Dancing In The Oval Office (2019)
A solo exhibition at Microscope Gallery, from October 18 – December 1, 2019, Dancing In The Oval Office featured works in performance, installation, video and painting made in response to the 2016 election and Trump presidency. The title piece is a performance and installation that found Kotak dancing continuously each day of the exhibit within a recreation and personal reinterpretation of the White House Oval Office. As is a custom in her family, I used dance in this work as a way to transform my daily anxieties into a cathartic and liberating act, seeking to reclaim my right to joy as an individual and an American, standing in opposition to those who abuse power, or use fear and other authoritarian methods. I encouraged as many people as possible to join in and dance with me daily in the gallery and was present in the dancing in the gallery throughout the run of the exhibition, 161 hours in total.
Other works on view on the walls surrounding the installation included three new series of twelve oil pastel on wood panel paintings titled the Raising Baby X - Herstory Paintings. Each featured multi-colored text — often re-written over, overlapped, or erased — extracted from her diary entries from each month of the past three years. Additionally, a series of ink and oil pastel drawings and writings on actual $1 bills, framed in gold memorabilia cases, pushed the political undertones of the exhibition further and reminded us of the values of people’s lives over those of convention and commerce.