Sowing the Seed: Sigrid Lauren x RTA

The New York performance artist transformed the RTA store into an immersive theater, in a new Frieze Week commission  

in Collaborations , Frieze New York | 19 MAY 23

The evening before the doors opened at the Shed to welcome guests to Frieze New York, a newly commissioned piece by Sigrid Lauren took over the RTA store in SoHo. Part response to the space, part call to action, Bass Seed was a unique Frieze Week performance by the New York-based artist, choreographer and ‘body lyricist’.

Performers, accompanied by the thumping of a live drummer, paraded the length of the store and into its striking, De Chirico-esque crimson arcade. They hung from metal ladders, papped the crowd and smashed (stage-prop) cocktail glasses.   

However, Bass Seed was more than just a fashion-y happening. Like a lot of Lauren’s work, it focused on the role of the body – clothed, unclothed, reflected, reframed, refashioned – and it responded to its setting and questioned it.  

Sigrid Lauren, Bass Seed for Frieze New York RTA
Sigrid Lauren, Bass Seed (2023), performance, ​​​​commissioned for RTA x Frieze Week New York 2023

Lauren has performed in environments as diverse as MoMA, the Ministry of Sound and Detroit airport and appeared in videos for artists including Grimes and Blood Orange. Bass Seed transformed the RTA store into a theater – a stage on which to display the human form but also an environment in which it is stripped and interrogated.  

As part of this public/private dialogue, Bass Seed didn’t cast its Frieze VIP audience as passive onlookers. Four performers in silvery body paint crossed the line of observer and observed, destabilising the notion of a retail space, while the drummer brought a visceral and disruptive immediacy. It was loud, basically. Reflecting on the membranes of human skin, percussive instruments and fashion garments, the piece built a series of physical and sonic vignettes into a cacophony that paid homage to contemporary revolt and resistance.  

Lauren’s Frieze performance in the store was not a one-off. It introduced the reimagining of RTA New York as a creative and performance environment, RTA Collective. Lauren is the first artist to be invited to interact with the space, setting in motion a chain of original commissions.  

Keep an eye on RTA Collective to see what grows from Bass Seed

RTA, 5 Mercer St, New York, NY 10013.