a partnership between Beta-Local, Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University and Philadelphia Contemporary

Exhibition|September 10, 2020 – January 26, 2020 

VCU Institute for Contemporary Art 
601 W Broad St
Richmond, VA 23220 

Community Education Center
3500 Lancaster, Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19104

For Commonwealth, Sharon Hayes created a new work that extends her long interest in how intimate speech can also be political speech and in the interplay between one’s individual subjectivity and sense of belonging to a group. Ricerche: two is the third in a series in which she uses the format of the group interview to interrogate questions of identity, affinity, and difference among individuals who are bound together by choice and circumstance. In each Ricerche installment, Hayes interviews groups of people, soliciting multiple answers for each question and drawing out distinct and sometimes conflicting perspectives.

In Ricerche: two Hayes interviews players from two women’s tackle football teams: the Arlington Impact and the Dallas Elite Mustangs. Hayes prompts individual players to discuss their relationship with the sport, how they perceive playing football in relation to their own womanhood, and the sport’s impact on how they see themselves as mothers, daughters, workers, citizens, and sexual and romantic partners. The camera tracks the ripples of communal response: laughter, attentive listening, raised eyebrows, sideways glances, clapping, nodding, and hums of communal agreement or dissent. The teams of women are shown to be built from constant negotiations of trust, empathy, difference, and common purpose.  Filmed at close range, the women form a collective body, casually touching—a uniquely charged dynamic in an era of social distancing. For the work’s in-person premiere at the ICA, Hayes designed a wide, gently curving screen to evoke the embrace of a huddle.

Online Publication : http://commonwealths.art/sharon-hayes/ 


June, 2021 | Ricerche

The Glasgow Room at The Mitchell Library
North Street, G3 7DN

Sharon Hayes’ major new project with The Common Guild is the culmination of Ricerche, a suite of video works that the artist has been working on since 2013. Taking its title from the Italian word for researches, investigations, or essays, Ricerche adopts Pier Paolo Pasolini’s 1964 film, ‘Comizi d’amore’ (Love Meetings) as a structural guidepost. The result is a sustained investigation of public speech, and its intersections with history, politics, activism, queer theory, love and sexuality.

Ricerche feature a range of individuals: from poets and labourers to members of a women’s tackle football team, students at a women’s college in Massachusetts, and children of queer or gender non-conforming parents. Although filmed in the United States, the work resonates strikingly across societies elsewhere.

Presented by The Common Guild



Exhibition|September 25, 2020 – January 3, 2021

New Museum
235 Bowery
New York, NY 10002

The work is returning to the New Museum after it was originally commissioned and exhibited here more than 12 years ago. Sharon Hayes works in performance, video, and installation, creating situations that expose dramatic frictions between collectivity and personal action. With interventions that are inspired by the language of politics and the dramaturgy of theater, Hayes has staged protests, delivered speeches, and organized demonstrations in which crowds and individuals are invited to rethink their roles in the construction of public opinion.

I March in the Parade of Liberty but as Long as I Love You I’m Not Free originally took the form of a series of performances realized on the streets of New York in the days around the reopening of the New Museum at its current site at 235 Bowery in December 2007. The recordings of the performances were simultaneously presented as an audio installation in the Shaft Space between the museum’s Third and Fourth Floors. Equipped with a bullhorn, Hayes walked to different street corners in the neighborhood to recite a love letter to an unnamed partner for an audience of onlookers and passersby. Delivered amidst the shadow of the Iraq War, the performance took the form of a public confession combining the idiom of politics, the transmission of secrets, and the language of love. Hayes’s text drew upon specific historical sources ranging from Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis to language borrowed from Gay Liberation Day parades of the 1970s. This repetition of historical speech is a common strategy in Hayes’s work and reflects the embeddedness of personal and collective memories within shared public spaces and the feelings of absence, desire, longing, and loss that inflect the experience of moving through the city. Re-presented again at the Museum more than a decade after its creation, and marking another reopening after the six-month closure due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, I March in the Parade… creates an echo between New York City now and multiple points in the past.

More info : https://www.newmuseum.org/exhibitions/view/sharon-hayes-i-march-in-the-parade.


Neighborhood House Theater Christ Church
20 N. American Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Time Passes is an ongoing collaboration between Brooke O’Harra and Sharon Hayes that takes the audio book of Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse as its spine.

The performance is an 8-hour continuous event with Brooke, Sharon, our kid Alice, and our dog, Cosmos. We are interested (and challenged!) in this project, by time. We are performing with and through the book in its entirety as a proposal-in-performance to occupy Woolf’s deeply gendered containers of time and thought. In Woolf’s text, thought circulates about and as relationships–social relationships and familial relationships but also relations to desire, ambition and aesthetics, relations to race, class and the nation-state, relations to politics and to knowledge.

“I will invent a new name for my books to supplant ‘novel.’  A new _______ by Virginia Woolf.  But what?”  — (Virginia Woolf June, 1925)

Motivated by the way in which To the Lighthouse embraces landscapes of thought over or as action. We take up Woolf’s challenge of form to find a new relationship, for ourselves, to live performance.

The first iteration of the work was performed May 8, 2011 at the Performing Garage in New York City. We always intended to perform the work multiple times across a ten-year period. Time has gotten away from us, so to speak. This second iteration marks the first performance of the work in 7 years. This is also the first time Brooke and Sharon have presented their own performance work in Philadelphia since we relocated to the city in 2016. This iteration of Time Passes will be followed by others to be performed over the next two and a half years.

For more information: boharra@hotmail.com



New Museum
Sky Room

On December 1st, the annual Day Without Art—a national day of action in response to the AIDS crisis—the Department of Education and Public Engagement will present “Stonewall is Not Here Yet,” an afternoon of readings organized by artist Sharon Hayes and Chris E. Vargas on the occasion of the exhibition and residency “MOTHA and Chris E. Vargas: Consciousness Razing—The Stonewall Re-Memorialization Project. This event will bring together artists, lawyers, poets, and activists—including Janani Balasubramanian, Eduardo Restrepo Castaño, Joan Gibbs, and Río Sofia—to share texts that reflect on queer liberation and futurity.