Cat’s Den–What is usually a lounge for casual games of pool, competitive rounds of gaming, and the occasional line of coke in the bathroom for many UK students became the centerpiece for a mesmerizing display of modern performance art today as local artist Kathleen Bendir brought her working exhibit ‘Furthest’ to the Cat’s Den.
Bendir, 26, is currently a grad student in Fine Arts at the University. ‘Furthest’ is the culmination of work she has been putting together since her freshman year of high school and represents what she calls “the evolution of myself as an artist from young womanhood to the bloodthirsty 21st century world of performance art”. ‘Performance art’ was a phrase often repeated by visitors to the installation today as Bendir waded inbetween displays of tissues used to clean nosebleeds when she was 17 and a pair of ballet flats once worn by the artist nailed into what is believed to be a driftwood sculpture of a tortoise. As onlookers observed the various pieces of the installation, Bendir would occassionally come within an inch of their left ears and begin whisper-singing theme songs to 20th century sitcoms that most of the patrons had never seen a single episode of.
One visitor, who was regaled with the story of Gilligan’s Island as he tried to look at an image of the artist that had been created with many tiny photos of the last ten Popes and one of Beat poet Allen Ginsberg, remarked,”This is definitely the most emotionally evocative exhibit I’ve ever had the pleasure of viewing here at the University of Kentucky.”
Student Body President Roshan Palli spent twenty minutes listening and re-listening to a casette player with a recording of Bendir singing a cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘Mrs. Robinson’ backwards, accompanied by thirteen men blowing over the tops of jugs of varying sizes. When asked for his thoughts on Bendir’s entire installation, Palli only said, “Riveting. Absolutely riveting,” before returning to other incredibly important endeavors elsewhere on campus.
Bendir’s installation has been considered a rousing success by the artist and employees of the Cat’s Den, who spent three to four hours helping assemble a statue of crooner Frank Sinatra, originally constructed out of beer cans that Bendir had believed had “sad eyes”. One employee remarked that “it’ll be hard to find anyone else with the kind of art that Kathy has brought to the table. She’s a real treat to have had here, and while it is unfortunate that one student was crushed to death when the stack of rocks completely covered in googly eyes fell over, we think that this one-day-only event will have people talking about our establishment for months to come!”
Kathleen Bendir will return to her graduate studies after a brief reprieve following the immediate closure of ‘Furthest’. She remains dedicated to her work, though, as she ended the exhibit by announcing she will begin work on her next installation, ‘Furthester OR How the Germans Conquered Pluto’s Moons’, once “the voice of inspiration again sings to her its ancient godsong.”
by Kurt Hornsby