It’s in Queens
#InTheLoop | New Noguchi show mixes sculpture, dance, and visual art
Like most great works of art, this takes some concentration.
First the easy part. The Noguchi Museum is currently exhibiting “Body-Space Devices,” which consists of about 30 of the namesake’s works.
Now it gets a bit more complicated. The show is about to be reconfigured as a set for something new and very unique: “Brendan Fernandes: Contract and Release,” a performance-based collaboration with Fernandes, an artist who works at the intersection of dance and the visual arts.
Here’s another wrinkle. The installation was developed with architecture-and-design collaborative Norman Kelley with chair fabrication by Jason Lewis. The costumes are by Rad Hourani.
Now the main dish. “Contract and Release” features six “training devices” inspired by the rocking chairs that Noguchi once produced for Martha Graham’s “Appalachian Spring (1944).” These chairs create an endurance test for dancers who have to sit on them and remain balanced while working through a version of Graham’s famous “contract and release” exercise.
Performances will be offered at 1:30 pm and 3 pm with the following 2019-2020 schedule:
Sept. 14 and 28;
Oct. 5, 12, 19, and 26;
Nov. 2, 9, 16, and 23;
Dec. 7 and 14;
Jan. 11, 18, and 25
Feb. 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29; and
Performances are unseated. The dancers will move throughout Areas 11 and 12.
Now some background.
“Body-Space Devices” contains pieces that reflect Noguchi’s lifelong interest in turning sculpture into a civic practice, from motivating the movement of an individual body in relationship to an object, to the flow of a company of dancers seeking collective meaning from a set, and, finally, social progress.
Fernandes is a Canadian artist who is currently based in Chicago. His projects address race, queer culture, migration, protest, and other forms of collective movement. Always looking to create new spaces and new forms of agency, his projects take on hybrid forms — part ballet, part queer dance hall, part political protest — but they’re always rooted in collaboration and fostering solidarity.
“Contract and Release,” which takes its title from a Graham technique, is the second iteration in a developing series of autobiographical examinations exploring the different movement vocabularies that have made Fernandes an internationally acclaimed artist and mover. (The first, “The Master and Form,” examined the relationship between the mastery of form and pain and pleasure in ballet technique through the use of a series of sculptural devices for altering the body to achieve ideal technical positions.)
Noguchi is located at 9-01 33rd Rd. in Long Island City.
Images: The Noguchi Museum