While the annual gathering known as APAP (Association of Performing Arts Presenters) is under way through the end of January, New York is awash in festivals—COIL, Under the Radar, American Realness—each presenting a suite of performances, clamoring for attention and bookings from theaters and promoters across the nation and abroad. The shows in these festivals tend toward the artier end of the theater scene. The ubiquity of video, at these events and in art performance generally, makes genre distinction less and less clear.
"I, Bear," a week of performances at CANADA Gallery on the Lower East Side, is a musical series with video, or more precisely, a leisurely party with video and, eventually, some music.
The performances occur in the gallery's back room, where looped video is projected on one wall as well as on a piece of fabric suspended from the ceiling. The video includes footage by Black Dice, Young Chung, Cecilia Dougherty, Leah Gilliam, EE Miller & Bernardine Mellis, Aimee Worms Hirschberg, My Barbarian, Nguyen Tan Hoang and Tony Stinkmetal. A set of Stinkmetal's videos are also being shown in the front room.
With few exceptions, video art isn't a great profit center for galleries. Nonetheless, Art Basel Miami Beach showcased in a fair-sponsored section a collection of videos selected by David Gryn, director of the London production firm Artprojx. And sprinkled among the 250 booths were a number of other videos, some of them worth spending time with.
Five video "pods"-relatively comfortable, semi-enclosed, curvy plywood shelters in the central area of the convention center-showed 22 videos Gryn culled from a larger program that he screened in nightly installments in the nearby Soundscape Park.
The tenth edition of Art Basel Miami Beach was supposed to "reflect a shift toward expanded conceptual, performative and temporal gestures," according to a curatorial statement. But there was little performance at the main fair, nor at the satellite fairs and events, unless you count the parties.
But first: where else could you see not one, but two shows that imaginatively incorporated voguing into traditional theater?
iona rozeal brown's exuberant, smoothly executed, Kabuki-inspired extravaganza battle of yestermore, at Skylight West, featured crazily patterned but sophisticated adaptations of kimonos by costume stylist Brent Barkhaus. Brown collaborated with hip-hop and voguing dancers who fought, posed and worked their costumes—especially the colossal platform shoes—to the max. yestermore was a logical extension of the New York-based brown's nonperformance work, which has drawn on noh and kabuki theater and the Japanese fascination with American urban black culture.
Mixed Media, 212 x 66 inches, Courtesy the artist.
Artist Kirstine Roepstorff was born and trained in Denmark, but lives and works in Berli