Lynda Benglis at the New Museum
On view now at the New Museum is a major retrospective of the sculptor Lynda Benglis, longtime resident of the Lower East Side, with a studio just across the street from the museum. The exhibition includes early examples of video and photography, along with the sculptures that first brought Benglis to the attention of the art world in the 60s and 70s, as well as more recent work. Included are her brightly colored “Fallen Paintings,” which she created by poring latex in overlapping flows directly onto the floor. The sculptures represent the wide range of materials Benglis has used over the years. They include beeswax, bronze, aluminum and polyurethane foam, to name just a few. The work “Phantom” is a polyurethane installation that glows in the dark. It has not been seen since its original presentation in 1971 and is on display for the first time ever in New York City.
Nacho Duato Dance
In dance, the junior company of Spain’s Compania Nacional de Danza — a highly seasoned company in its own right — comes to NYU’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts to dance works by the celebrated choreographer Nacho Duato. Compania Nacional de Danza 2 will perform “Jardi Tancat,” and “L’amoroso” — the first dance Duato created expressly for the company. The company will also perform “Gnawa,” a work whose score of percussive Spanish and North African sounds complements the elegance of the dancers.
“Take Me to the Water” and “Jasper, Texas” at ICP
The International Center of Photography presents two exhibitions. Both tell stories about the lives of African Americans in very different ways. “Take Me to the Water: Photographs of River Baptisms” documents the tradition of public baptisms that flourished in the South and Midwest between 1880 and 1930. Photographs of river baptisms were often disseminated as postcards — some by worshippers documenting their personal experience, others by tourists passing judgment on the black communities that practiced river baptisms. A very different kind of documentation occurs in “Jasper, Texas: The Community Photographs of Alonzo Jordan.” Many years before the town achieved notoriety as the site of one of the most brutal race crimes in recent U.S. history, Alonzo Jordan was a community photographer. He took photos that chronicled the daily lives of that segregated town’s black population. Both “Take Me to the Water” and “Jasper, Texas” will be up at ICP through May 8th.
The Importance of Being Earnest
The Roudabout Theatre Company’s production of “The Importance of Being Earnest,” Oscar Wilde’s trivial comedy for serious people, has extended its run. Theatregoers now have ample opportunity to catch Wilde’s greatest comedy about mistaken identities and the importance of being who you say you are. There are a few changes to the cast, but director and star Brian Bedford will remain in the role of “Lady Bracknell.” Bedford is brilliant as the formidable dowager, with wordless gestures almost as funny as Wilde’s sparkling aphorisms.