Tag Archives: New York City Ballet

NICK MAUSS — TRANSMISSIONS CATALOG

I came upon the word transmissions while thinking about how the ethereal, corporeal, and technical dimensions of ballet resonate in the artworks and souvenirs it produces. Transmissions are subject to interference and interruption. Ballets are conveyed to us through mediations, anecdotes, and bodies. And often when I’m watching ballet in its contemporary manifestations, I wonder how these transmissions have occurred.

I started looking into the history of ballet in the twentieth century… Through a web of genealogies, I eventually arrived at the flamboyant intersection of ballet and art in New York, beginning in the 1930s. There the avant-garde experiments of the previous decades in Europe incited a particularly intense cross-contamination, an overt articulation of homosexual erotics long before the emergence of a public language around queerness. Looking at modern American art of this period through the prism of ballet reveals a tangle of interrelationships, collaborations, derivations, and hybrid aesthetic programs that still feel surprisingly contemporary. Nick Mauss*

Two years after the close of TRANSMISSIONSNick Mauss’ multimedia installation at the Whitney Museum of American Art—the museum and Dancing Foxes Press have published an exhibition catalog that beautifully extends the show, combining performance and exhibition images from the Whitney with an extensive selection of new illustrative and textual documentation.

Essays by Mauss, Joshua Lubin-Levy, and exhibition organizers Scott Rothkopf, Elisabeth Sussman, and Allie Tepper—as well as a conversation between Mauss and the dancers who performed during the run of the show—round out this essential volume, a complement to and in dialog with recent catalogs by Jarrett Earnest (The Young and Evil—Queer Modernism in New York 1930–1955) and Samantha Friedman and Jodi Hauptman (Lincoln Kirstein’s Modern).

I drew multiple webs of interrelationships, elective affinities, and echo waves of influence, focusing as much on the social, professional, sexual, and collaborative points of contact as on transhistorical resonances that were in some cases perhaps fantasy—eschewing standard mappings of modern art… [embracing] anachrony and distortion over apparent objectivity…

My decision to insist on ballet as the fulcrum in TRANSMISSIONS was also a response to the ubiquity of postmodern dance derivations within the contemporary museum environment and the reductive version of modernity that these prequalified dance idioms signify and cement. Contemporaneity is reduced to a “look” of modernity. Modernist ballets make for engaging historical documents precisely because their own relationship to history is a kind of suspension of disbelief; they are intrinsically modernist, even if they don’t “signal” modernity to contemporary eyes.— Nick Mauss*

The world of the spectator, the receiver, was a primary lens through which I constructed TRANSMISSIONS, and the flux of the exhibition’s daily audience over the course of two months took on a central role within it. This book is similarly directed at the wholly different—private, rather than social—negotiations of the reader. — Nick Mauss*

NICK MAUSS, TRANSMISSIONS (Brooklyn: Dancing Foxes Press; New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 2020).

See Benedict Nguyen on performing in Transmissions.

Listen to Fran Lebowitz and Nick Mauss in conversation on the occasion of Transmissions at the Whitney, 2018.

*Nick Mauss text—from the catalog essay “Gesturing Personae” and TRANSMISSIONS jacket copy—courtesy and © the artist.

Nick Mauss, Transmissions, Whitney Museum of American Art, March 16, 2018–May 14, 2018; exhibition catalog, Whitney and Dancing Foxes Press, 2020, from top: installation view, Whitney, 2018, photograph by Ron Amstutz; Carl Van Vechten, Janet Collins in New Orleans Carnival, 1949, Jerome Robbins Dance Division, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts; George Platt Lynes, Tex Smutney, 1941, Kinsey Institute, Indiana University , Estate of George Platt Lynes; Transmissions performance photograph of Quenton Stuckey, March 13, 2018, by Paula Court, with Gaston Lachaise, Man Walking (Portrait of Lincoln Kirstein), 1933, at left; Dorothea Tanning, cover of Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo’s 1945–1946 program, Artists Rights Society, New York / ADAGP, Paris; installation view, Whitney, 2018, images on scrim, Lynes, Ralph McWilliams (dancer), 1952, Lynes, Tex Smutney, Carl Van Vechten slideshow on rear wall, dancers Brandon Collwes, Quenton Stuckey, and Kristina Bermudez, photograph by Amstutz; dancers Arthur Mitchell and Diana Adams, and (seated) George Balanchine and Igor Stravinsky during rehearsals for Agon, 1957, choreographed by Balanchine for New York City Ballet, photograph by Martha Swope, Jerome Robbins Dance Division; Bermudez (left), Burr Johnson, Nick Mauss, and Fran Lebowitz, May 9, 2018, at the Whitney, photograph by Court; Pavel Tchelitchew, Portrait of Lincoln Kirstein, 1937, oil on canvas, collection of the School of American Ballet, courtesy Jerry L. Thompson; Louise Lawler, Marie + 90, 2010–2012, silver dye bleach print on aluminum, Whitney, courtesy and © the artist and Metro Pictures; (Mauss printed Lawler’s image of Marie, Edgar DegasLittle Dancer Aged Fourteen, circa 1880, on the Transmissions dancers’ white leotards); Lynes photograph of Jean Cocteau, Bachelor magazine, April 1937; Transmissions performance photograph by Paula Court; Paul Cadmus, Reflection, 1944, egg tempera on composition board, Yale University Art Gallery, bequest of Donald Windham in memory of Sandy M. Campbell, courtesy and © 2019 Estate of Paul Cadmus, ARS, New York; Cecil Beaton, photograph of poet Charles Henri Ford in a costume designed by Salvador Dali, silver gelatin print, collection of Beth Rudin DeWoody; artworks by Pavel Tchelitchew, John Storrs, Elie Nadelman, Gustav Natorp, and Sturtevant, and photographs by Ilse Bing, arranged in front of Mauss’, Images in Mind, 2018, installation view, Whitney, 2018, photograph by Amstutz; Mauss’ re-creation of costume designed by Paul Cadmus for the 1937 ballet Filling Station (choreographed by Lew Christensen), fabricated by Andrea Solstad, 2018, and Nadelman, Dancing Figure, circa 1916–1918, installation view, Whitney, 2018, photograph by Amstutz; Man Ray, New York, 1917 / 1966, nickel-plated and painted bronze, Whitney;, courtesy and © Man Ray 2015 Trust, ARS, New York / ADAGP, Paris; Mauss and Lebowitz in conversation at the Whitney, 2018, photography courtesy and © Izzy Dow; Murals by Jared French exhibition brochure, Julien Levy Gallery, 1939; Transmissions performance photograph of Anna Thérèse Witenberg, March 13, 2018, by Court; Dorothea Tanning, Aux environs de Paris (Paris and Vicinity), 1962, oil on linen, Whitney Museum of American Art, gift of the Alexander Iolas Gallery; Maya Deren, The Very Eye of Night (1958, still), 16mm film, Anthology Film Archives, New York.

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.

The show was organized by Jodi Hauptman and Samantha Friedman, who edited the exhibition catalog.

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; Lincoln Kirstein’s Modern exhibition catalog, 2019, courtesy and © the 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.

JEROME ROBBINS AND NEW YORK

“My beautiful city is set on rock between two flowing paths of water that run to the sea. My city is tall and jagged—with gold-slated towers… My city chokes on its breath, and sparkles with its false lights—and sleeps restlessly at night. My city is a lone man walking at night down an empty street watching his shadow grow longer as he passes the last lamp post, seeing no comfort in the blank, dark windows, and hearing his footsteps echo against the building and fade away.” — Jerome Robbins

Admired, disparaged, beloved, feared, Jerome Robbins (1918–1998) was one of the great choreographers of the twentieth century. Arthur Laurents told Robbins he was “a shit” for naming names as a “friendly witness” for HUAC. (Robbins feared being exposed as bisexual.) Yet Laurents continued to collaborate with him, most notably on West Side Story. (Stephen Sondheim, the show’s lyricist, said that Robbins was one of the only geniuses he’d ever worked with.)

Through his work with the American Ballet Theatre and New York City Ballet, and on Broadway—On the Town, Gypsy, and Fiddler on the Roof, to name just three shows among dozens—Robbins was indelibly associated with his home base and muse: Manhattan.

A new exhibition curated by Julia Foulkes marks Robbins’ centenary and his lifelong celebration of the city, and includes dance films and videos, diaries, paintings, story scenarios, press clippings, and extensive photographic documentation.

VOICE OF MY CITY—JEROME ROBBINS AND NEW YORK

Through March 30.

New York Public Library for the Performing Arts

40 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York City.

From top: Sharks and Jets dance in West Side Story, on tour in Europe in the early 2000s; the original Fancy Free cast—Muriel Bentley, Janet Reed, Harold Lang, John Kriza, and Jerome Robbins—in Times Square in 1958, with photographer Gordon Parks leaning over his tripod, courtesy the Jerome Robbins Dance Division/The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts; Mikhail Baryshnikov in the New York City Ballet production of The Four Seasons (1979), choreographed by Robbins; Antoinette Sibley rehearses Afternoon of a Faun with the choreographer, photograph by Michael Childers, courtesy Dance Magazine; Damian Woetzel and Tiler Peck dance Robbins at Kennedy Center, 2017; Carmen de Lavallade, Robbins, and Yves Saint Laurent—photograph by Whiteside—and Robbins in 1944, both courtesy Dance Magazine.

KYLE ABRAHAM — THE RUNAWAY

There are four more chances to catch THE RUNAWAY, the 30-minute dance Kyle Abraham choreographed for City Ballet’s fashion gala last year.

Set to music by Nico Muhly, Jay-Z, James Blake, and Kanye West, THE RUNAWAY is part of the company’s winter season New Combinations program, and will be preceded by William Forsythe ’s Herman Schmerman, and a new dance by Justin Peck, Principia (music by Sufjan Stevens).

Scheduled dancers for THE RUNAWAY are Ashley Bouder, Sara Mearns, Georgina Pazcoguin, Peter Walker, Roman Mejia, Spartak Hoxha, Christopher Grant, and—a particular standout—Taylor Stanley.

NEW YORK CITY BALLET

THE RUNAWAY

Saturday, February 9, at 2 pm.

Sunday, February 10, at 3 pm.

Wednesday, February 27, at 7:30 pm.

Saturday, March 2, at 8 pm.

David H. Koch Theater

20 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York City.

From top: Taylor Stanley in Kyle Abraham’s The Runaway; Abraham, courtesy the choreographer; The Runaway. Dance photographs © Paul Kolnik, courtesy New York City Ballet.

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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