Miguel Gutierrez and the Powerful People
Danspace Project/Abrons Arts Center
Even when he is annoying or boring, Miguel Gutierrez is thought-provoking. As his cast of eight sauntered onstage one by one and stared for a long time at the small audience, seated in close proximity upstage facing the curtained-off auditorium, I wondered. But Chris Forsyth began playing the guitar, and the dancers started wiggling their fingertips, channelling more and more energy into their arms until they used all their might to push the air away in rhythmic swoops. A number of episodes paced the 75-minute work—the dancers provoked each other into hysterical peals of laughter; they did a sweetly primitive folk dance in a circle. It all felt familiarly experimental until the curtain rose, revealing the theater’s green velveteen seats and beaux-art décor in full glory, lit by Lenore Doxsee. The dancers scattered throughout the house and stood amid the seats in flat-back arabesques, appearing to float. Screaming an anthem (“When you rise up, you must sing songs!”), they marched down the aisles, and ran across the stage in a line, bigger and faster each time. After a long spell of leaping onto one foot and playing statue, they paired up and made out madly, leaving us behind on the stage to piece together the intriguing puzzle.
like an idiot
Danspace Project/651 Arts at St. Marks Church
Moura, from Brazil, is an amazing, intense chameleon of a performer. She shifted from postmodern (describing the traditional performer/audience relationship); to shaman, tying her shirt on her head like a turban; to conjurer of beautiful slow gestures reminiscent of Pina Bausch; to a child shaping a doll of paper scraps; to a flirt in sunglasses on a trike. She swigged water and squirted it through her teeth while spinning, looking like a Vegas fountain, then spat on the floor as if exorcizing something. More reflection on the purpose of performance and perception preceded soft, pleading arms alternating with slaps over her whole body as if to assert her strength. In the end, she pointed at us, and repeated, “You and me – we could do something together.” It felt as if we already had.
Ivy Baldwin Dance
It’s Only Me
Baldwin creates hermetic, narrative evenings that don’t feel quite like anything else. She and a committed cast (Zachary Steel, Lawrence Casella, Erin Owen) wore vaguely medievalish waistcoats and long dresses by Mindy Nelson. The men grunted and growled at one another; the women lurched across the stage in teetering steps, pitching their arms forward. They pulled strings that drew their skirts around their midruffs like a proscenium curtain, and proceeded to slap their extended bellies in some bizarre secret communique. Steel knelt close to the floor a few times, speaking terrifyingly into an imaginary phone about being lost, or being alone in a house with a stranger. Casella brings a bold muscular intensity to the stage, and Owen a lanky nobility. Baldwin has a vivid imagination and clear, if very strange, fantasies that she brings to life. It is a touchingly naïve approach that is refreshing amid many jaded, self-analytical artists.
Lehmann Maupin Gallery
Yes, I am a sucker for sparkly things made of light or crystal. Who isn’t, really? Fernandez’s exhibition features wall pieces made of convex glass mirrors and polished black onyx cabachons that delineated snow-capped mountains, or a connect-the-dot silhouette of a painting, summoning issues of mass, representation, illusion. Other works include lacy planes of metal, resembling a sun-dappled tree canopy; and a wedge-like inky black wall in a pillowy snowbank.
Attie’s show, Sequel, has a wonderful visual and textual cadence that builds to a crescendo. Experiencing it is like listening to a particularly rewarding piece of music. The show is composed of a horizontal string of 6” square paintings, primarily black, white and flesh toned, spaced with small painted blocks of text that read, “Sometimes a traveler in foreign lands,” or “Resistance and refusal mean consent.” Images have the feel of old Life Magazine shots, and vary from travelogue, domestic, paparazzi, fascist propaganda, and more. Attie has been doing her thing for decades now (PPOW has shown her since 1988) and it remains unique, vibrant, hip and poetic, not to mention her devastating technique.