What’s a fast way to up the ante for a game of strip poker? Call it performance art, and play it in front of an audience for seven days straight, as participants in the Performa 11 performance art festival plan to do.
Zefrey Throwell’s “I’ll Raise You One...,” a continuous strip poker session that began on Nov. 12, is giving passers-by a voyeuristic thrill in the Tribeca section of New York, where his performers are playing cards and shedding clothes in a gallery window, for all to see. Says Art in General, the gallery that commissioned the work, “At the end of each round, the players will get dressed and begin again, creating a meditative repetitious action that continues over the course of a workday.” Throwell is one of the players. The games start at 10:30 a.m. each morning, and conclude at 6 p.m.
Throwell, who is known for an August flash mob performance artwork called “Occularpation: Wall Street,” in which 50 performers dressed as bankers, custodians and assistants got naked in the middle of the street, says that his strip poker work is about the economy, too. As he told local blog DNA Info, strip poker is a metaphor in which clothes symbolize wealth — and those who are wearing the least clothing are the first to lose, unless they are very skilled players.
“Wealth is unequally distributed — yet we’re all expected to play by the same rules,” Throwell said. “It’s a political and economic criticism.”