Polemic of Blood
Ever since a suicide attempt at age 15, death has been a constant companion for Ron Athey—even more so since 1985, the year he tested positive for HIV. Until it wasn’t. Healthy on the 30th anniversary of his diagnosis, the 53-year-old performance artist reflects on the “post-AIDS” body, the 1994 performance that put him at the center of the Culture Wars firestorm, and his homecoming after six years abroad.
The Universal Latin American Theater of Mariano Pensotti
Mariano Pensotti’s genre-bending Cineastas is a play that exists outside of the contemporary expectations of Latin American theater. Instead of “Amazonian sensuality” and magical realism, Pensotti presents us with “a hybrid moment that moves between the theatrical event, performance installation, and literary narration”—a moment that takes equal influence from Roberto Bolaño and Wim Wenders.
The Unadorned Archetype: Discussing The Evening with Richard Maxwell
“I’ve always felt there’s an urgency when people step out on stage,” Richard Maxwell tells Soho Rep’s Sarah Benson. “That’s part of why I feel cautious about making things dramatic. It’s already a dramatic situation!” Their chat ranges from archetypes in Maxwell’s new play The Evening—from “the hooker with a heart of gold” to the aging prizefighter—and the difference between a person and a character.
Beyoncé the Readymade
“A machine, a high-powered Porsche, hip-hop technology. She consumes everything around her.” In Ralph Lemon’s Scaffold Room, this is how Beyoncé is discussed—as an overwhelming force of capital that takes over our senses. With Lemon’s work as a jumping-off point, performer Okwui Okpokwasili recently met with scholar Saidiya Hartman to discuss the iconography and cultural consumption of black women’s bodies.
Rethinking Collections Publishing for the Digital Age
For many in the museum world, the term scholarly collections catalogue can conjure daunting impressions: a book about a museum’s holdings, it involves years of collecting, researching, photographing, and writing, plus a huge printing budget, all to create a tome that is likely out of date the moment it hits the shelf. Enter The Living Collections Catalogue, the Walker’s new serial online publication.
Shifting Terrains: Fionn Meade on the Cross-Disciplinary
As the hard edges between disciplines continue to dissolve, the Walker is intensifying its investigations into what artistic boundary-crossing means and how curators must adapt to the needs of artists and audiences in this new reality. Fionn Meade discusses his role as senior curator of cross-disciplinary platforms and how art’s terrain is shifting in the gallery, theater, cinema, and online.
Truth, Not Necessarily Reconciliation: Lola Arias Confronts Dictatorships
Lola Arias will not forgive and forget. When it comes to the military dictatorships that haunt the recent past of Chile and her home country of Argentina, the writer/director doesn’t think it’s possible. In El Año en que nací (The Year I Was Born), she brings together the Chilean sons and daughters born during Pinochet’s rule to confront, discuss, and understand—not to force a happy ending.
Penino Envy: Kuro Tanino on the Architecture of the Inner Life
The ubiquitous phallic symbols in Niwa Gekidan Penino’s The Room Nobody Knows—including penis-shaped furniture—stem in part from Toyko-based director Kuro Tanino’s former career as a psychiatrist. But they also represents the confusing Freudian power dynamic that exists between the play’s brothers—a nod to the “complex relationships” he had with his own brothers.
Changing Theater’s Nature
Intrigued by the way people tell their stories—in looping, often tangential tales—Pavol Liska phoned a fellow member of Nature Theater of Oklahoma. Over 10 calls and 16 hours, the script unfolded for Life and Times, a 10-part work in which an entire life—birth to the present day—will be sung verbatim onstage. Maddy Costa uses the piece as a window into the company’s ingenious, mischievous style.