Category Archives: DANCE

DOUGLAS CRIMP

Douglas Crimp—art historian, essayist, educator, author (Before Pictures), editor (October, throughout the 1980s), curator (Pictures)—died this morning in New York City.

“[In Before Pictures] I was interested in putting together two aspects of my life that were fairly difficult to negotiate in my first decade in New York—my art-world self and my gay-world self—at a time when both those worlds were highly experimental. I experienced innovation, experimentation, and transformation in the queer world and the art world simultaneously but mostly separately. I had to figure out how to make my two worlds, if not cohere, at least not be absolutely in conflict. My hope for Before Pictures is that it will provide a ‘queer history’ of both these worlds by putting them in conversation. I expect it might change how we think of 1970s gay culture, which we know mostly from the work of historians who write about the flourishing of gay politics. It might also change how we think about the art world of the ’70s.

“I had several different motivations for writing the book. One is that, in my ACT UP days, I made a whole bunch of younger friends, people mostly twenty years younger than me. I experienced the extraordinary explosion of gay culture during the 1970s, but they didn’t. I talked about it, they asked me about it, and on a couple occasions people said, you should really write about the gay ’70s in New York. That is not only because of their interest in what I was saying but because we were all horrified by the new narrative that was being put in place by gay conservatives. This narrative held that the ’70s represented our immaturity, an immaturity that led inevitably to AIDS, which in turn made us grow up and mature, become good citizens who wanted to get married and settle down and behave ourselves. I opposed that narrative in all of my AIDS writing.” — Douglas Crimp, interview by Jarrett Earnest*

“It has always seemed to me, given what little I understand or have experienced of seeking sexual partners over the internet, that people not only advertise who they want to appear as, but also believe they truly know who they are and what they want. What I took from the gay liberation ethos was that we didn’t know who we were and we didn’t necessarily know what we wanted. Instead, we felt we should be open to everything, even things we thought we didn’t want, which might open you to partners of different races, to differently abled partners, and certainly to people with different sexual proclivities. I tried many things that frankly I was quite repelled by, but I was just being a good liberationist, thinking, ‘OK, I can’t say, No, I don’t do that, or That’s not who I am.’ I didn’t necessarily seek such things out a second time, but I often surprised myself. I guess that would be my question to you: How much do you surprise yourself?

“My experience of diversity and of racial discourses was all in my queer life, not in my art world life. The latter was a very white world, no question. There only began to be a consciousness about the paucity of women artists and numbers of black artists in the Whitney Biennials around that time. We’ve moved some from there. It was also the time when the Museo del Barrio was founded as a response to the lack of diversity in the mainstream art world. But I would have had to go pretty far afield from my own activities and experience to bring that stuff in. So it really came in terms of my other life, essentially. I experienced that as just one of the really big differences between the kind of people I knew in the art world and the kind of people I knew in the queer world…

“The interdisciplinary or hybrid quality of the memoir flows from that juxtaposition that started with the first chapter, in which I discuss what I call ‘my two first jobs,’ haute couture with Charles James and conceptual art with Daniel Buren at the Guggenheim; two seemingly incommensurate things, I use that sort of incommensurability throughout as a means through which to interrogate both sides. I do this in the chapter about [George] Balanchine and  [Jacques] Derrida, for example. The idea was that juxtaposing the gay world and the art world would unsettle the standard narratives of each and then come up with a different kind of history of both. I’m hoping that is what the book accomplishes. It’s a history of New York in the 70s, it’s a very personal history, but I think it is also a broader history.” — Douglas Crimp, interview by Malik Gaines**

See Crimp on Trisha Brown.

See David Velasco on Crimp.

*”Douglas Crimp with Jarrett Earnest,” Brooklyn Rail, 2016; reprinted in Jarrett Earnest, What it Means to Write About Art (New York: David Zwirner Books, 2018), 102–118.

**”Conversations: Douglas Crimp and Malik Gaines,” Document 9 (Fall-Winter 2016): 130–133.

From top: Douglas Crimp in the 1970s; book covers, MIT Press (2); Crimp in his loft on Chambers Street, downtown Manhattan, circa 1975; book covers, MIT Press (2); Crimp (right) and Daniel S. Palmer in New York City, 2016, photograph by Katherine McMahon; book cover University of Chicago Press and Dancing Foxes Press; Pictures exhibition catalog, Artists Space, 1977. Images courtesy and © the author’s estate, the photographers, and the publishers.

THE ROYAL BALLET — MAYERLING

Forty years after its American premiere at the Shrine Auditorium, Kenneth MacMillan’s MAYERLING—a tour de force of choreographic virtuosity and innovation, and the first full-length ballet constructed around a male lead—returns to Los Angeles for a three-performance engagement by the Royal Ballet at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

MAYERLING tells the story of Crown Prince Rudolf (1858–1859)—heir apparent to the throne of Austria-Hungary—his mistress Mary Vetsera, and the events leading up to their murder-suicide at Mayerling, the prince’s hunting lodge outside Vienna.

“Most of MacMillan’s ballets, descriptive or abstract, tackle themes of crisis and violence… The dramatic momentum of MAYERLING springs from a chilly dissection of both… The fast-moving scenario is exactly matched by the ferocious pace and energy of MacMillan’s choreography. The action revolves around the startling progression of duets for the two principal dancers: abrasive, threatening, erotic and geared almost without respite to destruction.

“MacMillan projects the dark underside of romanticism: the ballet has domestic interludes of great charm but they’re brief, the dominant mood is acrid, sour, and glitteringly dark.” — Bryan Robertson, The Spectator, February 25, 1978

As Robertson points out, MAYERLING is famous for its numerous pas de deux and requirements of great stamina and artistry by its male leads. On opening night, Royal Ballet principal Ryoichi Hirano will dance the role of Rudolf. On Saturday night principal Matthew Ball takes over, and for the Sunday matinee, principal Thiago Soares is the Crown Prince. Principal Sarah Lamb dances the role of Marie Larisch on opening night and Mary Vetsera on Saturday night.

MacMillan—a former dancer who was the Royal Ballet’s artistic director throughout most of the 1970s and its principal choreographer from 1977 onward—died in 1992 at age 62, backstage at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, during a performance of a revival of MAYERLING.

THE ROYAL BALLET—MAYERLING

Friday and Saturday, July 5 and 6, at 7:30 pm.

Sunday, July 7, at 2 pm.

Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

135 North Grand Avenue, downtown Los Angeles.

MAYERLING program

From top: Ryoichi Hirano as Crown Prince Rudolf and Sarah Lamb as Marie Larisch in Mayerling, photograph by Helen Maybanks; Francesca Hayward as Princess Stephanie and Hirano, photograph by Maybanks; Lamb as Mary Vetsera, photograph by Alice Pennefather; Alexander Campbell as Bratfisch, the prince’s confident, photograph by Maybanks; Lauren Cuthbertson as Mary and Thiago Soares as Rudolf (3), photographs by Maybanks. Images courtesy and © the photographers, the performers, and the Royal Ballet.

TACITA DEAN AND WAYNE MCGREGOR IN CONVERSATION

This week at the Hammer Museum, CalArts dance professor Ariel Osterweis will moderate a conversation between Tacita Dean and choreographer Wayne McGregor, collaborators on the upcoming world premiere of THE DANTE PROJECT (INFERNO)—the closing dance of the Adès & McGregor—A Dance Collaboration presentation in Los Angeles.

TACITA DEAN and WAYNE MCGREGOR

Tuesday, July 2, at 7:30 pm.

Hammer Museum

10899 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles.

THE DANTE PROJECT (INFERNO)

Friday and Saturday, July 12 and 13, at 7:30 pm.

Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

135 North Grand Avenue, downtown Los Angeles.

From top: Tacita Dean and Wayne McGregor, photographs courtesy and © the artists and the Hammer Museum. McGregor and Dean, The Dante Project (Inferno) (2), photographs courtesy and © the Royal Opera House.

BRET EASTERLING’S BRECHT

This weekend, Batsheva Dance Company veteran Bret Easterling will perform his evening-length, in-the-round dance/sound work BRECHT at the L.A. Dance Project space.

Easterling will dance amid a sea of microphones, creating and transmitting the ambient sounds with which musician-composer Maxwell Transue will arrange a real time score.

BRECHT

Saturday, June 29, at 8 pm.

L.A. Dance Project

2245 East Washington Boulevard, downtown Los Angeles.

From top: Bret Easterling, Brecht, Luckman Fine Arts Complex, April 2019, photograph by Cheryl Mann; Easterling, Brecht in rehearsal (2); Easterling (forground) dancing with Batsheva Dance Company in Last Work, choreographed by Ohad Naharin, photograph by Ascaf Avraham; Easterling, Brecht, Luckman Fine Arts Complex, April 2019, photograph by Cheryl Mann. Images courtesy and © the artists, photographers, and dance companies.

JOAN JONAS — MIRROR, MIRROR

On the opening weekend of her show at Serralves in Portugal—dedicated to the memory of Okwui EnwezorJoan Jonas will restage her Mirror works.

JOAN JONAS

Through September 1.

Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art

Rua D. João de Castro, 210, Porto.

MIRROR CHECK

Saturday, May 25, at 5:15 pm and Sunday, May 26, at 7 pm.

MIRROR PIECE I and II: RECONSTRUCTION

Saturday, May 25, at 6 pm and Sunday, May 26, at 6 pm.

Serralves Park and Auditorium, Porto.

From top: Joan Jonas (reflected in mirrors) conducts a rehearsal for Mirror Piece I: Reconfigured (1969/2010), at Kulturhuset, Stockholm; Jonas performing Mirror Check as part of Organic Honey’s Vertical Roll (1972), Ace Gallery, Venice Beach, Los Angeles, photograph by Roberta Neiman, courtesy and © the photographer; Barbara (Mirror Piece I), (1969), photograph courtesy and © the estate of Colin de Land; Jonas conducts a rehearsal for Mirror Piece I: Reconfigured (1969/2010), at Kulturhuset, (2). Stockholm images: production stills from ART21: Art in the Twenty-First Century, Season 7, “Fiction” episode, (2014), courtesy and © ART21, Inc., 2014.