Posted inPerformance

Dissecting Contemporary Dance

Even for those well-versed in contemporary dance, Maria Hassabi’s work can sometimes test the very applicability of the term. Sure, postmodernism has expanded dance’s vocabulary to include all sorts of things well outside the limitations of formal technique, from pedestrian movement to text and so on, but at some level, most people still expect to see performers actually move around on stage at a dance piece.

Posted inArt

Making Documentaries More Real

In an email, a friend of mine mentioned a show taking place at the Kitchen next week: The Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller, created by the filmmaker Sam Green, with live music by indie rockers Yo La Tengo. The subject matter seemed like solid geeky/arty fare, but what stood out to me in the event description was the phrase “live documentary,” in quotes. Given the subject matter and the indie music, the first thing to come to mind when guessing what that might mean were the live, touring shows created in the past couple of years by the public radio programs RadioLab and This American Life. Then again, it was being presented at the Kitchen, a venue that has a history of presenting fairly aggressive work spanning visual, performance, and literary arts.

Posted inArt

Exploring Jacob Kassay’s Work Without a Price Tag

Despite his young age, Jacob Kassay is an artist with no shortage of press — last week it was just announced that he will be joining 303 Gallery at their new 24th Street location. After gaining people’s attention with a remarkably high auction price a few years ago at the Phillips de Pury & Co auction house — selling a painting estimated at $8,000, for $86,500 — he has been widely written about though predominantly through the lens of the art market and its impact on young artists. But aside from the usual gossip of over-the-top auction prices and his overnight success at the mere age of twenty-five, I found it difficult to find out anything about Kassay’s work aside from auction-related chatter, so I decided to contact the artist himself. Kassay took the time to speak with Hyperallergic over the phone, as well as in in person about his current exhibition, now on view at The Kitchen through Saturday, February 16.

Posted inPerformance

Instrumental People

When DD Dorvillier introduced an excerpt from her Danza Permanente at Judson Church last year, explaining that each of her four dancers would mirror one instrument in a Beethoven string quartet, a dance historian might have been puzzled. On the timeline of American concert dance, this sounded rather familiar: Didn’t the modern dance pioneers Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn do something similar about 100 years ago, when they developed a choreographic approach known as “music visualizations”? Hasn’t Mark Morris, famous for his musically complex choreography, been physicalizing classical scores since the 1980s? Oh, and then there’s Balanchine…

Posted inArt

The Man Who Made Kanye West Cry

Neal Medlyn has been channeling pop stars in New York galleries and theaters since the early aughts, and has built a repertoire of performances that run heavy on exhibitionism and intellectualism. His most recent show, Wicked Clown Love, which premiered at The Kitchen in February, is based on a trip to the Gathering of the Juggalos, the annual hardcore rap festival organized by the group Insane Clown Posse. Medlyn and I met at a bar in Chelsea, where he told me about how he made Kanye West cry, among other juicy tales.