TACITA DEAN’S ANTIGONE

ANTIGONE (2018)—an hour-long, 35mm, twin-projected film featuring Stephen Dillane and poet Anne Carson—is the centerpiece of a new Tacita Dean exhibition at the Serralves Museum in Portugal, which includes the artist’s early cinematic works and her recent large-scale blackboard drawings.

TACITA DEAN

Through May 5.

Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art

Rua D. João de Castro, 210, Porto.

Tacita DeanAntigone, 2018. Courtesy of the artist, Marian Goodman Gallery, New York and Paris, and Frith Street Gallery, London.

ARAKAWA AND MADELINE GINS — ETERNAL GRADIENT

The art, architecture, writing, urbanism, and scientific research of artist Arakawa and poet-painter-philosopher Madeline Gins are on view in ETERNAL GRADIENT, which “traces the emergence of architecture as a wellspring of creativity and theoretical exploration” in their work.*

Over forty drawings and extensive archival materials represent nearly half a century of collaboration. The Reversible Destiny Foundation was founded in 2010 by the late artists and continues to promote their work and philosophy in the areas of art, architecture. and writing.

ARAKAWA and MADELINE GINS—ETERNAL GRADIENT*

Through April 27.

Graham Foundation

Madlener House

4 West Burton Place, Chicago.

From top: Arakawa and Madeline Gins, Study for ‘Critical Holder, 1990, acrylic, graphite, and colored pencil on paper; Arakawa and Madeline Gins, Screen-Valve, 1985-87, graphite and acrylic on paper; portrait of Arakawa and Gins, 2000, courtesy Dimitris Yeros; Arakawa and Madeline Gins, Screen-Valve, 1985-87, graphite and acrylic on paper; Arakawa and Madeline Gins, Drawing for ‘Container of Perceiving,’ 1984, acrylic, watercolor, and graphite on paper. Photographs by Nicholas Knight, images © 2018 Estate of Madeline Gins, reproduced with permission of the Estate of Madeline Gins.

THE YOUNG AND EVIL

“Dinner with Paul Cadmus in the Village. He showed me a hundred drawings or more; the nakedest and least disinterested are the best, particularly those of Jared French. Until lately they have shared this apartment, an oddly un-American interior; good shabby antiques; a quantity of books and music, charming evidence of self-education. Late in the evening a youth named Lloyd Goff, who was Paul’s assistant, wandered in, at his ease, sleepy, perhaps tipsy. Soon he threw himself on the couch and fell asleep… Paul and I talked and talked, reminiscence and theory, in that particular mood of ours, or of his: smiling relaxation, solemn boyish idealism, who knows what else…

“Goff then woke up and undertook to say goodnight, but the next thing I knew, there he lay again, sprawled face down on another couch, his clothes all drawn on the bias and tight upon his very fine little back and buttocks. At last I gave up whatever impulse it was that had kept me so late. Paul fondly accompanied me to the subway. Perhaps, he said, he would make a drawing or two before he went to bed; our talk had been so stimulating, and a sleeping model suits him…” — Glenway Westcott, 1937*

Falling between last year’s Nick Mauss: Transmissions at the Whitney and next month’s Lincoln Kirstein’s Modern at MOMA, THE YOUNG AND EVIL—curated by Jarrett Earnest at David Zwirner—looks at the between-the-wars Neorealist-Romantic circles around the artists Jared French, his lover Paul Cadmus, his wife Margaret Hoening French (collectively known as PaJaMa), Cadmus’ sister Fidelma—who was married to Kirstein—Bernard Perlin, Pavel Tchelitchew, George Tooker, and Jensen Yow.

Taking its title from the 1933 collaborative novel by art critic Parker Tyler and poet Charles Henri Ford (Tchelitchew’s lover), the exhbition features never-before-exhibited photographs—many from the Kinsey Institute—rarely seen major paintings, sculptures, drawings, and ephemera of this American Bloomsbury, which included Katherine Anne Porter and the ménage à trois of writer Glenway Westcott, publisher Monroe Wheeler, and George Platt Lynes, who photographed (and often modeled for) them all.

THE YOUNG AND EVIL exhibition catalogue will be published later this year by David Zwirner Books, featuring new scholarship by Ann Reynolds and Kenneth E. Silver.

THE YOUNG AND EVIL

Through April 13.

David Zwirner

533 West 19th Street, New York City.

*Continual Lessons: The Journals of Glenway Westcott, 1937–1955, edited by Robert Phelps with Jerry Rosco (New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1990), 8–9.

Also see: By With To & From: A Lincoln Kirstein Reader, edited by Nicholas Jenkins (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1991).

From top: Paul Cadmus, Stone Blossom: A Conversation Piece, 1939–1940, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Juliana Cheyney Edwards Collection and Seth K. Sweetser Fund, © 2019 Estate of Paul Cadmus / Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY; Paul Cadmus, Monroe Wheeler, 1938, © 2019 Estate of Paul Cadmus / Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY; Jared French, Murder, 1942, courtesy the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, John D. Phillips Fund; Fidelma Cadmus Kirstein, Two Women, circa 1930–1939; Pavel Tchelitchew, Portrait, 1935; Pavel Tchelitchew, The Lion Boy, 1936–1937, private collection, New Jersey; Pavel Tchelitchew, George Platt Lynes, circa 1937–1942; Paul Cadmus, Shore Leave, 1933, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, gift of Malcolm S. Forbes, © 2019 Estate of Paul Cadmus / Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY.

WE ARE THE HEAT

Driven by the charisma of its star—the actor and dancer Duván ArizalaSOMOS CALENTURA (We Are the Heat) immerses audiences in the urban dance culture and dockside corruption of Buenaventura, Colombia.

First seen as a stowaway in a U.S.-bound ship, Harvey (Arizala) is thrown overboard and left for dead. Walking a precarious path to survival, he makes one dangerous move after another navigating his escape from the underworld.

This visceral update of 1930s gangster themes—desperation, betrayal, the aggressive crush of urban existence—filtered through a celebration of modern Colombian club life was directed by Jorge Navas, and is playing exclusively at The Frida in Orange County.

SOMOS CALENTURA / WE ARE THE HEAT

Through Thursday, February 28.

The Frida Cinema

305 East 4th Street, Santa Ana.

Available on demand from February 26.

From top: Duván Arizala in Somos calentura/We Are the Heat (2018); Arizala (center) with dance crew; Julio Valencia (center); Arizala. Image credit: Epic Pictures.

DAVID LANG’S THE LOSER

“We begin as piano virtuosos and then start rummaging about and foraging in the human sciences and philosophy and finally go to seed. Because we didn’t reach the absolute limit and go beyond this limit, I thought, because we gave up in the face of a genius in our field. But if I’m honest I could never have become a piano virtuoso, because at bottom I never wanted to be a piano virtuoso, because I always had the greatest misgivings about it and misused my virtuosity at the piano in my deterioration process, indeed I always felt from the beginning that piano players were ridiculous; seduced by my thoroughly remarkable talent at the piano, I drilled it into my piano playing and then, after one and a half decades of torture, chased it back out again, abruptly, unscrupulously. It’s not my way to sacrifice my existence to sentimentality.” — The Loser, by Thomas Bernhard*

In the novel The Loser—Bernhard’s comedic 1983 screed on artistry, obsession, and mediocrity—a garrulous narrator recounts, with comedic vitriol, the lifelong consequences of a summer he and his friend Wertheimer spent with the young pianist Glenn Gould at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, all under the instruction of Vladimir Horowitz.

Once the narrator and Wertheimer—labeled “the loser” by Gould in the novel—finally realize that their talents will never equal Gould’s, they abandon their pianos. The narrator gives his Steinway to the nine-year-old daughter of a schoolteacher, who ruined it “in the shortest period imaginable, I wasn’t pained by this fact, on the contrary, I observed this cretinous destruction of my piano with perverse pleasure.”*

The narrator’s story had a profound effect on David Lang when he read the novel in the late 1990s: “I couldn’t read it silently. I ended up yelling the entire book to my reflection in the mirror in my bathroom, from start to finish, which was very exciting. And that day I started imagining what it would be like to add music to it.”

The result is Lang’s hour-long opera the loser. For his libretto, Lang was compelled by necessity to eliminate much of Bernhard’s text, including the long-winded political diatribes—there was nothing the Austrian author hated more than Austrian society. Lang’s focus was the persona of the narrator, and “managing our [changing] perceptions of a character” became the way to bring action to the piece.

Not that the protagonist moves around much. In Lang’s dramatic staging, the narrator stands atop a twenty-foot-high platform, suspended in space and performing exclusively for the audience in the balcony. (Orchestra seats are not occupied for the production.) During the second half of the loser a piano (and pianist) appear on stage, and delicate, ghostly sounds echo throughout the auditorium.

This astonishing work premiered at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 2016, with baritone Rod Gilfry as the narrator, and Conrad Tao on piano. The LA Opera Off Grand presentation of the loser brings both of these artists to downtown Los Angeles, joined by Bang on a Can OperaIsabel Hagen (viola), Mariel Roberts (cello), Pat Swoboda (double bass), Owen Weaver (percussion)—and conducted by Lesley Leighton.

The lighting design is by Jennifer Tipton, the sets by Jim Findlay, and costumes were designed by the performance and installation artist Suzanne Bocanegra.

the loser

Friday and Saturday, February 22 and 23, at 8 pm.

Theatre at Ace Hotel

929 South Broadway, downtown Los Angeles.

*Thomas Bernhard, The Loser, translated by Jack Dawson (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1991). Thomas Bernhard, Der Untergeher, © 1983 Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt.

From top: Rod Gilfry as the narrator in the loser; Gilfry (right) and Karina Cannelakis (conducting) in Brooklyn, 2016; Conrad Tao; David Lang; Gilfry (foreground) and Tao. Performance photographs of the loser by Richard Termine, September 2016, Howard Gilman Opera House, Brooklyn Academy of Music, © 2016 Richard Termine. Conrad Tao portrait by Brantley Gutierrez; David Lang portrait by Peter Serling.