Zefrey Throwell: Wall Street Exposed 


2011

by Susannah Tantemsapya 


Ocularpation: Wall Street occurred at 7:00am on Monday, August 1, 2011. New York–based artist Zefrey Throwell orchestrated a mass performance of 50 people playing roles representing a cross sample of workers from the neighborhood based on statistical information – this includes not only stock brokers but also gym trainers, janitors, secretaries and a hot dog vendor played by Throwell himself.

This five-minute performance required everyone to get completely… naked. Three of the performers were arrested. It has been written up in the New York Times more than once. Then, a month and a half later – Occupy Wall Street, the biggest movement of our generation, was born. The timing (and the name) is uncanny.

Throwell wanted to make a statement after his mother lost her savings in the 2008 crash when she had to re-enter the workforce, coming out of retirement. This is “an absurdist Freudian nightmare,” says Throwell, is a social commentary on the lack of transparency on Wall Street – the iconic symbol of our financial system

Wanna see more naked bodies in protest? MoMA is presenting Spark in the Tinderbox, a screening of Ocularpation: Wall Street (and other works) on November 14th, 7:00pm. AndI’ll Raise You One... is a week-long continuous strip poker game performed in the public realm in conjuction with Performa 11, Nov 12 – 19, 10:30am – 6:00pm daily, Art in General, 79 Walker Street.



Drea Bernardi playing her part in Zefrey Throwell’s Ocularpation: Wall Street, August 1, 2011, New York
Photo by Michael Nagle for the New York Times


A participant prepares to strip for Zefrey Throwell’s Ocularpation: Wall Street, August 1, 2011, New York
Photo by Hal Horowitz

An eventually detained, half-naked participant in Zefrey Throwell’s Ocularpation: Wall Street pretends to be dog-walker, August 1, 2011, New York
Photo by Anthony Miller


A handcuffed participant in Zefrey Throwell’s Ocularpation: Wall Street is led to a police car, August 1, 2011, New York
Photo by Anthony Miller

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