Category Archives: LITERATURE/POETRY

SIMONE LEIGH AND SAIDIYA HARTMAN IN CONVERSATION

Join Simone Leigh and Saidiya Hartman—author of the acclaimed new study Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Social Upheaval—for a Frieze Talk this week in New York.

“[Hartman’s] work has always examined the great erasures and silences—the lost and suppressed stories of the Middle Passage, of slavery and its long reverberations. Her rigor and restraint give her writing its distinctive electricity and tension. Hartman is a sleuth of the archive.” — Parul Sehgal

SIMONE LEIGH and SAIDIYA HARTMAN in conversation

FRIEZE NEW YORK

Friday, May 3, at noon.

Randall’s Island Park, New York City.

SIMONE LEIGH—LOOPHOLE OF RETREAT

Through October 27.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

1071 Fifth Avenue (at 88th Street), New York City.

From top: Saidiya Hartman (left) and Simone Leigh, courtesy of the author and artist; Leigh with Brick House—her High Line Plinth work—in process, photograph by Timothy Schenck, courtesy of the artist and the photographer; Hartman book cover courtesy W.W. Norton & Company.

LOOPHOLE OF RETREAT

Okwui Okpokwasili, Françoise Vergès, Lorraine O’Grady, Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts, and Dionne Brand are among the many artists, authors, and educators who will be at the Guggenheim this weekend for the LOOPHOLE OF RETREAT conference.

This “daylong gathering dedicated to the intellectual life of black women” was organized by Simone Leigh, Tina Campt, and Saidiya Hartman, author of Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments.

LOOPHOLE OF RETREAT—A CONFERENCE

Saturday, April 27, from 1 pm.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

1071 Fifth Avenue (at 88th Street), New York City.

The name of the conference—and Leigh’s concurrent show at the museum—refers to a chapter title in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs, who referred to the opening line of the poem “The Task” (1784) by William Cowper.

From top: Okwui Okpokwasili (left), Poor People’s TV Room, 2017, courtesy of the artist; Lorraine O’Grady, Art Is. . . (Girl Pointing), 1983/2009, chromogenic color print, courtesy of the artist and Alexander Gray Associates, New York, © 2015 Lorraine O’Grady, Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York); Simone Leigh with a wax mold of a braid for the High Line Plinth piece Brick House, at Stratton Sculpture Studios in Philadelphia, photograph by Constance Mensh. Brick House will be on view in Manhattan from June 2019.

DAVID WOJNAROWICZ AND BEN NEILL — ITSOFOMO

“In 1983, Ben Neill moved from Ohio to New York City. What was going on at the time in music was a very free improvisatory kind of style, a way of fusing different elements together through oppositions and similarities. The result was rather superficial. Ben was more interested in isolating some elements in order to produce a kind of deep resonance keeping each element separate, unexpected, untimely, a kind of creative chaos, in which the pieces clashed and resonated in the distance without ever being pinned down logically. It was the aesthetic of the collage. This is what attracted Ben to David Wojnarowicz’s work.

“With David you always got the feeling that the pieces weren’t randomly chosen; they made some kind of underlying structure that held the pieces together. There was something in his visual work that Ben was trying to do in a musical sense, putting together styles from different historical periods and contemporary forms, but always with the idea of creating some kind of larger by-product. It was very profound. So he called up David and he suggested that they do a collaborative piece at the Kitchen with him. And this was ITSOFOMO [In the Shadow of Forward Motion].

“In 1946 Antonin Artaud recorded a radio version of his famous text To Have Done with the Judgment of God. Directed by Artaud himself, this remarkable recording set shrieks and drumbeats inspired by the Tarahumara Indians against Artaud’s reading of a text about the mid-century American technology of war. War in a test tube, as the Virus of the Invisible, a destruction that is accomplished without bodily contact, spreading as seamlessly as the dream-transmission of primitive plagues.

“Fifty years later we are plagued by the invisible violence of a technology so accelerated that human life has come to a standstill. A globe cut up into cities of dead time. The texts that Wojnarowicz reads are an antidote to abstraction. Passionate, grounded, and dead precise, these texts violently reclaim the body by forcing us to experience the visceral reality of space and time. Set against Neill’s delicate, composed mutantrumpet, percussion, interactive electronics, and South American ethno-music, ITSOFOMO‘s forward motion becomes a battle to reclaim the organism of life.” — Sylvére Lotringer*

This weekend, Wojnarowicz and Neill’s multimedia performance piece ITSOFOMO will be restaged and performed by Neill and Don Yallech at KW Berlin.

ITSOFOMO (IN THE SHADOW OF FORWARD MOTION)

Friday, April 26, at 8 pm.

Saturday, April 27, at 6 pm.

KW Institute for Contemporary Art

KW Hall

Auguststrasse 69, Berlin.

*Sylvère Lotringer, in conjunction with the 1992 CD ITSOFOMO by David Wojnarowicz and Ben Neill, and included in the liner notes for the 2018 vinyl release by Jabs.

From top: David Wojnarowicz, ITSOFOMO, performance (1) and rehearsal (2, 3) at the Kitchen, 1989, photographs © Andreas Sterzing; Ben Neill (left) and Don Yallech perform ITSOFOMO at the Whitney Museum of American Art, 2018.

JOHN KELLY AT REDCAT

“Songs are like tattoos,” wrote Joni Mitchell, echoing the pain of their creation. For the composer, songs often outlive the love that inspired them. For the rest of us, they’re emblems of the faces and places they evoke and the times they define.

John Kelly—visual and performance artist, writer, choreographer, and Mitchell interpreter nonpareil—brings his new, highly subjective work TIME NO LINE to Los Angeles for a three-night stand at Redcat.

Based on journal entries spanning forty years, TIME NO LINE bridges the decades with movement, music, and art. As an on-the-ground witness to the initial devastation of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s and the culture wars of the 1990s, Kelly is an artist-activist of rare insight and experience, and this engagement is not to be missed.

“The spoken word was the last thing I cared to add to my arsenal as a performer… [Journal writing is a] habit that has accumulated and become a significant body of work, a source of both insanely good raw material and embarrassment and remorse. It’s tough to read back through this stuff.” — John Kelly

On opening night, Kelly will join writer and professor David Román for a post-performance talk.*

JOHN KELLY—TIME NO LINE

Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, April 25, 26, and 27.

All shows at 8:30 pm.

Redcat

631 West 2nd Street, downtown Los Angeles.

*David Román is the author of Acts of Intervention: Performance, Gay Culture, and AIDS and co-editor—with Holly Hughes—of O Solo Homo: The New Queer Performance.

Joni Mitchell, “Blue,” © 1971, Joni Mitchell Music, Inc. (BMI).

John Kelly, Time No Line performance photographs, from top: Paula Court; John Kelly‘s Instagram; Theo Cote; Court. Images courtesy of John Kelly and the photographers.

John Kelly (above) at Sideways into the Shadows, his portrait series of lovers, friends, and colleagues lost to the AIDS epidemic, Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, 2018. Photograph by Susan Rand Brown, courtesy of John Kelly and the photographer.

MOVED BY THE MOTION — SUDDEN RISE

SUDDEN RISE—co-written by Wu Tsang, boychild, and Fred Moten—is the New York City performance debut of the ensemble Moved by the Motion.

This “collage” of text, film, movement, and sound is complemented by the words of Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, Hannah Arendt, W.E.B. Du Bois and Jimi Hendrix.

MOVED BY THE MOTION—SUDDEN RISE

Friday, April 26, at 8 pm.

Saturday April 27, at 4 pm and 8 pm.

Whitney Museum of American Art

99 Gansevoort Street, New York City.

Moved by the MotionSudden Rise, photographs by Paula Court/EMPAC. Images courtesy of Moved by the Motion and the photographer.