Events

Marking the Winter Solstice with a Shout at the Whitney Museum

Celebrate the winter solstice with Sibyl Kempson’s rituals tuning in to the sun.

Sibyl Kempson, "12 Shouts to the Ten Forgotten Heavens," Spring Equinox, March 20, 2016, at the Whitney Museum of American Art (photo © Paula Court)
Sibyl Kempson, from the series 12 Shouts to the Ten Forgotten Heavens, “Spring Equinox,” March 20, 2016, at the Whitney Museum of American Art (photo © Paula Court)

This statement sounds crazy in 2017, but it’s true: The darkest day of the year is yet to come. That will be Thursday, December 21, the winter solstice, which brings the year’s longest night and shortest day. It’s a powerful moment in any number of religious and spiritual traditions — it may be the moment of truest, deepest blackness, but it also marks the beginning of the turn back to the sun. White-night and fire-filled holidays abound, community is celebrated, faces and intentions are turned willfully toward the light. It’s a time for evocative contrasts and dynamic, life-affirming gatherings.

At the Whitney Museum, Sibyl Kempson will present the eighth “Shout” in her cycle of iterative equinox and solstice performances, 12 Shouts to the Ten Forgotten Heavens; this one titled, appropriately, “Winter Solstice.” The all-day performance, per the official description, is a celebratory and contemplative engagement with the shifting dynamics of darkness and light: “As the day unfolds, the theater gradually transitions into four distinct scenic landscapes. Each encourages the viewer to contemplate the interplay between internal and external worlds.” A bell will ring at both the precise astronomical solstice (11:28 am) and again at sunset (4:32 pm), marked by a ceremony.

In dark times, it’s compelling — not to say illuminating — to be reminded that, whether we know it yet or not, we are being turned back toward the light.

When: Thursday, December 21, 10:30am–6pm
Where: Whitney Museum, third floor, Susan and John Hess Family Gallery and Theater (99 Gansevoort Street, Manhattan)

More info here.

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