Reset challenged visitors to abandon their expectations and to engage the Pulitzer in entirely new ways. Taking place between exhibitions, this unconventional program opened the building for activities, performances, and encounters that would be otherwise impossible. Reset activated all of the potential and possibility of Tadao Ando’s architecture, which allowed for an unexpected array of participatory experiences with art, music, dance, film, and performance. With the installation of Candy Crush—a site-specific floor sculpture by the artist David Scanavino—the main gallery was transformed into a new kind of social space; visitors could move freely on the piece or simply take in its colorful, geometric design. It was a place to meet, to learn, to play, and to rethink the way we look at art.
The Pulitzer and GlitterBomb Productions served up some Reset realness for the final event of the week. Curated and emceed by Siren (Tyler Cross), the About Face Drag Show featured dynamic performances by artists from St. Louis’ vibrant drag scene: Maxi Glamour, Robyn Hearts, Rydyr, and Pinko. The show’s headlining artist Raja—third season winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race—blended the masculine and feminine into an illusion that was not only beautiful, but also thrilling, poetic, provocative, and cerebral. The audience was invited to transform themselves with help from St. Louis’ fiercest make-up artists and manicures by Vanity Projects, and the performance was followed by a dance party that seemed irresponsible to resist.
Bamboo inspires families to learn about and make art together. Throughout Reset, kids were encouraged to make forts using recycled and repurposed materials with Perennial, a St. Louis-based workshop. Miss Jonesey from Left Bank Books told stories for children of all ages, and Grandfather Stark—host of KDHX’s Musical Merry-Go-Round—brought family-friendly music of all genres into the gallery. At the center of it all was Candy Crush, a temporary installation by artist David Scanavino, which became a brightly colored environment for any game or activity that a child could imagine.
Several hours at a time were devoted to letting guests enjoy the Pulitzer in whatever way they could imagine. Some wandered the building, lounged on Candy Crush, or simply took a break from their daily routine. Local artists installed their own impromptu exhibition in several of the open galleries, and the St. Louis Camera Club convened to photograph the interior of Ando’s architecture for the first time. Some guests performed karaoke, another had her senior class pictures taken, and one guest fulfilled his lifelong dream of throwing a frisbee in a museum.
Reset celebrated the history of hip-hop with a day of music and break dancing. Mr. Freeze, from New York’s legendary Rock Steady Crew and the creator of the Ultimate B-Boy Championship, gave a master class in the skills and styles of break dancing, from transitions and freezes to top rocking and the art of battling. Mr. Freeze then emceed a break dancing competition, with music mixed live by DJ Agile 1 and DJ Nappy Needles. Throughout the day, the Pulitzer screened documentaries that revealed the power of dance and street art across cultures.
Lunch Beat St. Louis brought their free, monthly dance party to Reset for a pop-up event in the galleries. DJ Boogieman spun records while guests danced across the surface of David Scanavino’s Candy Crush. Visitors were invited to pack their own lunch, and the St. Louis-based craft tofu company MOFU was also on site with a specially prepared bento box.
Reset kicked off with an artist conversation and live musical performance. David Scanavino discussed the artistic practices that informed the composition and installation his floor sculpture, Candy Crush, which was commissioned for Reset by the Pulitzer. After the talk, the gallery came alive with ecstatic musical performances by Née (St. Louis) and California Wives (Chicago). The event was part of the ongoing Sound Waves series with independent radio station KDHX, and complimentary beer was provided by Urban Chestnut Brewing Company.