MARFA SOUNDING: ANNA HALPRIN

Co-Presented with Fieldwork Marfa

Friday–Sunday, May 26–28, 2017

Free and Open to the Public

Curated by Jennifer Burris Staton

With Phillip Greenlief, Nina Martin, Rashaun Mitchell, Stephen Petronio, Silas Riener, and films by Jacqueline Caux, Kevin Hayden, and Andy Abrahams Wilson

 

SCHEDULE:

Friday, May 26, Crowley Theater, 7-9.30pm (doors open at 6.30pm)

98 South Austin Street

Anna Halprin on Film

The introduction to the weekend of events by curator Jennifer Burris Staton and dancer Nina Martin followed by film screenings of Jacqueline Caux's Anna Halprin – Who Says I Have to Dance in a Theater, 2006 (50 minutes) and Anna Halprin – Out of Boundaries, 2004 (53 minutes). Documentaries featured rare archival footage of legendary choreographer Anna Halprin, whose performances engaged both city street and natural landscape. Filmmaker Jacqueline Caux explores how Halprin developed her work in direct response to the social upheavals and racial tensions of her environment, while rejecting the narrative styles and performance conventions of high Modernism. 

Event Program

 

Saturday, May 27, Crowley Theater, 11am-12pm

98 South Austin Street

Nina Martin: Dance Workshop

Community dance workshop led by Nina Martin, MFA, PhD, of the Lower Left performance collective and Associate Professor at TCU School for Classical & Contemporary Dance. Anna Halprin’s work begins with the belief that everyone is a dancer. In this community workshop–open to all ages and all members of the community, with no experience necessary–dancer and master educator Nina Martin led a collective, participatory exploration of Halprin’s philosophy. Guiding this workshop were the central ideas of Anna’s philosophy: movement as a way to relate to one’s environment, task operations as performance art, and dance as a political action. 

Saturday, May 27, Building 98, 6-7pm

705 West Bonnie Street

Reception and Halprin Film Screening

All were invited to attend a cocktail reception with complimentary food and spirits and film screenings on Saturday, May 27 from 6–7pm, hosted at Building 98 with Mona Blocker Garcia. Guests were invited to tour the building to learn its history while films about Halprin were screened on a loop in Building 98’s ballroom. Building 98 is the home of the International Woman’s Foundation an organization that runs an artist residency program with rooms and galleries located in the registered National Historic Site. Founder and President of the artist refuge, Blocker Garcia, conceptualized the space during her time spent living in South America in the 1970s. Built in 1911 to serve as the bachelor officer quarters, officers club, and grand ballroom building for the United States army, the building also features oil-on-plaster murals painted by German prisoners of war interned at the camp between 1943 and 1945. Learn more at www.internationalwomansfoundation.org.

 

Saturday, May 27, Crowley Theater, 8-9.30pm

Crowley Theater, 98 South Austin Street

Stephen Petronio: Performance and Conversation

A dancer who has worked intimately with Halprin, Stephen Petronio, founder of the Stephen Petronio Company and an alumnus of the Trisha Brown Dance Company, performed her choreography on Saturday, May 27, at 8pm in the Crowley Theater. Following the performance Marfa Live Arts screened two short films and then Petronion will engage the audience in an open conversation. The selected films showcase Halprin’s choreography among redwood trees (Andy Abrahams Wilson's Anna Halprin - Embracing Earth, 1995, 23 minutes) and Petronio in conversation with fellow dancer Yvonne Rainer (Between Stephen and Yvonne, 2017, 10 minutes).

Event Program

 

Petronio’s solo performance in Marfa was part of the Stephen Petronio Company’s multi-year initiative BLOODLINES, which showcases interconnected histories of American postmodern dance through the re-staging of works by iconic choreographers who have influenced the group’s eponymous dancer. At Crowley Theater, Petronio staged The Courtesan and The Crone (1999), a work Anna Halprin developed to address her own aging body in relation to traditional Western concepts of beauty, as part of this broad-reaching exploration of influence. Simple gestures of performative femininity, flirtation, and fear transgress stereotypical gender lines in a solo dance passed from one choreographer to another.

Event Program

Sunday, May 28, Fieldwork Marfa Antelope Hills Land, 7pm-Sunset

30°18’58.2”N / 103°59’16.9”W

Rashaun Mitchell & Silas Riener with Philip Greenlief: New Work

Performed in the open landscape at sunset with live accompaniment by saxophonist Phillip Greenlief, dancers Rashaun Mitchell and Silas Riener premiere a new work inspired by architect, writer, and philosopher Claude Bragdon. Bragdon’s ideas regarding progressive architecture modeled after forms found in nature influenced his belief in the individual’s role as one in service to the group. In other words, he examined geometry and organic architecture in pursuit of a divine connection found in everyday experience. Mitchell and Riener apply these ideas to their physical improvisation practice. Through movement, they incorporate aspects of the surrounding environment as a means of connecting to the world at large.

Event Program

In the 1960s, on a redwood dance deck built within a grove of trees in Marin County, California, the artist and choreographer Anna Halprin led a community of dancers, musicians, and sculptors through a collective process that sought new systems for generating creativity. Rejecting the narrative styles and performance conventions of high Modernism, Halprin brought her dancers into the city street and natural landscape. Works developed in direct response to environmental and architectural space also addressed the social upheavals and racial tensions of that era.  

 

She sought to unravel these entrenched power dynamics by foregrounding the simplicity of task-based actions alongside the performer’s real experiences and emotional history. As Halprin explains in an interview with her former student Yvonne Rainer, such work introduced a radical idea of dance as the “rhythmic phenomena of the human being reacting to the environment.”

May 26-28, 2017, Marfa Live Arts in collaboration with Fieldwork Marfa presented Marfa Sounding: Anna Halprin to explore these ideas of movement and creativity via a series of performances, films, conversations, and workshops that engage the architectural and environmental spaces of Marfa. Active at age 96, Halprin has advised the development of this weekend-long program, but is unable to make the trip to Marfa to attend.

Taking place over three consecutive Memorial Day Weekends, Marfa Sounding expands on the best-known history of this place as a site for the permanent installation of large-scale works by Judd and his contemporaries. This geographically and temporally bounded sounding engages complex histories of a community’s transformation. In May 2016, Marfa Sounding: Alvin Lucier & Charles Curtis highlighted the sound compositions of Alvin Lucier and Éliane Radigue through performances by cellist Charles Curtis. Focusing on how sound could measure the geographical and architectural specificities of site, this inaugural series highlighted the importance of personal relationships in the development of music. In May 2018, we will focus on site through the presentation of a new work by artist Tarek Atoui.

 

Since the late 1930s Halprin has been creating revolutionary directions for dance, inspiring artists in all fields. Additionally, Halprin is known for her development of workshops that generate collective exploration. Bringing together musicians with dancers and artists with landscape architects, these explorations of group creativity are always in relation to an environmental awareness: physical, spatial, and social contexts.

 

Halprin explains, “I want to integrate life and art so that as our art expands our life deepens and as our life deepens our art expands.” Through her students Trisha Brown, Yvonne Rainer, and Simone Forti, Anna strongly influenced New York’s Judson Dance Theater, one of the seedbeds of postmodern dance. Marfa Sounding: Anna Halprin draws upon this rich legacy by exploring the connections between Halprin’s choreography and the development of Minimalism.

All programs were free and open to the public. 

 

Tune into Marfa Public Radio for two interviews on West Texas Talk at 6.30pm (CST) on Tuesday, May 23 with Jennifer Burris Staton and Nina Martin and on Thursday, May 25 with Rashaun Mitchell and Silas Riener.

Embracing Earth (Excerpt)

1995, 23 minutes

Executive Producer/Creator: Anna Halprin

Producer/Director: Andy Abrahams Wilson

Art Director: Eo Stubblefield

Anna Halprin - Who Says I Have to Dance in a Theater (Excerpt)

2006, 50 minutes

Director: Jacqueline Caux

Third Season of Bloodlines by Stephen Petronio at The Joyce on March 28 - April 2, 2017.

Between Stephen and Yvonne (Promo)
2016, 10 minutes
Director: Kevin Hayden

Anna Halprin – Out of Boundaries (Excerpt)

2004, 53 minutes

Director: Jacqueline Caux

Rashaun Mitchell & Silas Riener Dance video from Imagista.

LINKS:​

ARTIST BIOS:

ABOUT FIELDWORK MARFA:

Since 2011, Fieldwork Marfa, an international program run by Nantes School of Art (France), HEAD–Genève (Switzerland) and the School of Art at the University of Houston (Texas), welcomed 33 artists-in-residence from all over the world as well as 40 students and 10 professors from Nantes for two to three weeks. Over the last months, the project has reached a decisive turning point with the purchase of 20 acres of land on Antelope Hill Road, 2.5 miles from Marfa by the Fieldwork Marfa Foundation. Dedicated to American and European artists and art students, this project provides an exceptional site for artistic studies and research on land art, art in public space, border and territory, cinema and design. The Nantes School of Art (France), with the University of Houston School of Art and Geneva School of Art and Design, have joined forces to develop an ambitious new program at the intersection of critical theory and contemporary art. Fieldwork Marfa aims to formalize an innovative, contemporary space for learning in visual arts and to provide a new context for artistic

experimentation.

THANKS:

Marfa Live Arts and Marfa Sounding: Anna Halprin are generously supported by Beaux-Arts Nantes, City of Marfa, FACE Foundation’s the Partner University Fund, Texas Commission on the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, and the 2017 Season Sponsors. Education programs supported by Carl B. & Florence E. King Foundation. In countless ways Pierre-Jean Galdin, Ida Soulard, and the entire Fieldwork: Marfa team were instrumental in moving this project forward.

 

The accommodation sponsor is Arcon Inn. Special thanks to Jennie Lyn Hamilton, Director of Marfa Live Arts, Nina Martin, Meghan Rose Murphy, Tim Crowley, Rob Crowley & Peggy O’Brien of Crowley Theater, Barry Reese & Mona Garcia of Building 98/The International Woman's Foundation, Mayor Dan Dunlap, Yvan Greenberg, Claudia La Rocco, Minerva Lopez of Marfa Visitor Center, Jerram Rojo & Cody Lee of Capri Marfa/Thunderbird Hotel, Big Bend Sentinel, Marfa Public Radio, Cate Schrim, Ian Lewis, Christine Olejniczak, Rae Anna Hample, Angel Hernandez, Marfa Recording Co., Francisco Staton, Robert Saltonstall, and Dan Shiman, and Cory Van Dyke. Graphic design by Yoseff Ben-Yehuda. In-kind support provided by Nina Martin & Paul Hunt, Chinati Foundation, Big Bend Coffee Roasters, and Marfa Brands.

 

Visit Marfa is a useful resource for planning your travel and time in Marfa. The closest airports are El Paso and Midland, both approximately three hours away by car.

Photo Credits: (Left to Right)
 
Anna Halprin, The Branch, circa 1957
Anna Halprin Digital Archive, Museum of Performance + Design, San Francisco
Photographer unknown
 
Anna Halprin, The Courtesan and The Crone, 1999
Performed by Stephen Petronio, The Fabric Museum and Workshop, Philadelphia, 2016
Photo by Carlos Avendaño

 

Rashaun Mitchell and Silas Riener, Horizon Events, 2016
MoMA PS1, New York (performance)
Photo by Paula Lobo

Marfa Live Arts

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Marfa, TX 79843

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Marfa Live Arts engages a diverse community through the performing arts, arts education, film, music, and other cultural arts programs. Marfa Live Arts celebrates the cultural riches of the people of the Big Bend and enhances the area tourist appeal through sophisticated programming featuring the talents of the region's own professional performers, dedicated amateurs, and international artists.

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