Tag Archives: UCLA

LARS MÜLLER AT UCLA

Publisher, designer, and educator Lars Müller will give a Department of Design Media Arts lecture this week at UCLA.

LARS MÜLLER

Tuesday, January 22, at 6 pm.

Broad Art Center, UCLA

240 Charles E. Young Drive North, Los Angeles.

Image credit: Lars Müller Publishers.

BILL T. JONES — ANALOGY TRILOGY

Arnie Zane [and I] built this company out of the same troubled milieu that we’re all living through right now—racism, sexism—and we have been able to make an organization that expressed my belief that art could save us.” — Bill T. Jones

As an innovator of post-modern dance since the 1970s and survivor of the American cultural wars of the ’80s, choreographer Bill T. Jones has endured catastrophes both political and personal. He lived through the disgrace of the government’s non-response to the AIDS epidemic, and lost Zane to the disease in 1988.

With his company—the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company—Jones’ created Still/Here (1994), a mixed-media, performance-art dance piece incorporating videotaped footage of terminally ill patients speaking into the camera. In an infamous attack on a work she declined to see firsthand, the New Yorker dance critic Arlene Croce railed against what she dismissed as foundation-dependent “victim art”:

“By working dying people into his act, Jones is putting himself beyond the reach of criticism. I think of him as literally undiscussable… because he has taken sanctuary among the unwell. Victim art defies criticism not only because we feel sorry for the victim but because we are cowed by art.”*

An uproar immediately followed, with Tony Kushner, Camille Paglia, Hilton Kramer, and Joyce Carol Oates weighing in from both sides. The author and activist bell hooks wrote:

“To write so contemptuously about a work one has not seen is an awesome flaunting of privilege—a testimony to the reality that there is no marginalized group or individual powerful enough to silence or suppress reactionary voices. Ms. Croce’s article is not courageous or daring, precisely because it merely mirrors the ruling political mood of our time.”*

After the publication of “Discussing the Undiscussable,” Croce’s output decreased significantly, while Jones—who recently dropped “dance” from his company’s title: “We are a contemporary performance ensemble”—has moved from strength to strength.**

This weekend at Royce Hall, CAP UCLA will present two complete performances of Jones’ ANALOGY TRILOGY, a durational work “focusing on memory and the effect of powerful events on the actions of individuals and, more importantly, on their often unexpressed inner life.” During the performance, musical accompaniment will be provided by composer Nick Hallett, pianist Emily Manzo, baritone Matthew Gamble, and the dancers.***

The trilogy can be seen in one daylong event, or as separate afternoon and evening performances:

ANALOGY/DORA: TRAMONTANE is based on the World War II experiences of French Jewish nurse Dora Amelan, the mother of Jones’ partner and company creative director Bjorn Amelan.

ANALOGY/LANCE: PRETTY aka THE ESCAPE ARTIST takes as its subject Jones’ nephew Lance Briggs. Art, in this case, could not save a life of promise after Lance quit dancing and turned to drugs and hustling.

ANALOGY/AMBROS: THE EMIGRANT draws from the W.G. Sebald novel The Emigrant to show how “trauma can go underground in the psyche of an individual and direct—consciously and unconsciously—the course of that individual’s life.”

 

BILL T. JONES/ARNIE ZANE COMPANY

ANALOGY TRILOGY

Saturday and Sunday, November 3 and 4.

ANALOGY/DORA and ANALOGY/LANCE begin at 2 pm, with an intermission between parts.

ANALOGY/AMBROS begins at 7 pm.

The event breaks for dinner from 5:30 pm to 7 pm.

 

*Arlene Croce, “Discussing the Undiscussable,” in Writing in the Dark, Dancing in The New Yorker (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2000), 708–719.

Croce’s article was originally published in the December 26, 1994–January 2, 1995 issue of The New Yorker.

The responses by bell hooks and others ran under “Who’s the Victim? Dissenting Voices Answer Arlene Croce’s Critique of Victim Art” in the January 30, 1995 issue of the magazine.

**Gia Kourlas, “Bill T. Jones is Making Room in Dance for More Than Dance,” New York Times, September 18, 2018.

***Dancers performing during the Royce Hall engagement include Vinson Fraley, Jr., Barrington Hinds, Shane Larson, I-Ling Liu, Penda N’Diaye, Jenna Riegel, Christina Robson, Carlo Antonio Villanueva, and Huiwang Zhang.

Color photographs: Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company, Analogy Trilogy. Photographs by Paul B. Goode. Image credit: CAP UCLA.

Black and white photograph: Bill T. Jones (left) and Arnie Zane. Image credit: New York Live Arts.

ORSON WELLES — THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND

Part Barefoot Contessa, part Nashville, part psychedelic head trip—a sixties hangover shot in the seventies, abandoned in the eighties, and finally edited down from over 100 hours of footage to a two-hour cut—Orson Welles’ final film, THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND, is a fascinatingly crass long day’s journey into night: the last fevered hours of Jake Hannaford, a past-his-prime Hollywood director played by John Huston with his signature leer and sense of exhausted disdain.

Surrounded by an entourage of enablers and trailed by a scrum of paparazzi and video documentarians, Hannaford makes his merry way out to Palm Springs to watch the rushes from his latest attempt at a cinematic comeback, which—as many early viewers have noted—plays like a Welles parody of Antonioni’s Zabriskie Point.

(The hyper-erotic film-within-a-film stars Welles’ partner Oja Kodar, and Robert Random—both frequently nude and both the objects of Hannaford’s obsession.)

Shot in multiple film stocks, this propulsive blend of coercion, abuse, and overwhelming cynicism teeters on and off the rails from its opening scene, but you won’t be able to divert your eyes from the action.

“More acutely than any other work attached to Welles, THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND is built—in form and content—of thrown voices, feints, false fronts, and tall tales leading to and from Welles’ idea of himself as a public figure, as the performance of a lifetime, drawn at maximum clarity then cracked apart and squirreled within shadows of such depth as to permit only flashes, glimpses, and whispers of that self-image.

“To be a wreck is, it seems, a certain sort of freedom.” — Phil Coldiron in Cinema Scope.

Tonight, THEY’LL LOVE ME WHEN I’M DEAD—the Morgan Neville documentary on Welles and his struggle to make his last opus—will screen at LACMA. Tomorrow night at the same venue, producer Frank Marshall will present the Welles picture, followed by a Q & A.

(Later this week, Marshall will also present Welles’ film at UCLA.)

 

THEY’LL LOVE ME WHEN I’M DEAD

Monday, October 29, at 7:30 pm.

Bing Theater, LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles.

 

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND

Tuesday, October 30, at 7:30.

Bing Theater, LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles.

 

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND

Thursday, November 1, at 7:30 pm.

James Bridges TheaterUCLA, 235 Charles E. Young Drive North, Los Angeles.

 

Through November 8:

Noho 7, 5240 Lankershim, North Hollywood.

From Friday, November 9:

Glendale, 207 North Maryland Avenue, Glendale.

And on Netflix.

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND features screen appearances by Mercedes McCambridge, Paul Stewart, Norman Foster, Susan Strasberg, Edmond O’Brien, Lilli Palmer, Claude Chabrol, Dennis Hopper, Stéphane AudranPaul Mazursky, and Welles intimate Peter Bogdanovich, whose efforts in the assembly and release of the film were significant.

From top:

Oja Kodar(left) and Orson Welles (right) in the set of The Other Side of the Wind.

Kodar (2).

Robert Random and Kodar.

Credit for all images: Netflix.

REBECCA SOLNIT IN CONVERSATION

“I have been fascinated by trying to map the ways that we think and talk, the unsorted experience wherein one can start by complaining about politics and end by confessing about passions, the ease with which we can get to any point from any other point…

“The straight line of conversational narrative is too often an elevated freeway permitting no unplanned encounters or unnecessary detours. It is not how our thoughts travel, nor does it allow us to map the whole world rather than one streamlined trajectory across it.”

“I wanted more, more scope, more nuance, more inclusion of crucial details and associations that are conventionally excluded. The convergence of multiple kinds of stories shaped my writing in one way; this traveling by association shaped it in others.” — Rebecca Solnit*

This week, CAP UCLA presents the essential author and activist Rebecca Solnit, in conversation with UCLA professor and LENS founder Jon Christensen.

REBECCA SOLNIT IN CONVERSATION WITH JON CHRISTENSEN

Thursday, October 25, at 8 pm.

Royce Hall, UCLA, 10745 Dickson Court, Los Angeles.

See Solnit on Christine Blasey Ford.

On Kavanaugh.

On the October 2018 IPCC report on climate change.

*Rebecca Solnit, Storming the Gates of Paradise (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007), 2.

Below: Rebecca Solnit. Photograph by Adrian Mendoza. Image credit: CAP UCLA.

Book cover image credits: Haymarket Books, and Penguin (A Field Guide to Getting Lost).

HELEN MOLESWORTH AT UCLA

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Helen Molesworth will be teaching a class at UCLA this fall. Last month she gave the commencement address at the university’s School of the Arts and Architecture:

“Thank you. Thank you, Dean [Brett] Steele, for the invitation to speak today to the UCLA faculty and staff, to the families and friends of the students gathered here today. I know it sounds cliché, but it really is an honor to stand before you this afternoon. First things first, I want to offer the graduating class of 2018 of the School of Arts and Architecture some big-time congratulations. The word “congratulations” has two Latin roots. The first is to wish joy, and the second is to be together. It gives me such pleasure to be together today with you and wish you joy. Congratulations.

“The task of the commencement speaker is to send you into the world with some pearls of wisdom before you start your so-called real life. But I confess, I wonder what knowledge I possess that could be useful for you, you for whom the Internet always existed, you for whom gay marriage and marijuana are legal. Neither were legal when I was in college—[I was] pretty much a petty criminal by the time of my graduation. You who witnessed the first black president as an everyday reality rather than an impossible dream, you who saw the Twin Towers fall as children. What can I possibly say to equip you not for the journey you are about to begin, but the journey that you are already on?

“I’ve decided to tell you how hopeful I am about the future, and one of the reasons I am hopeful is because of your generation. You guys have come of age against an extraordinary backdrop of actual and symbolic change. From the two-term Obama presidency that shaped your sense of political possibility, to new ideas in the workplace symbolized by the Me Too and Time’s Up movements, to your generation’s acceptance of trans identities, to the bravery of those of you with DACA status, to your support of the water protectors at Standing Rock, to new ideas about race and power exemplified by Black Lives Matter. And now there are those following in your footsteps. High school students across the country, led by their peers from Parkland, calling for an end to gun violence. These are huge advances in the realm of everyday life, and you have already helped to shape these changes.

“But, even though I am hopeful, it would be foolish not to mention how spectacularly messed up the world is at the moment. Both here and abroad, democracy finds itself imperiled by the all-too-familiar wins of authoritarianism and nationalism. In our country, the difficult task of democracy is under enormous pressure from a newer threat, an increasingly powerful oligarchy that has concentrated more money in the hands of fewer individuals than the feudal period. This oligarchy has inserted its values of profit and their inherent belief in money and wealth as the ultimate metrics of success into democracy’s most fundamental institutions: the press, scientific research, concert halls, the university, museums, all institutions that were previously believed to stand apart from the forces of the market. The worlds of culture and art, the worlds you are poised to enter, are striated with the pressure of these moneyed forces in ways we have never before encountered.

“And yet, I find these times as joyful as they are scary. One reason for my joy is my ability to address you, the next generation of artists and cultural thinkers, as the folks who have as the bedrock of your pedagogical experience the crit. The crit, for those of you in the back rows who may be unfamiliar with the term, is short for the word “critique.” It is a classroom exercise in which an artist shows her work to her teachers and fellow students, and everyone is at liberty to say what they think. The crit is unique to teaching in the arts, and it happens in writing, art, design, and architecture. The crit teaches students how to present their work and share their intentions and their process. Many people think that the primary value of the crit is that it teaches the student presenting her work to be as good as talking about her work as she is as making it.

“But I want to suggest that you were learning something else in the crit. You were learning how to listen. When you sat in a crit, you weren’t simply learning to wait your turn before you spoke. Some of you were learning how to listen to what was being said, as well as what wasn’t being said. You were learning to listen carefully to people’s choice of words, learning to listen for the emotional content of a statement as well as its factual one. You were learning to listen as a way to slow down the formation of your own opinion. You learned it was better to listen to what happened in the crit before you made your mind up about what you thought about the work. You were learning how to listen with compassion and ambivalence. In other words, you were learning how to listen to the complexity and the nuance of the crit itself.

“I want to be clear, not everybody learns how to do this. While you were learning to make and talk about art, you were also learning how to listen. I can think of no other time when it has been this important to be a very, very good listener. The composer John Cage suggested that listening would be our greatest virtue when he wrote his famous composition “4’33,” a piece for piano where the performer goes to the stage, walks up to the piano, lifts the lid of the piano, and sits with his hands in his lap. They sit motionless for four minutes and 33 seconds. Audiences rebelled when they first heard this piece. They were incensed that they were not being entertained by the artist. But Cage was asking the audience to listen differently. He was showing them that there is no such thing as silence. There is always sound. It is the ear that must be trained. We must learn to listen as much as we learn to speak.

“This is what Parkland High School student Emma Gonzalez did when she stood silent for four minutes before an assembly of tens of thousands of people to protest gun violence in the United States. She was refusing to lead us or entertain us with her grief. She was asking us instead to listen, to ourselves, to each other, to the situation. Those of us who have been in a crit know that one of the most interesting questions we can ask ourselves right now is, what did we hear when Emma Gonzalez stopped speaking?

“Don’t get me wrong. I know it’s actually really hard to listen. But I’m pretty convinced that it’s the only way towards change. Listening is the basis of empathy, and empathy is the only way to think our way out of the stranglehold of the debilitating and outmoded forms of thought we have inherited from our colonial past. It’s inspiring to stand in front of you today because you guys already have a leg up. Because of the crit, you guys already know that listening helps you learn, that every choice you make has meaning. You know from listening to others that meaning is not made individually, but collectively. In other words, you know how to be a citizen.

“I think your generation is the first generation to come of age when we can say that white supremacy is dying. In my entire life, I have never heard so many people from so many different walks of life be able to name and acknowledge the disaster visited upon us. I know in my heart of hearts that some of the most important voices who have helped us understand how the past has shaped us have been artists and musicians and dancers and writers and architects, for they were listening and they have been reporting back to us about what they heard.

“But the capacity to identify and name the problem is only half the battle. There will be a long and hard fight ahead. People in power have a lot to lose, for their very sense of self is bound up in fantasies of whiteness and money and power. And yet, what I hear in the daily barrage of bad news is not strength, but weakness. What I hear in this current administration’s culture of lying, bullying, hatred, and violence is not power, but a death rattle. Indeed, I think we are bearing witness to the death rattle of our colonial past, and like all deaths from toxic diseases it will not be an easy or a graceful one. The patient is fighting the diagnosis, fighting the reality of our country’s new demographics, new demographics so beautifully on display here today.

“Yet I believe Martin Luther King when he said that the arc of the moral universe is long, but that it bends ever so slightly toward justice. We are on the downward slope of that long arc now. Now is the time to consider listening an active skill rather than a passive activity. Now is the time to listen to those who have not been in power. Now is the time to listen to the myriad ways people talk, think, and feel. Now is the time we make sure to listen to the words, the feelings, and the silences of the many, rather than the few. Can you imagine what our lives would be like if we had listened to Native peoples, if we had listened to the centuries of women denied formal education, if we were listening to the migrants crossing our borders?
“Now is the time for the artists who founded Black Lives Matter, for the artists who founded Time’s Up, for the young drama students at Parkland, and you guys, the assembled artists sitting before me today, to bring your very special listening skills to bear on this extraordinary time of change. I selfishly cannot wait to reap the benefits of how your generation will listen, and my faith in your ability to listen brings me back to my congratulations, to this act of gathering and wishing one another well, for being together and expressing our thoughts and feelings is what art is all about, and it is also the imperative work of democracy itself.
“All right. I looked up lots of graduation speeches on the web, and you’re supposed to offer some advice. So this is now the five pieces of very concrete advice I am going to offer you.

“One, we have two ears and one mouth, so technically it should be twice as easy to listen as it is to talk.

“Two, stick close to your friends over the years ahead. Look around at each other now, smile, dap your friends, kiss your lovers. Life is long, and you are all going to need each other.

“Three, make your bed. I know that that’s a very Oprah-like thing to say, and I have no idea what it has to do with white supremacy, but I also know that making your bed is one of those things that makes you a more productive person. I don’t know why that is, but you should just do it. Trust me. Make your bed.

“Four, if you are lucky enough to enjoy prosperity, remember to share it. Don’t stockpile power and money. If they come your way, redistribute them. Share the joys of your successes widely.

“And five, most of all, please remember that love remains our greatest attribute. Our capacity for love is infinite. The more love we make, the more we receive. The more we receive, the more we can give away, and so on, and so on, and so on.

“Congratulations.” — Helen Molesworth

artnet.com/helen-molesworth-commencement-ucla

See “Under the Volcano: Helen Molesworth in conversation with Dorothée Perret,” PARIS LA 14 (Winter 2016): 29–37.

dopepress.fr/paris-la-issue-14

See: artforum.com/sarah-lehrer-graiwer-introduction-helen-molesworth

Above: Helen Molesworth, This Will Have Been, exhibition catalogue (Chicago: Museum of Contemporary Art/New Haven, CT.: Yale University Press, 2012).

Below: Helen Molesworth at UCLA commencement, 2018. Image credit: UCLA Arts.

Helen Molesworth. Photo: Courtesy UCLA Arts.

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