Recess: The Brown Bear

A collaboration with Katherine Hubbard

The Brown Bear: Neither Particular nor General, intentionally conflates the hair and art salon as a site for public engagement. During a two-month residency at Recess, NY, Hubbard and Burns offered free haircuts, cut in tandem without the aid of mirrors or visual references. The Brown Bear is an exploration of ‘queer’ being, how it is formed, affirmed and develops into cultural signifiers. The walls were lined with slotted shelves that held archival material about hair and esthetics collected from LGBT archives across the country. A wall was built that ran diagonally, triangulating the space and creating a wedge shape at the farthest point of the room that was installed with mirrors. In the mirror wedge was a xerox machine that could be used to copy materials from the archive. Every Saturday, artists were invited to join Burns and Hubbard as they cut Hair for a daylong performances. The contributing artists were asked to create work that did not privilege sight, focusing on other senses such as; sound, poetry, food, and scent.

Additionally, a private performance and resulting video work Untitled (shaving performance), 2010-2014 was shot within The Brown Bear installation.


Installation view of the The Brown Bear: Neither Particular nor General, 2010 at Recess, NY.


Mirrored wedge with xerox machine for duplicating materials from the archives

Installation detail of xerox machine infinitely reflected in the mirror wedge.

A.K. Burns, Brown Bear

Installation detail of shelves of archival materials

A.K. Burns & Katherine Hubbard cutting hair in tandem

A.K. Burns, Brown Bear

A.K. Burns & Katherine Hubbard cutting hair

Installation detail of hair that accumulated over the weeks of the project.


Detail of installation with video of MPA’s performance running on the monitor.

A.K. Burns, Brown Bear

Burns & Hubbard cutting hair during Saturday Salon with Sergei Tcherepnins’ sound massage.