Shall We Dance?

After Many a Summer Dies the Swan: Hybrid (Yvonne Rainer)

Juxtaposing a series of narrative text that describe the evolution of art and culture in fin-de-siècle Vienna (using historically analytical sources such as Carl Schorske’s Fin-de Siècle Vienna: Politics and Culture, Robert Musil’s The Man Without Qualities, Volume 1, and Allan Janik and Stephen Toulmin’s Wittgenstein’s Vienna), commentary by innovative, turn of the century Viennese artists (Oscar Kokoschka, Adolf Loos, Arnold Schoenberg, and Ludwig Wittgenstein), and fragmentary excerpts from the rehearsals and performance of the Rainer-choreographed dance program, After Many a Summer Dies the Swan, commissioned by the Baryshnikov Dance Foundation for the White Oak Dance Project, the video is a philosophically dense statement on the historical role and function of art in society, and an inspiring call to action for the restoration of the avant-garde movement to its original radical vision.

 

VB51 (Vanessa Beecroft)

An experiment in tableaux vivants, Vanessa Beecroft assembles 25 women of different ages formally dressed in predominantly white evening wear (with the notable exceptions of R.W. Fassbinder heroines Irm Hermann who is wearing a pink gown and Hanna Schygulla who is wearing black attire) as spectators line the walls of the grand hall of a baroque German castle. With an underlying tenet of the performance art – silence – repeatedly and unexpectedly violated by the irrepressible Ms. Schygulla as she spontaneously recites and sings passages from Winterreise in order to fill the void of the extended silence, the video performance serves, not only as an idiosyncratic and curious approach to the proverbial objectification of women through the sublime spectacle of their literal, formal exhibition as beautiful ‘works’ of ‘living art’, but also as a window to the inimitable personality of the iconic actress.

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