Archives for posts with tag: the Kitchen

In this compelling interdisciplinary peformative work Moss, explores the nuanced and not so nuanced legacy of the abolitionist John Brown. The piece, which is structured in seven segments of John Brown’s provisional Constitution of 1858, is a rich theatrical experience with seasoned collaborators including teens that are by turns stagehands and occasion performers interacting with the dancers.

Moving between austere solos to vibrant muscular group pieces that speak to militarism, race and defiance, the props and projected video components are seamlessly integrated into the physicality of the piece; at one point the action on the stage halts to make way for a enacted video segment between John Brown and Fredrick Douglas about suitable time for a man to marry a seemingly under-aged woman (“once she has bled”), and the ensuing outrage that an executed Brown expresses at Douglas’s passionate interracial relationship.

For me the most satisfying aspect of this work occurs where scenes of intense physicality call forth the shame and humiliation foisted upon ‘blackness’ through its association with slavery, and the unresolved aftermath of a legacy that continues to haunt the American psyche to this day.

from 'johnbrown' performance

from ‘johnbrown’ performance

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BEFORE traverses physical and psychological manifestations of power and memory through late-capitalisms’ fault lines. With a weighty catalogue forward by curator, Niels Van Tomme, this short-run MFA thesis show at the Kitchen presents fresh takes on 21’st century anxieties from a diverse group of Parson’s grads.

Among the most intriguing is Alona Weiss’s Negative Space, a performative video in which the artist uses herself in varying poses and movements that either align with or play against, her projected drawings of buildings and statues. These cartoonish images are sketches of Israeli monuments and memorials commemorating a plethora of tragic events most occurring before Weiss’ s birth. In using herself as a stand-in for a younger generation’s interface with these sculptural tributes, this work calls attention to the fleeting nature of memory and meaning in the public sphere.

In another work, Extract, David Connolly’s podium teleprompter ­- the type used for speeches-given by government and corporate officials- shows cascading text projected on its glass plate; revealing the disquieting aspects of how instruments of public communication are often used to distort and undermine those it portends to serve.

These are just two of BEFORE’s 16 artists, who utilize subtle as well as provocative strategies for merging meaning with cultural critique. This is a show that arouses a viewer’s curiosity, making it well worth a visit.