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Neil Goldberg Brings Inhibited Bites, Life Improbable as Science Fiction, to the Idea Foundry through the Wexner Center

Richard Sanford Richard Sanford Neil Goldberg Brings Inhibited Bites, Life Improbable as Science Fiction, to the Idea Foundry through the Wexner CenterNeil Goldberg's one-man show Inhibited Bites to the Idea Foundry on February 21.
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Time Out New York said artist Neil Goldberg “imbues familiar visions with unexpected associations and unforeseen grace.” In collaboration with CCAD, where Goldberg is both teaching and giving a public lecture on February 22, the Wexner Center brings his beguiling one-man show Inhibited Bites to the Idea Foundry on February 21. I spoke with Goldberg before his inaugural Columbus visit.

The New York Times calls Inhibited Bites “a high-concept game of mental solitaire lightly inflected with Henny Youngman.” On the genesis of the work, Goldberg said, “It’s about the strangeness of being alive in our bodies. That interest has been in my work since the beginning. To me, it’s always felt like if you’re making a science fiction movie: you’re making a film about our condition on this planet. It’s filled with all these creatures who are constantly chasing each other. When one catches the other, they kill it and consume it, and that’s how they live. That always felt improbable to me, even as science fiction, but it’s the situation we find ourselves in.”

“Originally, the piece originally mostly used my own video work as a backdrop for these lightly-scripted and semi-improvised stories. Over the last year, the piece evolved. It’s become much more about using these index cards I’ve been keeping for about a million years – over 1,200, I recently did a count. I use these to create a largely improvised performance using the cards as props.”

Neil Goldberg's one-man show Inhibited Bites to the Idea Foundry on February 21.

Neil Goldberg’s one-man show Inhibited Bites to the Idea Foundry on February 21.

Outlining the show, Goldberg continued, “So I have a stack of cards, and I use that to let the progress of the evening and its outcome become up for grabs. Usually, I take a big stack and shuffle the cards to determine the evening, but I’ve done it a bunch of ways. I’ve divided cards out thematically and shuffled those. Working with material that’s identifiable but not presenting it in a worked-out way lets it be metabolized in a fresh way for the audience.”

The show has taken many forms, recently including an all-day marathon in an NYC gallery and a series of conversations with artists Goldberg admires. Goldberg talked about the show as constantly in flux; he’s always discovering new things. “That said, I don’t want to be the guy in college who had taken up juggling, but his way of learning to juggle was to go out on the street with a hat in front of him. Asking people to pay you to practice. I hope I’m not that person.”

We talked about this performance as one of the rare Wexner events (so far) to be in an off-campus space. Goldberg said, “I feel like the biggest difference in the show isn’t geographical; it’s about the setting. Each iteration has its own discoveries and pleasures. The original proposal included my video work, but now I think maybe it’ll organically alternate between these improvised index-card bits and things I have to say that would necessarily connect with my visual work.”

“If I think about what the aspirations are for my work, I would love for it to offer possibilities for people to think about experiences aspects of life differently and being attuned to things they weren’t attuned to or noticing thoughts they might not have noticed. This piece is in a permanent state of being unresolved. That’s what keeps me interested in it.”

Inhibited Bites takes place at the Idea Foundry Wednesday, February 21 at 8:00 p.m. For tickets and more info, visit https://wexarts.org/performing-arts/neil-goldberg-inhibited-bites

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