All the Holidays

All At Once

MTAA's All the Holidays All At Once (AHAAO)

The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum June 26 to October 2, 2011

The year slips by and winter turns to spring, then summer, then fall.

One day you hang a flag on the Fourth of July, the next day you take down the ghosts of Halloween.

In the summer of 2011, in a new installation for The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum's sculpture garden, the artists MTAA will attempt to collapse time and space with a celebration of "All the Holidays All At Once"!

Call for participation!

We need your holiday-themed lawn ornaments, decorations, &c

For the installation we are looking for temporary loans of your favorite holiday-themed lawn ornaments and decorations. Send us your Valentine's Day heart hanging down in the basement, the inflatable Thanksgiving turkey stored away in the attic, and your giant electric Easter bunny out in the garage. Together they will create a procession of celebration at the museum from June 26 to October2, 2011.

In exchange for your help, MTAA would like to give you a 11x17 signed "Print of Thanks." The print will certify your decorations are not only Museum-quality but also much loved and appreciated. We would also like to invite you to a summer performance within the installation. In this performance/ picnic, we will literally attempt to celebrate all the holidays all at once with you.

You can (and should) participate!

If you would like to participate in the project with a loan of an outdoor Holiday decoration or if you have any questions, please email Michael of MTAA at mriver [at] mteww [dot] com with the subject line "AHAAO." Please include your contact information and a brief description of your decoration.

Drop-off dates & locations

Brooklyn: June 5th, 2-6PM
MTAA's studio
N. 6th St. Williamsburg, Brooklyn (map)

Connecticut: week of April 25
The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
258 Main St, Ridgefield, CT (map)
Also, special arrangements can be made for local pick-up of over-sized objects on April 29 and 30th.

About MTAA

MTAA is a Brooklyn-based artists’ collective that originated in 1996 and comprises Michael Sarff and Tim Whidden. The practice of this troupe is based in performance and relies on the participation of the community to create the work, which is generally ephemeral. For example, earlier this year MTAA built a commercially available barn by asking the general public to vote online to decide whether it should have windows and where, what color it should be, and if the construction crew should take coffee breaks. Once the votes were in, the performative aspect of the work was initiated by raising the collectively designed barn in compliance with the voters’ requests.

In a similar strategy, the 2008 Automatic for the People project listed ten elements typical of art performances and asked the public to vote which of those should be included in MTAA's performance for SFMOMA. The title of the performance, We Solemnly Promise That No One Will Get Naked, was voted on, as well as the props, cultural references, refreshments offered, and wardrobe — which explains the performers' robot attire.

Other projects have included the public's participation on a less-than-voluntary basis. For the video WantV2 the artists created sentences by using live Internet searches and adding "I want" before the words the public looked for. These sentences were read out loud and captured in a video that showed both artists staring in opposite directions, while simultaneously articulating phrases such as "I want New York City tour" and "I want free older women."

About All the Holidays All At Once

For their project at The Aldrich, the artists' are making an open call to the community asking for the temporary loan of holiday-themed lawn ornaments in order to display them in the sculpture garden. The call is being made through posts at the Museum, local papers, Craigslist, as well as right here at

Decorations celebrating holidays as varied as New Year's, Martin Luther King Day, President's Day, Chinese New Year, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Easter, Independence Day, Halloween, Day of the Dead, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa will be arranged in a parade-like procession. A picnic/performance during the summer will attempt to celebrate all the holidays at once over the course of the picnic.

This project, like most of MTAA's inclusive and participatory projects, deliberately attempts to blur the boundary between artist as active producer and audience as passive receptor. These artists commend themselves by creating work whose material form is secondary, thus placing primary relevance upon the voting, the performance, and the Web discussions, all of which favor the idea rather than the object. And the fact of coming together to accomplish something, to democratically organize ourselves to create something — even if that something may seem absurd — is a great testimonial to the potential of engaging and feeling engaged, and the different strategies that led to that accomplishment.

MTAA, 2011