Morgan O’Hara’s Live Transmission drawings are made as the artist watches specific activities being performed with the observed movements conveyed via pencils to paper as the artist focuses solely on the trajectories of movement of the performers themselves. The resulting drawings are blind artifacts, documenting the artist’s direct translation of the movements observed – a unique interpretation of “drawing from life.” Morgan O’Hara began making her Live Transmission drawings in 1981 and they have been exhibited internationally in museums and alternative spaces. Shown at Gracie Mansion in 1997, the current exhibit is the first of O’Hara’s Live Transmission drawings in New York in twenty years.
Morgan O’Hara has been a notable member of the international performance community for over forty years. She has documented the activities of musicians, dancers, performance artists, actors, politicians, laborers, orators, and many others. The current exhibition focuses on drawings of many widely known performers including Cecil Taylor, Nam June Paik, Marina Abramović, Hermann Nitsch, Martha Rosler, Marcel Broodthaers, Merce Cunningham and The Wooster Group (with Willem Defoe and Spaulding Grey), among others. Also being shown are drawings documenting recent political oratory and debate by George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and others, including Donald Trump’s inaugural speech and Barack Obama’s final press conference.
In addition to her Live Transmission drawings, Morgan O’Hara has meticulously documented her own activities and those of others in Time Studies which she first begun in 1975. Other ongoing series include Portraits For The Twenty-First Century, comprising155 portraits of individuals based on their individual geographic displacement patterns, large site-specific wall drawings and The Encyclopedia Of Live Transmission, a series of thematic volumes, begun in 2000, organizing the hundreds of performative drawings the artist has made. Taken as a whole, Morgan O’Hara’s work represents a notable, if under-recognized, contribution to the canon of performance and conceptual art.
Morgan O’Hara was born in Los Angeles, CA and grew up in post-war Japan. She received her MFA from California State University, Los Angeles and has lived in Berkley, Paris, Berlin, Italy and since 2011, in New York. O’Hara continues to work internationally in performance art festivals, mentor young artists, and teaches master classes in drawing and the psychology of creativity.