TEXT COURTNEY MALICK
THE HAUNTED GREYSTONE MANSION SERVES
AS A PERFECT STAGE FOR EXPERIMENTAL PERFORMANCE ART
...Just next door, an especially impressive installation by Tom Lawson, Flora Wiegmann and Nina Waisman filled an adjacent room with large, free-standing, bright paintings of women reminiscent of Parisian images from the 1920s, while lights flashed on and off and almost invisible strings stretching from the ceiling to the floor signaled jarring bells and ringing noises to sound out. In the same room a slouchy, jazzy, Twin Peaks-esque dance took place, choreographed and performed by the trio, Jos McKain, Wiegmann and Allison Wyper....
“more pics bro” from Pieter Space on March 17th 2014
Words from Human Resources curator Oscar Santos
AMAZING SHOW TONIGHT. DANCE IS ALIVE AND YOU AND YOUR CREW ARE PART OF THE REASON WHY. GRACIAS! YES IM WRITING IN ALL CAPS CUZ IM KINDA SCREAMING IN JOY mmmkay!R
631 West 2nd Street
January 24–March 15
View of “Enlightenment Discourse on the Origins of Architecture,” 2014.
“Enlightenment Discourse on the Origins of Architecture,” London-based artistPablo Bronstein’s commissioned project for REDCAT, is not so much a scholarly investigation of architectural “origins” but an incisive experiment in formal and functional equivalence. The exhibition presents sculptures and drawings that plumb the gap between idealistic mediations of built space and lived reality. A collection of red furniture pieces emulate the configurations of an eighteenth-century Neoclassical interior while the drawings, which depict windows and arched entryways with sparse treatment, seem to situate the objects as model buildings for an “ideal city”—the kind articulated by Fra Carnevale in his fifteenth-century Renaissance painting of the same name. A conflation of forms (and functions) is explicitly evoked in an accompanying exhibition text that assigns dual meanings to these real and depicted structures: An “obelisk – toilet,” for instance, maintains a conical top that opens up to a hollowed seat, drawing parallels between reverence and defecation.
The multiplicity of meaning within Bronstein’s sculptures is further articulated through the movements of a performer who inhabits the space daily from 3 to 6 PM. Acting as both stagehand and principal dancer, she or he, depending on the day, initiates each cycle of dance by unlatching cabinets, propping open doors, transforming chairs into stepladders and a pair of what the artist has identified as “commode - tomb”s into a precarious, centerless stage composed of a multitude of edges rather than a single flat surface. The dancer navigates the lines of this transitory “tomb” with lithe, balanced movements before sinking into its gaping center. Positioned halfway between built construction and open space, the collapsed figure pauses before rising and returning each piece of furniture to its previously closed and decorous state. The performance repeats. While the actions are standardized, the tone, style, and nuanced mannerisms of each dancer are left up to them, and these choices engender a kind of performative free will. They are a reminder, perhaps, of our own agency within the unlikely structural and ideological conjunctions of historical discourse, “enlightened” or otherwise.
Review: Pablo Bronstein's dance with design at REDCAT gallery
February 06, 2014|By Sharon Mizota
A dancer maneuvers around and on furniture in Pablo Bronstein's "Enlightenment… (Scott Groller )
Pablo Bronstein’s installation at REDCAT is a comically oversize living room. But unlike many architecturally inspired works, it isn’t empty. A single performer, clad in a loose white blouse and black tights, maneuvers throughout the space from 3 to 6 p.m. daily. He or she methodically transforms the furniture — which is full of unexpected openings and dual uses — and performs a balletic dance. It’s a startling, and quite beautiful, intervention that draws intriguing parallels between bodily movement and furniture design.
It’s also a bit surreal, not only because of the unexpected transformations but because these pieces of furniture — Enlightenment-era, neoclassical designs — are ponderously large, giving the work an almost architectural feel. Indeed, the objects are arranged with an eye for symmetry around a large central cabinet; the wardrobes, dressers, chairs and even a decorative obelisk mimic the layout of a city or perhaps a church.
Reinforcing this ritualistic notion, the cabinet opens up to form an altar-like structure, and one of the chairs converts into a staircase leading up to it. A wardrobe’s doors actually function more like a garage door that can be propped up as a kind of lean-to. The hinged top of a seemingly decorative urn opens to reveal a storage cavity within. And in a cheeky move, the obelisk flips open to reveal a flat surface with a circular opening: a crude toilet.
Bronstein’s installation is dryly titled “Enlightenment Discourse on the Origins of Architecture.” And these little surprises are humorous jabs at the Enlightenment belief that the design of furniture (and any structure, really) can be traced back to the basic needs of the human body: shelter, food storage, waste disposal.
The most affecting juxtaposition is a dance performed atop and within two chests of drawers. The chests are actually hollow and can be linked together, back to back. Their hinged tops open to reveal a single, black cavity within. Balancing precariously around the edge of this box, the performer executes a stylized ballet that ends with the body slumped down into the opening as if enacting Jacques-Louis David’s 1793 painting “The Death of Marat.” As the exhibition handout suggests, the tomb, or the hole in the ground, was likely the first form of architecture.
The Enlightenment return to first principles in architecture might seem strange to us in the wake of the even more stripped-down aesthetic of the International Style, in which form was supposed to slavishly follow function according to Machine Age logic. The 17th and 18th century furniture still looks excessively decorated to our modern eyes, but it was the same idea clad in the trappings of a different era.
The dancer’s highly stylized and codified ballet moves put this disconnect into context. Dance, like architectural languages, has always been a style, an aesthetic affectation. If design is the hitching of a form to bodily functions, dance is the submission of the body to an ideal geometry. Both efforts, Bronstein suggests, are bound to be approximations. In other words, there’s no such thing as pure style.
Elevator Going Up! A MAD Agency Experience
by Mark Saldana
It comes as no surprise that downtown LA has become the premier location for the city's rising art scene. And it's also where, inside the 440 Hope space located in an alley between Hope and Grand Streets, curator and OCLA friend Jay Ezra Nayssan, along with Anatole Maggiar (both of the French creative group MAD Agency), staged a suspense-filled, one-night-only art show,Against the Grain, that I was lucky enough to witness.
Upon entering the mysterious space, we were ushered into a freight elevator. It would stop at three different floors, each showcasing a performance or installation. Once the doors opened at our first stop, the artist and filmmaker Alia Raza appeared. Dressed in all white with black latex gloves, she performedHypnotic Cascade Perfumes, in which she profusely sprayed the fragrance all over herself and inside the elevator, leaving us with a delightful whiff of floral aromas that would travel with us onto the next floors.
Again, the doors closed and opened, this time unveiling Lillian Shalom standing nonchalantly next to a live zebra drinking water out of a bowl. Her beautifully arranged jewels hung in front of her and the zebra, while mist sprayed from the ceiling. Moments later, we began traveling to the next level, where a lovely smell exuded from the room. An elaborate floral arrangement of green anthuriums, coleus, kniphofia, created by the talented florist Maurice Harris of Bloom and Plume, was revealed. This was the only floor where we were actually allowed out of the elevator. Soon thereafter, Jos McKain and Nathan Makolandra came out in full body bio-hazard suits to perform an original choreographed ballet. You kind of felt like a voyeur, watching them through a window in an intimate moment.
Overall, the show's setup made for a connection with the artists and a great experience. To be notified for upcoming shows, contact email@example.com.
Co-conceived with Ashley Hendra & Ana Ramos
Best Discovery: ART DEPARTMENT
If you're like us, you show up at EDC wondering why no one invited Flying Lotus or Four Tet to the party. The delightful truth is that while artists with indie crossover have been largely overlooked, there is much deeper digging to be done in some of the outlying tents. The Neon Garden may have been the best, hosting what seemed like an endless string of progressive house and minimal techno thanks to curators like Carl Cox and Damian Lazarus. Art Department — consisting of Jinxx Records old-schooler Kenny Glasgow and No. 19 label-owner Jonny White — dealt out some of the most futuristic electronica of the entire event, lacing the aforementioned strains with Knife-like sequencer warbles, dark synthery, and a percussive palate that'd get them signed to DFA in about two extra-modern measures. It didn't hurt that when we came across the duo, they were accompanied by Lazarus' bizarre dance squad — interpretive weirdos dressed for a hula hoopla — and silhouetted by a throbbing, shape-shifting pyramid that hit us right in our arty heart.
The Vixen Kabarett Naked Rebellion
BySteven Leigh MorrisWednesday, May 30 2007
“No nipples and no pink,” said Tiffany over the phone, explaining how even the boundary-bending Vixen Kabarett created by students at the normally staid Chapman University in Orange County has its boundaries.
“Most of our budget went to pasties,” Tiffany added.
Speaking in exuberant, Valley-girl cadences, Tiffany, a senior, also said that their plan was eventually to bring the act to the Roxy. Playing once per semester for the past three years, the politically charged, erotic dance show — a cross between Pussycat Dolls Live andA Clockwork Orange— had been packing in audiences for late-night performances at the university’s Memorial Hall.
“We’re making a revolution,” exults Tiffany, who grew up in Anaheim. Tiffany (who’s not in the show) wrote up a press release explaining how the show is trying to help people respect themselves by knocking down oppressive media stereotypes of what beauty should look like. The show had no problem drawing a crowd from a combination of word-of-mouth advertising and MySpace. Meanwhile, Tiffany says that her mom — “one of the original O.C. punks” — has been “totally supportive,” attending every show.
Standing in line on the steps outside the theater, a woman, heavy on the makeup, squeaks, “I’m scared. Have you been to one of these before?”
“Uh-huh. They’re fun,” replies her friend.
Portraits of the university’s deans and presidents-of-yore adorn the inner lobby. In a floral dress, risqué around the cleavage, Tiffany works the box-office table. She sees me and introduces me to her mom, who looks just like her. Inside the theater, there’s a festive air of anticipation. Some spectators look down from a gallery, but most of the crowd fills in the lower sanctum.
The lights come up on a couch draped in a white sheet. A woman in bra and shorts smokes, or appears to smoke, a hash pipe.
“Ohmygod!” I hear behind me. “That’s Melanie! She works in admissions!”
Video images project Bosch-like sketches of Hades, modern buildings in flames, and a nuclear-bomb detonation. TV clips from public-service videos from the ’50s —Reefer Madness-like — are accompanied by a soundtrack that includes a variation on the Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby,” Martin Luther King intoning “Thank God almighty I’m free at last” and Gwen Stefani’s “What Are You Waiting For?”
The selections complement a parade of about two dozen actor-dancers — three or four men at the most — flaunting large bodies, svelte bodies, glittered bodies costumed in silks and shrouds, bodies stripping, pole dancing, striking fetishistic poses, snapping their heads and hips in unison to tribal drumming, flinging back hair, leering at the screaming audience. The act is defiant and betrays not a hint of self-consciousness. I kept thinking of what the ghosts of those dead presidents painted in the lobby would think of this.
The performance ends around midnight, and the 23-year-old creator, Josh McKaine, lounges on the same couch that opened the show, while I sit in a folding chair. McKaine is a thin man in tight jeans, still sweat-drenched in an unbuttoned shirt. He claims not to be a choreographer. “I’m a director who moves people around.”
He’s been in theater since he was 2, and was also a Rotary Youth ambassador in India when the United States invaded Iraq. “I had to defend America,” he says, but he’s not anymore.
“We have nothing to look forward to. Most of us in this show are educated, poor and facing crappy jobs with no health care and no pensions. We’ve been robbed.”
Vixen Kabarett started as McKaine’s solo show, part of a lip-synching contest for campus sororities and fraternities. With echoes ofLittle Miss Sunshine, the judges gave McKaine a zero score for “inappropriate behavior.”
Forty percent of Chapman students are gay, says McKaine, citing a recent survey by the campus’ Queer Straight Alliance. “I know it’s true because I’ve tried to fuck all of them.”
Tiffany points out that the administration prohibited the show’s poster because it glorified drug use. The show itself, however, was not banned, and the administration did contribute its 1,200-seat theater, semester after semester, without charge, throwing in a public-safety contingent as well.
McKaine’s mood may have been particularly soured by the death of a friend serving in Iraq the prior month, and by the culture’s war against the human body in general. “Bodies can be blown up on cable, but show a nipple, and the station loses a license.”
A blond dancer who prefers to remain anonymous — a 25-year-old Chapman graduate who lived for a year in New York and has returned to the O.C. to work for Planned Parenthood — sidles up to McKaine and drapes one arm around him. She was wearing only underwear and pasties.
“I had liberal parents,” she says. “My mom started a sex-education class for the sixth grade. My house was very naked, so I’ve always been comfortable with my body, and showing it off. Now I’m a crazy feminist...” she quips. To show their power, some people start wars; others take off their clothes and dance.