CAPTION: Abigail DeVille, Prophetika, 2015, mixed media. Photo credit Sofia Berinstein.
Folks, quick post to let you know that New York Close Up artist Abigail DeVille & director Charlotte Brathwaite – AKA Team Charbigail – are at it again. It’s an original theatre production called Prophetica: An Oratoria, playing Friday and Saturdays thru April 5 at legendary La MaMa in Manhattan. It’s a little complicated so I’ll let the press release explain: “Part theatrical event, part visual art installation, part ritual ceremony, Prophetika: An Oratorio proposes a mythical cosmology of colliding reflections on freedom and a view of the current state of our world. Inspired by Harriet Tubman’s journey from enslavement to liberation; the cosmic philosophies and improvisational style of Sun Ra; Alice Coltrane’s consciousness rising devotional music and the mysterious invading black monoliths in Stanley Kubrick’s classic sci-fi film 2001: Space Odyssey. It unfolds as a countdown to tomorrow, a road map to human destiny, a quest for the infinite from within.”
Our third and, sadly, final New York Close Up film on artist Alejandro Almanza Pereda premieres today. Though the urge to make Return of the Jedi references was very hard to resist, we fully embraced another, slightly more obscure piece of pop culture: John Carpenter’s 1981 classic Escape From New York. Check out the full video to see what I mean:
WATCH: Alejandro Almanza Escapes from New York
And even though this episode’s a bit longer than the norm, as usual there’s some great stuff we couldn’t include. In particular the sometimes tortured backstory behind Alejandro’s underwater photography project that’s highlighted in the film. Dramatic above-water highs alternate with equally dramatic under-the-surface lows. It would have made a great extreme sports movie; but, alas, we’ll have to make due with a choice selection of photos and interview material.
Alejandro Almanza Pereda setting up a camera in his Hunter College studio (Manhattan, 12.21.15). Production still from the series ART21 New York Close Up. © ART21, Inc. 2015. Cinematography by Andrew Whitlatch.
ALEJANDRO ALMANZA PEREDA: I had an idea of this project back in 2007. I was in Mexico City at the time. I got a grant for making underwater sculpture from the National Fund for the Arts in Mexico. My idea was to just to kinda experiment with materials and objects underwater and to see how they behave and create these kinda structures. Like my older work, kinda counterbalancing [objects], but in a different environment.
We’re proud to announce that Temps d’Images Premios de Cinema para Filmes Sobre Arte – a Lisbon-based film festival – will be screening a couple of New York Close Up episodes in the next couple of days. Louise Despont Draws Deep on November 13, and Bryan Zanisnik Keeps It in the Family on November 14. We’d love to say we’ll see you there but . . . . we’re a little too busy here at Art21 HQ in New York City. Be on the lookout for new films on artists Erin Shirreff, Bryan Zanisnik, and Danny Gordon in the coming months.
Quick note to all our friends up north. Project artist Abigail DeVille has been busy lately, creating the totally immersive, totally Mad Max-ian set design. Peep the above pic. It’s for a production of “A Midsummer’s Night Dream,” part of the very big deal Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario Canada. It premieres July 24 and runs thru September 20. Peter Sellars directs, collaborator Charlotte Brathwaite is also involved, and it’s gonna be staged in a local Masonic Hall. Need we say more? (Abigail’s definitely stepped it up since constructing the set for a Brooklyn-based production of Adrienne Kennedy’s “She Talks to Beethoven” back in early 2014; that work was featured on our first film with her.)
Quick note to all our friends closer to home. Abigail’s currently got some big and super-trashy and very beautiful sculptures at the Studio Museum in Harlem. It’s part of the “Material Histories” exhibit, this year’s edition of the annual Artist in Residence show. That runs thru October 26.
Photograph courtesy Stratford Shakespeare Festival, 2014.
This Sunday, June 29th from 4:30 to 6pm, ART21 is screening seven films at LMCC’s Arts Center as part of the River to River Festival. Artists Mary Mattingly, Jacolby Satterwhite, and Bryan Zanisnik will be in attendance for a post-screening discussion with Melissa Levin, Director of Cultural Programs for the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and New York Close Up co-creator Nick Ravich. Films about additional artists include Martha Colburn, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Liz Magic Laser, and Shana Moulton. Best of all, the event is FREE and takes place on scenic, summery Governors Island.