an extension of CAMH’s group exhibition Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art. There will be two performances at the Progressive Amateur Boxing Association (PABA). The event is co-presented by CAMH, Musiqa, and Project Row Houses.
In The Arena, Leonardo and his opponent will enact a battle reminiscent of a Greco-Roman wrestling match. Set on a dream-like stage, the performance explores issues of male intimacy, hyper-masculine ideals, and violence. The concert features Musiqa percussionists Craig Hauschildt, Alec Warren, and Blake Wilkins who will perform improvised music that mirrors the action of the match. To enhance the traditional formality of authentic wrestling matches, attendees are requested to wear "creative black tie."
Shaun El C. Leonardo is a New York-based multidisciplinary artist who blends personal narrative and pop-cultural iconography from his childhood within self-portraiture as a means to convey the complexities of masculine identity. His work takes the form of cutout paintings, drawings and sculptures, as well as performance. Leonardo is one of 37 artists featured in the exhibition Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art, which is on view through February 15, 2013