The John Galt Performance Group


Galt events unite the disciplines of installation, performance, film, and psychoanalytic theory. Galt performances are “invitation only” private events that are embedded within an unrestricted public installation. Attendees or “witnesses” are given the opportunity to interact with the objects in the installation and with any of the individuals attending the more “public” art display. The resulting interplay between John Galt, the different audiences, and the static objects that propel and collapse the various temporal and performative planes, produces a dialogic message about the role of the artist and the audience in the act of creating art.

  • Where is John Galt? The Millennium project, 1999 – present

An Internet project that is tracking the whereabouts of John Galt who disappeared sometime after 1998 with unknown objects from the Institute of Cultural Inquiry (ICI). Galt sightings are being carefully charted on a map after ICI Associates began to suspect that the travel tracings follow the contours of the objects Galt removed from the ICI.

Production and Exhibition History: Initiated in collaboration with Blast 5 (X-Art Foundation) in 1997, it evolved into an ongoing ICI Internet project. A visual dialogue between the Institute and a Galt enthusiast in the U.K. was enacted in 2005 as part of the enthusiast’s Master’s thesis project.

  • Autotoxicus (1994)

Galt returns after a sojourn in the deserts of Africa. His frail state attests to the calamities of that continent. The performance centers on the fin de siècle fear of body fluids. After immersion in these fluids, images appear on Galt’s garments as a sign of hope and regeneration.

Production and Exhibition History: Institute of Cultural Inquiry, in conjunction with Traumbagger

  • The Blind Run (1991)

Galt as Educator. Participants were challenged to think about how information is passed from one generation to the next especially through rituals that fall outside the academy or the church. The installation design was inspired by the medieval library/laboratory and included a suspended “brain.”

Production and Exhibition History: SITE, Los Angeles

  • You Are What You Made Me, 1990

Galt questions the heady Los Angeles art world of the late 1980s. The installation was inspired by Herman Hesse’s Magister Ludi and the Glass Bead Game. Visitors found jars with their name etched on the surface and objects inside as a form of visual critique.

Production and Exhibition History: SITE, Los Angeles. Part of the Los Angeles Fringe Festival.

  • The John Galt Bottles, 1990-91

Visual “essences” of key art world players are bottled as a form of visual critique.

Production and Exhibition History: Bottles sent through the mail during the Fall 1990. A special series entitled the Golden Age of Art is displayed at the seminal “Store Show” at the Richard Bennett Gallery in 1991 and became part of the Peter and Eileen Norton Family Foundation (later Peter Norton Family Foundation).