My Barbarian: Transparency 2021
Fri, Nov 5, 2021
Throughout the Whitney
Transparency 2021 is a site-specific performance in which music, a live-feed, text, and disco-inspired dance numbers appear throughout the Whitney’s building in both public areas and private administrative offices, inviting viewers to consider what is visible and hidden within the Museum’s functions. The partially choreographed and partially improvised work permeates the architecture of the Museum, and temporarily blurs the boundaries of institutional spaces and information. The 2009 iteration of the work, The Fourth Wall (Transparency), was performed at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and explored “transparency” as both optical phenomena and metaphor for accountability.
Alongside My Barbarian’s performance in the lobby, longtime collaborators Miguel Gutierrez, Katy Pyle, and Will Rawls will be livestreamed to the public from various locations throughout the Museum. At times they will perform solo improvisations, dancing duets with the spaces they inhabit, while at other moments they will move in unison, refracting the performance throughout the building. Over the course of the fifteen-minute piece, fragments of text will be written on overhead projectors and spoken aloud, decorating the Museum with a dynamic layering of song, speech, and movement. Eventually, the performers will meet, mirroring each other in a Solid Gold–style finale.
Score Producer: Nicholas Weiss (a.k.a. Nightfeelings)
Costuming: Nick Nelson
Video Director: Amy Ruhl
Runtime: 15 minutes
Friday, November 5
Miguel Gutierrez is a choreographer, music and visual artist, writer, educator, community advocate, agitator, and Feldenkrais Method practitioner based in Lenapehoking, currently known as Brooklyn, NY. His work creates irreverent and empathetic spaces outside traditional discourse, and has been presented at the Wexner Center for the Arts, Walker Art Center, Centre Pompidou, Festival Universitario de Colombia, Centre National du Danse, American Realness, and the 2014 Whitney Biennial, among other venues. Gutierrez has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, United States Artists, New York Foundation for the Arts, and Foundation for Contemporary Art. He is also the recipient of a Franky Award, four Bessie Awards, and the Doris Duke Artist Award. He has been a visiting guest professor at Princeton University, Bennington College, Cal Arts, Hollins University, Yale University, Brown University, Rhode Island School of Design, and Carnegie Mellon University, as well as other schools, festivals, and intensives. Gutierrez is the author of When You Rise Up (2009) and has been published by BOMB. Current projects include This Bridge Called My Ass, a dance that plays with tropes of Latinidad; SADONNA, a Madonna cover band; and Are You For Sale?, a podcast about the ethical entanglements between money and performance.
Katy Pyle is a genderqueer lesbian dancer, choreographer, and teacher. Pyle graduated from University of North Carolina School of the Arts in 1999, then studied at Hollins University. In 2002, Pyle moved to New York City and danced with John Jasperse, Jennifer Monson, Faye Driscoll, and Xavier Le Roy, among others. From 2009–14, Pyle was a lead performer and collaborator for Young Jean Lee Theater Company, touring in “Church” and developing and touring “Untitled Feminist Show,” for which they were also the Dance Captain. Pyle founded Ballez in 2011, pushing classical ballet towards an inclusive future by centering the experiences of queer, lesbian, trans, and gender non-conforming people within the creation of large-scale story ballets, open classes, and public conversations. Major story ballets performed by Ballez include: The Firebird, a Ballez at Danspace Project, spring and fall 2013; Sleeping Beauty & the Beast at La MaMa, spring 2016; and Giselle of Loneliness at the Joyce Theater, summer 2021. Pyle has taught Ballez at various colleges, universities, and performing arts centers, and currently teaches at Eugene Lang College, Mason Gross School of the Arts, Marymount Manhattan College, and Tisch School of the Arts.
Will Rawls is a multi-disciplinary choreographer working in dance, installation, text, and video. His projects stage the body as a concept and elusive material in a constant process of construction, resistance, and decay. His solo exhibition, Everlasting Stranger, was presented at the Henry Art Gallery in 2021, and among other places his work has also appeared at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and MoMA PS1; MCA, Chicago; The Chocolate Factory Theater, Danspace Project; New Museum of Contemporary Art; Issue Project Room; Portland Institute for Contemporary Art; and Walker Arts Center. Rawls also co-curated Lost and Found at Danspace Project—performances and artist projects focused on the intergenerational impact of HIV/AIDS on dancers, women, and people of color. His writing has been published by Artforum, the Hammer Museum, and MoMA. He is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Robert Rauschenberg Residency, a Foundation for Contemporary Arts grant, and the 2021 Herb Alpert Award in the Arts. He teaches and lectures widely in university, community, and festival contexts.
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