A recent installation at Japan Society is part of “Fiber Futures: Japan’s Textile Pioneers” — the main exhibition on view until December 18th. It was created by artist Machiko Agano who took snapshots of everyday scenes, printed them onto cloth and then pasted them onto mirror sheet. “Fiber Futures” showcases thirty contemporary Japanese artists, who are at the cutting edge of the global fiber-art movement. They transform fabrics into sculptures, pictures, emulations of nature and give shape to abstract meditations. The materials employed can be traced to a variety of sources, from the more common ones like cotton, silk and jute… to more unusual ones like tree bark, antique paper scraps, and stainless-steel wire. In these artworks, traditional methods meet the latest weaving and dyeing technology, often with the goal of expressing an environmentally conscious green ethic.
The tension between China’s ancient traditions and its headlong rush into the future finds artistic expression in the dance work “Haze”. Its US premiere takes place at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on October 19th. The first contemporary ballet troupe in China, “Beijing Dance Theater” was founded in 2008 by artistic director and choreographer Wang Yuanyuan. With “Haze”, Wang addresses the unsettling effects of recent economic and environmental crises by literally destabilizing her dancers. They must navigate a bare stage covered in thick sponge mats as they struggle to keep their balance. Set to music by Henryk Górecki and the electronica act Biosphere, “Haze” powerfully illustrates the uncertain progress of the individual in times of seismic change.
Cries and Whispers
“Cries and Whispers” is a modern, stage adaptation of an Ingmar Bergman film about the amazing capacity for empathy that people have amid the debris of damaged life. It has its US premiere on October 25 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. This visually unique show investigates how the death of a loved one forces a deeply personal contemplation of mortality and morality. In “Cries and Whispers”, the acclaimed Dutch repertory company Toneelgroep Amsterdam, directed by Ivo van Hove, transports audiences to a collective soul bound by tenuous compassion.
The exhibition “Spiral: Perspectives on an African-American Art Collective” highlights the impact of an influential, but little examined group of artists. If you have not seen it yet, make sure to visit The Studio Museum in Harlem before October 23. This show covers the main gallery of the museum and presents works by members of the historic “Spiral group”. Artists Charles Alston, Emma Amos, Romare Bearden, and Norman Lewis are among the 15 members of this group. “Spiral” was a New York–based collective of African-American artists that came together in the 1960s to discuss their relationship to the civil rights movement and the shifting landscape of American art, culture and politics. The “Spiral group” contributed to a dialogue that still resonates in the work of contemporary artists and in the mission of the Studio Museum.
A brand new festival, “SONiC – Sounds of a New Century” presents new music by more than a hundred composers at eleven venues throughout New York until October 22. The New York Virtuoso Singers, Imani Winds, Talea Ensemble and the Young People’s Chorus of New York City are only some of the performers that you can see today, until midnight, at Columbia University’s Miller Theatre. They are performing as part of “Extended Play – A Marathon Event.” The closing concert, on October 22, features the American Composers Orchestra, with brothers Bryce and Aaron Dessner on electric guitars. The show takes place at the World Financial Center Winter Garden and… is free!