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(BOSTON, July 21, 2015) The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (ICA) presents ambitious performing arts programming for the 2015-2016 season including groundbreaking dance, theater, music and multimedia performances, as well as a provocative film and video schedule.
Highlights include performances and artist talks as part of the fall exhibition Leap Before You Leap: Black Mountain College 1933–1957 (Oct. 10, 2015 – Jan. 24, 2016), including a newly rediscovered work by Merce Cunningham and avant-garde compositions by John Cage, performed on a piano “prepared” to his specifications.
All events take place in the Barbara Lee Family Foundation Theater at the ICA, 100 Northern Avenue, Boston. Ticketed programs go on sale to ICA members on July 21 and to the general public on July 22. Tickets can be purchased at www.icaboston.org or by calling 617-478-3103.
OCT 8, 9 + 10 | 8 PM
Thank You For Coming: Attendance
$15 ICA members + students / $25 nonmembers
Faye Driscoll’s Attendance continues the choreographer’s interest in how people perceive themselves in relationship to others – an idea expressed in her earlier work You’re Me, performed at the ICA in 2012. In this first installment of her Thank You for Coming trilogy, five performers (along with Driscoll and composer Michael Kiley) pass through ever-morphing states of physical entanglements and scenes of distorted familiarity with physical rigor and humor, creating a constantly reimagined group experience. Intimately staged in the round, Driscoll creates a heightened reality of observation, invitation, and interdependence. Audience and performers increasingly find themselves becoming one as a beautiful and shared identity emerges. The second part of the trilogy was in development at the ICA this past summer and will be presented in 2016.
DEC 18 + 19 | 8 PM
DEC 20 | 2 PM
The Bang Group
$15 ICA members + students / $25 nonmembers
Nut/Cracked—The Bang Group’s beloved, witty response to The Nutcracker—has delighted audiences for more than a decade. Nut/Cracked takes its inspiration from all corners of the dance canon, from tap riffs to en pointe ballet, by way of bubble wrap, disco, and Chinese take-out noodles (consumed en pointe!). Choreographer David Parker finds beauty in the ridiculous, waltzing us through many incarnations of Tchaikovsky’s score, including versions by Duke Ellington and Glenn Miller, as well as the traditional orchestral suite. You’ll never watch The Nutcracker in quite the same way again!
MAR 25 + 26 | 8 pm
Antigone Sr./Twenty Looks or Paris is Burning at The Judson Church (L)
$15 members + students/$30 nonmembers
“But this, finally, is the House of Harrell.” — Claudia La Rocco, the New York Times
“For a “serious” artist, Harrell doesn’t seem to take himself too seriously.” Andrew Boynton, the New Yorker
When Trajal Harrell first posed his provocative question of what would happen if vogue dancers from Harlem had come downtown to mash up with the post-moderns at Judson Church in the 1960s, who knew the answer would lead to Greek tragedy. In Antigone Sr. (L), the fifth installment of Harrell’s ongoing series Twenty Looks or Paris is Burning at The Judson Church (ICA audiences may remember the previous installment (M)imosa), the pioneering choreographer questions how different vogueing and the theater of antiquity might be, reimagining notions of gender, class, sexuality, and citizenship.
APR 8 + 9 | 8 PM
a canary torsi
$15 members + students/$30 nonmembers
“Castro and her teeming band of collaborators…have gone all out here in an elaborate mash-up of Sun King spectacle with modern technology in which audience members are not only part of the mix but the whole point of it.” —dance critic Eva Yaa Asantewaa
A spectacle in three acts, choreographer Yanira Castro’s Court/Garden takes as its inspiration the imperial ballets of Louis XIV’s court, the spectatorship of the proscenium stage, and the presentation of video feeds. Each act is staged within a specific audience/performer relationship, shifting the experience to ask, Who is the court? Who will be king for a day? Performed by Castro’s group a canary torsi, Court/Garden evokes cultural, social, and political frames of experience with an operatic, spectacle-driven vocabulary reflecting how power functions in contemporary theatrical images from the fashion runway to the creation of cultural icons.
LEAP BEFORE YOU LOOK: BLACK MOUNTAIN COLLEGE 1933-1957
Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College 1933–1957 (Oct. 10, 2015 – Jan. 24, 2016) is the first comprehensive U.S. museum exhibition on Black Mountain College, a small, experimental school in North Carolina whose influence on art still has profound impact today. Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College 1933–1957 focuses on how, despite its brief existence, Black Mountain College became a seminal meeting place for many of the artists, musicians, poets, and thinkers who would become leading practitioners of the postwar period. A defining feature of the education and experience at Black Mountain College was the integration of all art forms—music, dance, film, theater, and visual arts—with the liberal arts. Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College 1933–1957 includes a grand piano and a sprung dance floor within the galleries so that dance and music performances may take place alongside paintings and sculptures in a nod to the college’s radical interdisciplinarity.
OCT 10 + 11 | 2 PM + 4 PM
Excerpts of work by Merce Cunningham
Performed by students from Boston Conservatory.
OCT 13 + 15 | TIME TBD
Performance by Harvard students based on Cunningham techniques
OCT 17 + 18 | 2 PM + 4 PM
NOV 21 + 22 | 2 PM + 4 PM
JAN 16 + 17 | 2 PM + 4 PM
Polly Motley performs Katherine Litz’s Glyph
Commissioned by the ICA, dancer and choreographer Polly Motley performs Glyph, a whimsical work choreographed by dancer and teacher Katherine Litz at Black Mountain College in 1951. Like Cunningham, Litz pursued movement based on the logic of the body in space rather than an allegory of inner emotions.
NOV 12, DEC 10 + 12, JAN 21 + 23 | 6:30 PM + 7:30 PM
NOV 14 +15, DEC 13, JAN 24 | 2 PM + 4 PM
Silas Riener performs Merce Cunningham’s Changeling
Boston Conservatory students perform Cunningham
Former Cunningham dancer Silas Riener performs Changeling a newly rediscovered work in this Boston debut; under his direction, Boston Conservatory students perform samples of other Cunningham repertoire. Changeling was one of Merce Cunningham’s solos involving chance; it had its premiere in 1957 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and was last performed in Tokyo in 1964.
NOV 7 + 8, JAN 9 + 10 | 2 PM + 3:30 PM
The Prepared Piano
Visitors will watch as Elaine Rombola prepares the in-gallery piano to Cage’s specifications—by inserting screws, erasers, paperclips and other objects into the strings—and performs selections from Cage’s famous “Sonatas and Interludes.”
NOV 15 | 3 PM
John Cage and Pierre Boulez: Correspondence
$15 ICA members + students / $25 nonmembers
Presented in conjunction with Look Before You Leap: Black Mountain College 1933–1957.
Between 1949 and 1954, composers John Cage and Pierre Boulez exchanged a series of remarkable letters that are the basis for this remarkable concert featuring soloists of the renowned Paris-based Ensemble Intercontemporain. The group will perform a selection of works written during the composers’ correspondence including Boulez’s “Second Piano Sonata,” “Livre pour quatuor,” and “Douze notations” and Cage’s “String Quartet in Four Parts,” “Six melodies for violin and keyboard”, “Music of Changes,” and “Sonatas and Interludes.” While teaching at Black Mountain College in 1952, Cage introduced students to the works of the young French composer, whom he viewed as a major figure in contemporary composition and sympathetic to his own musical developments. Many of the Cage compositions to be performed by Ensemble Intercontemporain premiered at the College and illustrate his emerging compositional practices, which he discussed at length with Boulez. Selections from the letters will be read during the concert, offering a unique look at the work and practice of these hugely influential masters.
NOV 13 | 8 PM
$15 ICA members + students / $25 nonmembers
Called the most extreme organ trio ever, Simulacrum is yet another wild new offering from composer and alchemist John Zorn, who continues to explore new worlds and new ensembles into his sixth decade. With dramatic through-composed pieces (meaning pieces in which each stanza takes on a new style) that unfold with a cinematic logic, this genre-bending music defies classification, touching upon metal, jazz, minimalism, atonality, noise, and more. Passionately performed by an unusual all-star trio of John Medeski on organ, Matt Hollenberg on guitar and Kenny Grohwoski on drums, this powerful and fascinating music highlights the MENTAL in experimental! John Zorn will be present to introduce the work.
FEB 19 (with after-party) | 8 PM
FEB 20 | 8 PM
Kid Koala’s Nufonia Must Fall
Performance only: $20 members + students/$25 nonmembers
Friday performance and after party: $30 members + students/$35 nonmembers
After party only: $15 members + students/$20 nonmembers
Scratch DJ and music producer Kid Koala present a heartwarming adaptation of his graphic novel Nufonia Must Fall, in which a lovesick robot attempts to write a love song to woo a co-worker. K.K. Barrett, Oscar-nominated for designing Spike Jonze’s Her, directs the production, which features a real-time filming of a puppet cast that interacts with more than a dozen miniature stage settings. Kid Koala and the Afiara Quartet provide musical accompaniment on strings, piano, and turntables. Stick around for a special one-night-only after party DJed by Kid Koala following Friday’s performance.
APR 28 | 7:30 PM
Sound Icon, conducted by Jeffrey Means, perform:
Pierre Boulez, Anthèmes 2
Beat Furrer, Gaspra et Aria
Tristan Murail, L’esprit des dunes
APR 29 | 7:30 PM
The JACK Quartet perform:
Chaya Czernowin, Hidden
Jonathan Harvey, 4th Quartet
Individual concerts: $10 ICA members + students / $20 nonmembers
Special package offer: Both concerts: $15 ICA members + students / $30 nonmembers
IRCAM, the Institute for Research and Coordination in Acoustics/Music, is one of the world’s largest public research centers dedicated to both musical expression and scientific research. Founded in Paris by composer Pierre Boulez in 1977, IRCAM allows contemporary composers to combine their innovative artistic sensibilities with scientific and technological experimentation. Following a weeklong residency at the Boston University Center for New Music, IRCAM will present two extraordinary concerts of music presented by the Boston-based ensemble Sound Icon and the JACK Quartet.
The IRCAM concerts and residency are co-produced by the ICA/Boston and the Boston University Center for New Music with support from the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation, the BU Center for the Humanities, The BU College of Fine Arts and School of Music and the French American Cultural Exchange Fund.
$5 members + students/$10 nonmembers
SEP 18 | 7 PM
SEP 19 + 20 | 3 PM
Peggy Guggenheim – Art Addict
A mythic character who was not only ahead of her time but helped to define it, Peggy Guggenheim was an heiress to her family fortune who became a central figure in the modern art movement. As she moved through the cultural upheaval of the 20th century, she collected not only art, but artists as well, developing personal relationships with such figures as Samuel Beckett, Max Ernst, Jackson Pollock, Alexander Calder, and Marcel Duchamp, as well as countless others. While fighting through personal tragedy, she maintained her vision to build one of the most important collections of modern art, now enshrined in her Venetian palazzo. Directed by Lisa Immordino Vreeland. USA, 2015, 97 minutes.
OCT 3 | 7 PM
OCT 4 | 3 PM
Here Comes the Videofreex!
This documentary in progress tells the story of the most radical video collective of the 1960’s and 70’s in a quirky tale of ten people’s optimism, creativity, and vision of what television could have become had the three big networks not ruled the TV airwaves. Produced and directed by Jon Nealon and Jenny Raskin, who will be in attendance along with Skip Blumberg, legendary video artist and former member of Videofreex. USA, 2015, 79 minutes.
NOV 7 | 3 PM + 7:30 PM
Monsoon, Prayers and New Routes: Urban Islam Across the Indian Ocean
Drawing upon work from native and diaspora filmmakers and artists from Egypt, India, Indonesia, Kuwait, and Turkey, Monsoon, Prayers and New Routes documents the Islamic communities dispersed around the Indian Ocean and beyond. Many of the filmmakers and artists featured in the program reside in trans-oceanic port cities, and their practice touches upon concepts that reverberate across diaspora and migration, urban culture and religious struggle, and new approaches to image and sound in the age of globalization. Organized by writer and independent curator Xin Zhou in collaboration with the Harvard University Asia Center.
NOV 8, 12 + 14 | TIME TBD
The Boston Jewish Film Festival
Ticket Price TBD
The Boston Jewish Film Festival (November 4–16) celebrates the richness of the Jewish experience and inspires the community to explore the full spectrum of Jewish life and culture through film. Through stellar features, shorts, and documentaries as well as events with visiting artists and gatherings that encourage discussion and shared experience, filmgoers have the opportunity to be transformed by what they see on the screen and by their interactions with one another. For more information, visit bjff.org and icaboston.org.
NOV 27 + 28 | 3 PM
Station to Station
A high-speed road-trip through modern creativity, artist Doug Aitken’s Station to Station is a revolutionary feature comprised of 61 one-minute films highlighting an exciting and eclectic mix of artists, musicians, writers, places, and perspectives. In the summer of 2013, a train designed as a kinetic light sculpture by the artist traveled from New York City to San Francisco over 24 days. Rolling into ten stations along the route, the train set in motion a series of happenings, each unique to its location and mix of creative participants. The film includes profiles, intimate moments on the train, conversations, and performances at the happenings: Ed Ruscha describing the discoveries to be made in the great American landscape; Beck performing with a gospel choir in the Mojave Desert; Jackson Browne reflecting on the influence of the railroad on his music, and many more. Station to Station is a kaleidoscope of experience and artistic production, as much as it is a story of our evolving creative culture. USA, 2015, 71 minutes.
TALKS + MORE
FREE with museum admission (unless otherwise specified)
SEP 17 | 7 PM
The Artist’s Voice: Ethan Murrow
Artist Ethan Murrow transformed the ICA’s Sandra and Gerald Fineberg Art Wall with a monumental drawing using a familiar writing tool—Sharpie. To celebrate the artist’s installation, ICA Assistant Curator Ruth Erickson joins Murrow—Professor of Painting at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts—in an engaging conversation exploring his inspirations and influences.
OCT 17 | 10 AM – 12 PM or 2 PM—4 PM
Artist Response: ARE on ICA Exhibitions
$10 materials fee
Discover new ways of engaging with contemporary art with Boston-area art collaborative ARE (Aesthetic Relational Exercises). Artists Helen Miller and Joshua Hart of ARE lead visitors through simple artistic exercises and gestures in response to artworks found in the ICA’s galleries. Previously featured at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Noguchi Museum, and Dia Art Foundation, among other well-known sites, ARE’s workshops encourage visitors to experience works of art through artmaking that is fresh and new. No previous artmaking experience required. Capacity is limited; pre-registration strongly recommended.
OCT 29 | 7 PM
The Artist’s Voice: Sara VanDerBeek on Stan VanDerBeek
Celebrated American photographer Sara VanDerBeek joins Eva Respini, the ICA’s Barbara Lee Chief Curator, in this evening dialogue that explores the many artistic contributions of Stan VanDerBeek, Sara’s father and a Black Mountain College alum. Learn more about Stan’s work during and after his tenure at Black Mountain College in this unique introduction that will also reflect his influential role on his daughter’s practice.
NOV 5 | 7 PM
The Artist’s Voice: Jonathan Calm, Danielle Legros Georges, Damon Krukowski, Timothy McCormack and Kelly Nipper
In association with the exhibition Leap Before You Leap: Black Mountain College 1933–1957, the ICA has collaborated with five artists of various disciplines to properly celebrate the first Happening—an important and influential event in the history of art. These area artists were asked to respond to college’s history and connect it with contemporary practice; their actions are presented in the galleries while the exhibition is on view. Hear directly from Calm, Legros Georges, Krukowski, and McCormack on their intensive participation in this distinct project honoring the legacy of Black Mountain College.
NOV 22 | 2 PM
Gallery Talk: Bryan Barcena on Mona Hatoum
In this conversation on Lebanese-born Palestinian artist Mona Hatoum, Curatorial Assistant Bryan Barcena introduces the artist’s diverse approaches to material and the many entry points of interpretation the work invites.
Image: Merce Cunningham in Changeling, Photo: Matthew Wysocki