Articles

Curator Diary: Jason Andrew in Asheville (Day 4)

by Kyle Chayka on June 17, 2011

Editorial note: This Curator Diary is an editorial feature documenting curator and local Bushwick hero Jason Andrew’s trip to Asheville, North Carolina to mount an ambitious exhibition of work by Jack Tworkov. The column will explore the day-to-day process of curating. Andrew is curating Jack Tworkov: The Accident of Choice, which opens tomorrow, June 17, at the Black Mountain College Museum & Arts Center (56 Broadway, Asheville, North Carolina) and runs until September 17, 2011.

A curator’s job isn’t just to shuffle some art around in a gallery space. In many ways, curators are the glue that hold artistic communities together, by organizing group events, serving as hubs of communication and connecting people and groups on local, national and international levels. In this Curator Diary, Jason Andrew does a lot of visiting, a lot of lunching and a lot of talking. It’s all a part of the gig. — KC

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Day 4: Thursday, June 16

Photos from Jason Andrew's Day 4 diary

7AM. Missed my alarm. Woke up looking from my dog Fern. I miss her. I miss her a lot. Shower and race to coffee. Prep the eblast announcing the Tworkov show.

Lunch with dancer / choreographer / teacher Ann Dunn. Amazing woman. Remarkable story. Trained on a Ford Foundation scholarship at School of American Ballet in late 1960s. Then Martha Graham. Merce Cunningham. Ted Shawn and Margaret Craske. Then Hartford Ballet. We share a love for Ruth Page. Opened a dance school in Asheville nearly 30 years ago. PhD in literature of the English and Italian Renaissance. Continues to teach ballet, run a dance school and company and currently teaches Humanities Courses with emphasis on the Italian Renaissance.

Ann picks me up at the Museum. I give her a quick walk through the Tworkov show. In the parking lot outside she introduces me to the composer and acclaimed pianist Seamus McNerney. We drive to lunch at a little restaurant tucked away in the hills called Grovewood Café. Just a stones throw from the legendary Grove Park Inn where F. Scott Fitzgerald stayed in the mid 1930s. “His wife Zelda died while being treated at a mental hospital. She was caught in a fire and died,” said Ann.

Arrive at the Café, I could tell she eats there often. “We have your favorite table waiting,” said the maître d. I love Southern hospitality! Ann ordered a glass of wine and a plate of oysters with extra lemons. I had the tuna melt on toast dill bread and water. “Good choice,” Ann says.

I asked her about dancing and choreographing: “I often create in silence. Unless I’m choreographing something like Firebird,” she explains. Ann has just completed a full length Carmen. “I like to use dancers, their natural ability, and draw out my authentic style through their natural movement,” she continues, “I use a lot of improvisation with my dancers and then modify and travel the choreography making the choices of what stays and what goes … I dream dances and in the night I get up and write them down because in the morning they are all gone … I like choreographing lying down … It’s difficult to talk art, but in essence it’s what makes you free.

Clockwise from top right, installation view of Jack Tworkov, letter from Franz Kline, installation view, letter from Robert Rauschenberg

In the 1980s she moved her dance school to an old stone carver’s garage. “I have a fine collection of grave stones. When the carvers made a mistake they would toss the stone down into the river. I managed to retrieve a number of the stones. They remind me of mortality. I want to do a dance using them some how. There is even one that has the name DUNN. I’ve instructed my children to use that stone as my marker. Even though the first name on the stone isn’t mine, it will save them a lot of money!” she joked.

I discussed the Masonic Project, my new ballet called UNTITLED (as of yet). She was enthusiastic and began offering input, suggestions, and amazing ideas. She recommended a percussionist that we definitely should bring on to the project.

Lunch done. Ann and I do a drive by the Grove Park Inn. Back at the Museum. Alice and I head over for the long awaited look at the Masonic Lodge.

Masonic Lodge. Incredible. It was recently reopened to the public. The Events Coodinator, Ron Lambe took us on a tour. It’s a massive building and I was coveting every space. The auditorium, which I’m renting for the performance space is incredible (see pictures) with audience in a half circle and mezzanine. The big worry for us all, Ann included, was that the flooring was carpet. No way for dancers to do pointe work on carpet … but looks like I’ll be able to lay down my Marley dance flooring over the carpet with no issues! And the third floor veranda will make for a great after party. “No nudity and no alcohol,” Mr. Lambe explains. I booked the auditorium and convinced Mr. Lambe to also let me rent the dining hall as a rehearsal space. Done and done.

Back to the Museum. Call Julia to tell her about the meeting with Ann and the Masonic Lodge. Call Ann to tell her about the Masonic Lodge. She says, “Glad you caught me. I just taught a kick ass ballet class!”

Labels and last details. Vitrines look amazing. Cleaning Plexiglas is a bit of a fetish of mine. Think we are all set for the opening tomorrow … Pants and shirt off to be pressed at the local dry cleaners. Thanks Jolene!

Coordinate a bit of the silent auction for the big ICE benefit at the Delancey on June 28.

Big run on the trails. Stop in at Staples all sweaty to find appropriate cord to run the power point for my lecture on Saturday. Find nothing compatible with Macs.

Dinner with the lovely Jolene, her husband Mitch, Jinx and his lovely lady Melissa. Jinx orders the trout and gets a bone lodged in his throat. I have baby back ribs. Wine bar. Bed.

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  • Julia Gleich

    Your projects reproduce like rabbits!!!! I’ve enjoyed the diary.

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