We were delighted to last week welcome guests from Catskill to our annual summer season, LUMBERYARD in the City – this year featuring David Gordon and the Pick Up Performance Co(s).
In Live Archiveography, David Gordon led audiences through a retrospective of his decades-long artistic career, bringing back-to-life and reinterpreting select pieces from his archive.
A full house of dance aficionados were especially charmed by the mid-performance Q&A that saw David Gordon respond to questions, including one posed by legendary performer, Yvonne Rainer.
David Gordon’s response prompted several viewers to later remark on the singularity of the moment shared between the two who are among the founding figures of American postmodern dance.
‘I had been making one concert…for 50 years’
David Gordon, a longtime director, choreographer, actor, playwright, and co-founder of the Judson Dance Theater and the improvisational dance company Grand Union, recently presented Live Archiveography at the New York Public Library for Performing Arts.
At the NYPL, and also at The Kitchen, Gordon is joined on stage by the Pick Up Performance Co(s), to include his wife and muse Valda Setterfield, in addition to Karen Graham, and Scott Cunningham.”
It was 1972 and David Gordon wanted to choreograph a solo for his wife and muse, #ValdaSetterfield. The problem? She was on tour with #MerceCunningham. His solution: He sent her cut-outs of poses from #EadweardMuybridge photographs; Valda learned them in a hotel room in Detroit. Over the past 50 years, Valda, 82, has performed many iterations of the Muybridge solo, but what is consistent, she said, is that “whatever poses I choose to do, I don’t make anything easier or fix them by saying, ‘Well if I put my foot down, I can do this better.’ I’m very rigorous about that.” David is still amazed at how precisely she grasped the details of each photograph. “There were things I hadn’t thought of,” said David. “Like this person has 3 fingers down and one finger up.” For Valda, that’s integral: “People talk about their families,” she said. “I know these people.” For David’s new show, “Live Archiveography,” opening this week at @thekitchen_nyc, Valda will perform the Muybridge poses briefly, when the house opens. Valda told the @nytimes writer @giadk, “It’s sort of my ‘Dying Swan.’ ” @sbrackbill made this video for #SpeakingInDance, our weekly series exploring the world of #dance. Tickets: www.thelumberyard.org/david-gordon
In conversation with Art Forum, David Gordon described the piece as “a collage happening in real time of things from different eras of my creative history. I’m making old new work. Or new old work.”
He added: “It’s interesting—I thought I had spent my life working to make each new concert very different from the last. But as I began to look at everything I did, I saw that I was making one concert, with many different parts, for 50 years.
“As I was going through the archive, I’d see a piece of material, or the subject of a piece of material, and then it would show up five or ten years later. I’d find something and think, ‘Wait a minute—that’s that, again!’ It’s something I can’t get away from.”
Reviewer praises David Gordon performance
New York Times dance critic, Alastair Macaulay, who attended David Gordon’s June 1 performance, described it afterward as “a compelling, bewildering achievement.”
Macaulay added“…astonishingly layered, its overlapping elements connect rehearsal and performance, historical film and prepared script, dance theater and personal life to become part of the history not just of Mr. Gordon but also of dance and theater.”
See Macaulay’s full review here.
Next up at LUMBERYARD in the City
Live Archiveography is followed by four additional shows at The Kitchen, including:
- Let it Linger, a new premiere by Vicky Shick (June 8-10). The New York Times previously described Vicky Shick: “Her style – beautiful, tough and even a bit perverse— is reined in by a love of the absurd.”
- Articles of Faith by Cynthia Hopkins (June 15-17). The “charmingly eccentric” Cynthia Hopkins follows, a master of the art of storytelling through song and movement.
- Another Fucking Warhol Production or Who’s Afraid of Andy Warhol? by Raja Feather Kelly/the feath3r theory (June 22-24). A postmodern riot or “mad scientist of an artist,” the artist’s entire body of work honors the legacy of Andy Warhol through confrontations with pop culture, social construct, love, beauty, and humor.
- Dearest Home by Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion (June 28-July 2). An artist whose raw, evocative and robust movement delves into identity in relation to personal history—here exploring the concept of home.
LUMBERYARD in the City is presented at the Chelsea landmark theatre, The Kitchen (512 W 19th St.).
The Kitchen is easily accessed from Penn Station (15 minute walk or three stops on the 1/C trains). A map is below.
Tickets can be purchased online or at 855-4LYDTIX.
We look forward to seeing you soon.