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 SerralvesMuseum in Portugal, which includes the artist’s early cinematic works and her recent large-scale blackboard drawings.
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.
“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 DavidZwirner—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.
Driven by the charisma of its star—the actor and dancer Duván Arizala—SOMOS 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.
“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 OperaOff Grand presentation of the loser brings both of these artists to downtown Los Angeles, joined by Bang on a Can Opera—Isabel 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.