Pulling the Rug Out: An Interview with Lin Hixson

September 24, 2013 | Published Articles, Writing

Originally published in Art Slant:

Chicago, Sep. 2013: When I came to Chicago in 2004, Goat Island was a prominent feature in the performance art landscape. Its reputation extended beyond the Midwest, across the ocean to Europe. The group began in 1987 and, until its ninth and last performance in 2009, conscientiously developed a collaborative body of performance work. Co-founder and Director Lin Hixson since went on with Goat Island’s other co-founder, Matthew Goulish, to form a subsequent performance group, Every house has a door. For two weekends this October, Every house will premier its third work,Testimonium—a piece developed from the writing of Charles Reznikoff. I sat down with Hixson recently to discuss her life before Chicago, Goat Island and two upcoming Every house projects,Testimonium and—their performance archive project—9 Beginnings.

Testimonium, Every house has a door, 2012; Photo by John Sission / Pictured right to left: Bryan Saner, Stephen Fiehn, Tim Kinsella, Theo Skatsaounis, Bobby Burg.

Caroline Picard: How did you get your start in Los Angeles?

Lin Hixson: I had a loft, 1804 Industrial Street, where we did lots of performances illegally until we got shut down by the fire department. I got my masters degree at Otis Art Institute in LA. At that time Mike Kelley was working, Paul McCarthy, Rachel Rosenthal, Chris Burden, Barbara Smith; it was a very active performance scene and I got a job out of graduate school as performance coordinator at a place called Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions—which is still in existence.

CP:  You were making performance also?

LH: It was an amazing scene. I made performance there for ten years. I was in a group called Hangers, a collaborative group made up of eight artists and dancers and people with theater training. Hangers ended after about four or five years and then I started doing very large scale pieces in LA, you know with like fifty people, for example, a motorcycle gang, high school cheerleaders. I was interested in bringing different constituencies together. These pieces were very large scale and site specific, at train stations, loading docks. The work was fairly young and out of control. read more