Kandinsky in Performance: Works & Process Commissions Two New Works



Levels of Nothingness
, a performance-installation inspired by Kandinsky’s Yellow Sound, by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer and featuring Isabella Rossellini

Kandinsky’s The Blue Rider In Performance with Karole Armitage, Brentano String Quartet, and Sarah Rothenberg

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(NEW YORK, NY – August 12, 2009) – Works & Process, the performing arts program at the Guggenheim, celebrates its 25th anniversary along with the 50th Anniversary of the Guggenheim Museum in two newly commissioned works, offered in conjunction with the full-scale retrospective Kandinsky presented at the Guggenheim from September 18, 2009 to January 13, 2010.

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s Levels of Nothingness
Levels of Nothingness, an interactive light and sound piece by artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer (b. 1967, Mexico City), will premiere on the occasion of the Guggenheim International Gala, a private fundraising event, on Wednesday, September 16, with four additional public performances on Thursday, September 17 and Saturday, September 19 through Monday, September 21 at 7:30 pm in the Guggenheim’s Peter B. Lewis Theater.

Levels of Nothingness is inspired by Vasily Kandinsky’s explorations of synesthesia, most notably in Der gelbe Klang (Yellow Sound, 1912), a composition in which he proposes linking the senses using levels of abstraction. Lozano-Hemmer employs a computerized microphone to analyze live voice in real time and extract physical and linguistic data that, in turn, controls a full rig of rock-and-roll concert lights, creating a quiet color show that surrounds the theater. Isabella Rossellini will first activate the installation as she reads from seminal philosophical texts on skepticism, perception, and color, including Francisco Sanches's treatise That Nothing Is Known (1581) and writings by Kandinsky, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and Ludwig Wittgenstein, among others. Following the performance, the audience will be invited to test the color-generating microphone. Public engagement is central to Lozano-Hemmer’s practice, and his often large-scale interactive installations have been included in international exhibitions and projects such as the 52nd International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale in 2007, as the first artist to officially represent Mexico, and Pulse Park at Madison Square Park in New York in 2008.

Levels of Nothingness is made possible by Deutsche Bank and the Colección/Fundación Jumex. Additional support is provided by the German Consulate General New York.

The Blue Rider In Performance
Coproduced with Miller Theatre at Columbia University

Kandinsky’s seminal Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider Almanac) of 1912 brought together art, music, and writing from avant-garde movements across Europe, capturing a short-lived moment of international experimentalism that was abruptly halted by the outbreak of World War I. Drawing upon The Blue Rider Almanac, this production explores the dynamic interaction of music, light, and visual imagery rooted in Kandinsky’s connections to artists in Russia and Germany. Pianist Sarah Rothenberg and soprano Susan Narucki perform music from the era, accompanied by light projections. The Brentano String Quartet will perform Schoenberg’s groundbreaking Second String Quartet, a movement of which will be brought to life in a new commission by Armitage Gone! Dance. Performances will be at the Miller Theater of Columbia University on Wednesday, September 23 and Friday, September 25 at 8 pm.

With assistance from the Jerome L. Greene Foundation.

About Works & Process at the Guggenheim
Founded 25 years ago by Mary Sharp Cronson, Works & Process, the performing arts series at the Guggenheim, has presented over 300 productions in which New Yorkers have been able to see, hear, and meet the most acclaimed artists in the world, in an intimate setting unlike any other. Works & Process has championed new works, offered audiences unprecedented access to our generation’s leading creators and performers, and hosted postshow receptions for the audiences and artists to continue the discussion. Each 80-minute performance uniquely combines artistic creation and stimulating conversation and takes place in the Guggenheim’s Frank Lloyd Wright–designed 285-seat Peter B. Lewis Theater. Described by the New York Times as “an exceptional opportunity to understand something of the creative process,” Works & Process is produced by founder Mary Sharp Cronson and consulting producer Charles Fabius.

Over the years Works & Process has produced programs that complement major exhibitions at the Guggenheim Museum. Highlights have included collaborations with Matthew Barney and Jonathan Bepler (Matthew Barney: The Cremaster Cycle), Cai Guo-Qiang and Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan (Cai Guo-Qiang: I Want to Believe), Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster (theanyspacewhatever), and Robert Wilson (The Third Mind: American Artists Contemplate Asia, 1860–1989). For the 25th anniversary of Works & Process and the 50th Anniversary of the museum, Works & Process is proud to continue to explore the connection between the visual and the performing arts.

Lead funding provided by The Peter Jay Sharp Foundation with additional support from The Brown Foundation, Inc., of Houston., The Christian Humann Foundation, Leon Levy Foundation, and Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Inc.

This program is supported in part by public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency, and New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

Tickets for Levels of Nothingness held at the Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Avenue and 89th Street, are $30, $25 for Guggenheim Members, $10 for students. Subscriptions on sale August 10. Single tickets on sale September 4 and may be purchased by phone at 212 423 3587, M–F, 1–5 pm or at worksandprocess.org.

Tickets for The Blue Rider, held at Columbia University, 116th and Broadway, are $35, $21 for Guggenheim Members, and are available only at the Miller Theatre Box Office. Call 212 854 7799 or visit millertheatre.com.

August 12, 2009

Betsy Ennis, Director of Media & Public Relations
Lauren Van Natten, Senior Publicist
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
212 423 3840

Duke Dang, General Manager
Works & Process at the Guggenheim
212 758 0024

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