Tag Archives: George Balanchine

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.

LINCOLN KIRSTEIN’S MODERN

The paintings of Ben Shahn, Antonio Berni, Raquel Forner, Honoré Sharrer, and Pavel Tchelitchew, the photography of Walker Evans and George Platt Lynes, the sculpture of Elie Nadelman and Gaston Lachaise, the ballet costumes of Kurt Seligmann, Paul Cadmus, and Jared French, the music of Virgil Thomson, and the philosophy of George Gurdjieff

… all come together in LINCOLN KIRSTEIN’S MODERN, the Museum of Modern Art exhibition devoted to the writer, critic, curator, patron, and impresario who set the aesthetic template for MOMA and brought George Balanchine to America to establish the New York City Ballet.

LINCOLN KIRSTEIN’S MODERN

Through June 15.

Museum of Modern Art

11 West 53rd Street, New York City.

This summer MOMA‘s West 53rd Street location will close for four months—June 15 through October 21—for reconstruction.

From top: George Platt LynesLincoln Kirstein, circa 1948, gelatin silver print, Museum of Modern Art, New York, © 2019 estate of George Platt Lynes; Paul Cadmus, set design for the ballet Filling Station, 1937, cut-and-pasted paper, gouache, and pencil on paper, Museum of Modern Art, New York, gift of Lincoln Kirstein, 1941, © 2018 estate of Paul Cadmus; Walker EvansRoadside View, Alabama Coal Area Town, 1936, gelatin silver print, printed circa 1969 by Charles RodemeyerMuseum of Modern Art, New York, gift of the artist, © 2019 Walker Evans Archive, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Paul CadmusBallet Positions, drawing for the primer Ballet Alphabet, 1939, ink, pencil, colored ink, and gouache on paper (letters reversed on drawing), Museum of Modern Art, New York, gift of Kirstein, © 2019 estate of Paul Cadmus; Pavel TchelitchewHide-and-Seek. 1940–42, oil on canvas, Museum of Modern Art, New York; Harvard Society for Contemporary Art pamphlet. 1931–32, Harvard Society for Contemporary Art scrapbooks, vol. 2 (Autumn 1930–33), Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York; Ben ShahnBartolomeo Vanzetti and Nicola Sacco, 1931–32, gouache on paper on board, Museum of Modern Art, New York, © 2019 estate of Ben Shahn / VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; Pavel Tchelitchew, study for a backdrop for the ballet Apollon Musagète, 1942, gouache, ink, and pencil on paper, Museum of Modern Art, New York, gift of Kirstein; George Platt LynesLew Christensen in Apollon Musagète, June 24, 1937, gelatin silver print, Museum of Modern Art, New York, © 2019 estate of George Platt Lynes.


ARTHUR MITCHELL

“I am a political activist through dance. I believe that dance, and the arts more broadly, can be used as a catalyst for social change—this is why I started the Dance Theatre of Harlem. With my archive at Columbia, artifacts of American dance history and African-American history are accessible to young scholars, academics and the general public.” —Arthur Mitchell

ARTHUR MITCHELL—HARLEM’S BALLET TRAILBLAZER—curated by Lynn Garafola at the Wallach Art Gallery—features an extensive selection from Mitchell’s archive, as well as performance films from throughout his career as a dancer with the New York City Ballet through the founding and directorship of the Dance Theatre of Harlem.

 

ARTHUR MITCHELL—HARLEM’S BALLET TRAILBLAZER, through March 11.

WALLACH ART GALLERY, Columbia University, 615 West 129th Street, New York City.

wallach.columbia.edu/arthur-mitchell-harlems-ballet-trailblazer

See: dancetheatreofharlem.org/legacy

Arthur Mitchell and George Balanchine, New York City Ballet. Photographs by Martha Swope. Image credit: New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

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KIRSTEIN ON VAN VECHTEN

Carl Van Vechten made Harlem real to me…. [He] found the natural flair, the talent for rhythm and expressiveness, the joy, the fire, the murder, and the verbal accuracy in the vernacular in the day-to-day life….To us, Harlem was far more an arrondissement of Paris than a battleground of Greater New York. It was the Harlem of Josephine Baker….open and welcoming to Miguel Covarrubias, to Muriel Draper, and to all writers and artists who recognized in its shadows the only true elegance in America….

“Carl was the first person who told me how Nijinsky danced, in such a manner and with such intensity that I often used his description later as a personal lie, pretending to have experienced this dancer, who, in real life, I had never seen. Yet, somehow, I never, at least to myself, felt myself a liar. I had merely used Carl’s eyes.”

— from: Lincoln Kirstein, “Carl Van Vechten: 1880–1964,” in By With To & From: A Lincoln Kirstein Reader, ed. Nicholas Jenkins (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1991), 31–37.

Writer, editor, arts patron, and entrepreneur Lincoln Kirstein (1907–1996)—a neo-classical modernist—was the founder of the Harvard Society for Contemporary Art (a direct antecedent to the Museum of Modern Art), and co-founder—with George Balanchine—of the School of American Ballet and the New York City Ballet.

Carl Van Vechten—court photographer for the Harlem Renaissance and Manhattan’s literati and performing arts worlds throughout the 1930s, 40s, and 50s—was also a dance critic, novelist, and Gertrude Stein’s literary executor.

See Martin Duberman, The Worlds of Lincoln Kirstein (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2007); and Edward White, The Tastemaker: Carl Van Vechten and the Birth of Modern America (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2014).

From top: Walker Evans, Lincoln Kirstein, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1928; Pavel Tchelitchew, Portrait of Lincoln Kirstein, 1937.

TILER PECK’S BALLET NOW

In the local dance world, there are few things rarer or more anticipated than a West Coast visit by the New York City Ballet. This weekend, principal Tiler Peck is bringing out ten of her City Ballet colleagues for her three BalletNOW programs at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.*

Joining Peck and company are four of their Lincoln Center neighbors, American Ballet Theatre principals Isabella Boylston, Marcelo Gomes, Cory Stearns, and James Whiteside. From Florida, Jeanette Delgado and Kleber Rebello are repping Miami City Ballet, and from Europe, Peck is importing Lauren Cuthbertson and Reece Clarke from the Royal Ballet, and Marc Moreau from the Paris Opera Ballet.

It’s not all ballet, either. From the world of tap, Michelle Dorrance will be joined by her dancer Byron Tittle in Friday night’s opening number 1-2-3-4-5-6Virgil “Lil O” Gadson (So You Think You Can Dance) also performs in the Dorrance piece, and the one-and-only Bill Irwin will dance with Peck on Saturday night.

Works by George Balanchine, Kenneth MacMillan, and Justin Peck will be danced in all three performances, and Jerome Robbins Fancy Free will close out the show on opening night and the Sunday matinee. A live orchestra will perform from the pit, conducted by Grant Gershon.

BALLET NOW, Friday and Saturday night, July 28 and 29, at 7:30 pm. Sunday afternoon, July 30, at 2 pm.

DOROTHY CHANDLER PAVILION, Music Center, downtown Los Angeles.

musiccenter.org/balletnow

musiccenter.org/globalassets/2017pac/docs/balletnow2017/index.html#9

*New York City Ballet dancers include principals Taylor Stanley and Daniel Ulbricht, soloists Lauren King, Indiana Woodward, and Zachary Catazaro, and corps de ballet members Preston Chamblee, Harrison Coll, Rachel Hutsell, Claire Kretzschmar, and Lars Nelson.

From top: Marc Moreau, photograph by Julien Benhamou. Byron Tittle, image credit Dorrance Dance. Tiler Peck, image credit Dance at the Music Center.

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