by Drew Klein
Posted In: Performance Art
at 03:48 PM | Permalink
CAC performance curator Drew Klein reports from arts biennial in NYC
Arriving in New York for a work-related trip
always causes my nerves to stand at full attention. I typically overcomplicate my
schedule with back-to-back caffeine dates in different neighborhoods, or try
and sneak in one more performance than would be wise. At the same time, I know
when I'm back here that I'm going to be seeing some of the most
forward-thinking live art happening in the world today, and the energy and
inspiration I pull from the shows I see and the people I meet will influence my
programming for seasons to come.
One layover, a two-hour delay and an
annoying navigation out of Newark Airport later, I'm in the city and
frantically sprinting to my first pow wow of the week with artist Hisham
Bharoocha. Hisham is highly regarded for his music, visual art and
photography, though I'm talking with him mainly in regard to the former. A
founding member of the group Black Dice, his recent experiences have seen him
organize the now legendary BOADRUM experiences in which 77 and, later, 88 drummers
played the same number of kits on the dates 07/07/07 and 08/08/08, respectively, as well as
other projects utilizing the two main parts of his live creative output — voice
and percussion. Hisham owns a unique ability to take a live concept and build
it into something visceral yet magical, and I was glad to find that I enjoyed
him as a human being as well. I hate bad coffee dates.
However, the main reason for being in New
York this time of year is Performa 13, the performance art biennial hosted at
various venues around the city that runs for 24 days in November. Started in
2005 by art historian RoseLee Goldberg (she has written a book on performance
art and is now revered as a key figure in that world), Performa presents some
of today's most compelling performance art works and, more famously,
commissions new work from reputable artists who work across various mediums —
artists ranging from Carlos Amorales to Japanther to Ragnar Kjartansson.
Earlier performances this month have featured Dean Spunt of No Age, a Contemporary Arts Center
performer this past September, and C. Spencer Yeh, the longtime Cincinnati
resident and noise art maestro whose visual art exhibition Standard
Definition opened at the CAC in October 2009. My experience two years ago at
Performa 11 introduced me to a rough working of Jace Clayton's Julius Eastman
Memorial Dinner, and that serendipitous event lead to the project being
further developed and realized before its world premiere as a
production-in-full in our performance program this past April.
The first experience I had with Performa 13
will be hard to beat, I imagine. Arriving at the quaint Connelly Theater Ryan
McNamara's MEƎM: A Story Ballet About The Internet, the attendants
were instructed to check all coats and bags at the entrance before entering
what served as a sort of waiting room of art school students, seasoned
performance art patrons and those seeking something out of the ordinary. The
room resembled a high school cafeteria in look and ambiance, filled with social
chatter between friends and colleagues. As I paid little attention to the conversations,
I went into the performance completely unaware of what would happen.
After being lead into an auditorium with
standard seating facing an elevated stage, the program began with three male
dancers contorting their bodies slowly and precisely to a modern dance Pop
soundtrack. Not long into the routine it became clear that “something” was
happening directly behind the audience. Too unbothered to turn around and take
my attention from the stage, I heard small laughs and continued to feel like the
program was turning into something entirely new. As the energy picked up around
me, I finally glanced back and for the first time noticed that nearly all of
the rows behind me were no longer there, and that two other dancers had set up
shop in the back corners of the room and portions of the audience were now
seated, in the same chairs, facing those performances. At the same time, two
audience members appeared in their chairs moving up the ramps at the sides of
the stage, being pulled by two production team members. Before too long, my own
chair was lifted up and I was swiftly carted, passing through one room with
three leotard-adorned dancers moving to strobe-affected disco before being
delivered to a room where two women in matching outfits performed a laconic
dance to a playlist of suspenseful film score pieces. This routine continued
for an hour, with roughly 10 minutes spent at each location. At the end, after
we were all put back in what we thought were our resting positions, there was
still time for one final, beautiful, balletic piece. Then our chairs were
forcefully reconfigured, and our expectations were once again turned upside
The music was mostly modern, referencing pop
culture, and the dance routines were pulled (stolen) from popular internet
videos. The anxiety over being completely unable to control your own attention,
while still desperately attempting to, was incredibly effective in highlighting
the performance's entire concept of questioning the very possibility of a
singular “experience” today. There were roughly 10-12 possible positions,
and each person probably experienced no more than six of those. We all wanted
to catch more of what was happening all around, but often ignored what was
right in front us. In the end, nobody seemed to leave feeling like they didn't
get to experience it all.Follow citybeat.com for more Performa 13 updates from Drew Klein.
1 Comment · Wednesday, October 30, 2013
On the first Wednesday of each month, a
group of special visitors gathers in one of three participating
Cincinnati museums for a tour designed expressly for them. The group
includes people whose memories are fragile in the extreme and their
guests, the family members or others who accompany them.
by Jac Kern
Posted In: Events
at 12:15 PM | Permalink
Day! Across the world
today, people are converting metered parking spaces into tiny temporary public
parks. Look up #parkingday on Instagram to see how artists, activists and
everyday citizens are turning parking spots into amazing hangout spots — just
for an hour (or as long as their meter lasts).
PARK[ing] Day is being celebrated on Main Street in Over-the-Rhine and on
Eighth Street between Broadway and Sycamore streets until 2 p.m. From 5-7 p.m. Friday,
parking spaces on Main Street will be transformed into temporary galleries and
performance stages. Find more information here.
artist JR is in town this week for his exhibition at the Contemporary Arts
Center opening Friday — his first solo show in the country. JR takes photographs
of people, prints these extremely large-scale portraits and pastes them on
buildings, rooftops and trains across the globe. Tonight’s opening at the CAC
begins with a members-only artist talk at 7 p.m. The celebration opens to the
public at 8 p.m. ($10 for non-members). JR’s Inside Out photo van will be on-site to take free portraits of
people that will be printed as 36-by-53-inch posters, ready for pasting. The exhibit, JR, is open at the CAC through Feb. 2, 2014. Read our interview with JR and find more details about the show.
Saturday is the
last day of summer and the final City Flea in Washington Park before the market
goes indoors for the fall and winter. Send off summer with a trip to the flea,
open 10 a.m-4 p.m. Find more info and vendors here.
Zinzinnati is the largest ‘fest in the country — more than 500,000 German
enthusiasts fill six blocks of downtown for the annual celebration. In addition
for brats and beer, Star Trek star/social media superstar George Takei is Grand
Marshal this year! The OG Mr. Sulu will lead this year’s World’s Largest
Chicken Dance at 4 p.m. Saturday. Oktoberfest runs 5 p.m.-midnight Friday, 11
a.m.-midnight Saturday and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday. Pick up the official fest
guide in this week’s issue or online.
The Thompson House
in Newport is now under new management they’re hosting an open house for bands
and patrons this weekend. The new crew is ready to answer your questions about
the bar, bands and any rumors starting at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Go here
for more info.
For more art openings,
parties and other stuff to do this weekend, check out our To Do picks,
full calendar and Rick
Door for weekend theater offerings.
0 Comments · Wednesday, September 18, 2013
JR has been covering the world with his art — and Cincinnati is next. The 30-year-old French street artist has
pasted his monumental photographic-portrait posters in some unusual
places (and not always with official permission): on the sides of buses
in the African nation of Sierra Leone, on the rooftop of a Palestinian
building in the West Bank city of Nablus, along the old and weathered
city walls of Havana...
0 Comments · Wednesday, August 7, 2013
In its two years in existence, the Contemporary Arts Center’s performance season — curated by Drew Klein — has grown in importance, if not become equal in interest to the museum’s exhibition season. Now, Klein has announced the third season.
0 Comments · Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Ceramics artists Katie Parker and Guy
Michael Davis, who teach at the University of Cincinnati and frequently
create installations as a duo known as Future Retrieval, are well versed
in the traditions upon which their art relies. But in their effort to
push the limits of their studio practice, they’ve found ways to
incorporate technological innovations and play upon thematic conventions
to make their work fresh and relevant.
0 Comments · Wednesday, July 3, 2013
One of Over-the-Rhine’s most popular
destinations, A Tavola (1220 Vine St.), is opening a second location in
Madeira. The new shop, at 7022 Miami Road, will open in December. I
think it’s great that the center of the city has so much goodness going
on that we can export it to the ’burbs.
0 Comments · Wednesday, June 26, 2013
If sometime early next year there is an
outbreak of people madly, passionately licking the support poles inside
Cincinnati buses, you’ll know Contemporary Arts Center’s upcoming Buildering: Misbehaving the City has had its desired effect.
by Mike Breen
Musician Joe Hedges teams with artist Jiemei Lin for unique performance/music/art piece
Singer/songwriter/musician Joe Hedges — known for work
with his band July for Kings, as well as some great solo ventures — is
collaborating with visual artist Jiemei Lin tonight at
downtown’s Contemporary Arts Center as part of the museum’s
series, "The Living Room." (Hedges is also a visual artist, creating
paintings, web art and installations.)
The twosome’s project, “Scroll Improvisation,” features
Hedges creating music on the fly with a mix of live and recorded
material, while Lin crafts a large “scroll drawing” on the floor.
According to the press release, “The piece will investigate the function
and history of narrative Chinese scrolls in a contemporary fashion
while exploring the idea of the western living room as a venue for
improvisational ambient and Folk music.” (Lin is a native of China.)
More from the CAC: "In the west, the living room has long
been a venue for intimate performances of music for family and friends
using inexpensive hand-held instruments. Traditional Chinese living
rooms contain a scroll featuring calligraphy and painting. Both western
acoustic music and eastern paper scrolls tell stories, reinforce family
identities and values. Scroll Improvisation investigates the
relationship of music and art, narrative quality of Chinese scrolls,
notation and recording, cultural identity and control."
Monday’s special performance begins at 8 p.m. and is free and open to the public. For more information, visit contemporaryartscenter.org.
2 Comments · Wednesday, June 5, 2013
The Contemporary Arts Center, through its 2013 Summer Performance Series in “The Living Room” of The Living Room exhibition, kicks off the season with a fascinating performance, Screenage Wasteland,
from Jim Swill, an artist known for his spoken word riffs, short films
and collage work.