Zombie Curriculum

Rookie zombies take art outside gallery walls.

The vacant stare, check. Skull askew, check. Now all you need is a lumbering shuffle.

By Renée Olson

The wan light of a November afternoon cloaked a band of zombies as they ambushed soccer practice and then chased a student through the gym and all the way back to the library. These living dead, aka undergraduates in the New York Semester on Contemporary Art, were players in a piece of performance art by Jillian Mcdonald, a guest video artist based in New York City. Mcdonald, whose work plumbs the complex response to fear that’s served up in mass entertainment, gave students a tutorial on classic zombie mannerisms. “You have to be kind of stiff because you’re decomposing,” explained one student. “And you might twitch because your body is going through changes.” The event left Lee Arnold, the assistant professor of art who curated Mcdonald’s Korn Gallery show, with only one regret. “We should have had them walk through the faculty meeting,” he said, shaking his head. “I should have thought of that.”

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