Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
The Darktown Cakewalk: Celebrated from the House of FAME, a thirteeen-hour performance event by artist and musician Linder in collaboration with musician Stuart McCallum (also The Cinematic Orchestra), fashion designer Richard Nicoll (also Creative Director, Cerruti) and dancers and musicians from varied traditions and disciplines.
The Darktown Cakewalk is an epic invocation of glamour and fantastical pageantry. Witch trials and beauty queens, ragtime and Euro Pop merge to enfold the viewer in a secret history of prejudice and dissent. The thirteen-hour performance will begin at 10am and be divided into two six-hour sessions ('masque' and 'anti-masque') with a thirteenth hour. The audience will intermingle with the performers and will be able to come and go over the thirteen hours as they wish.
Over the last three decades Linder has consistently questioned roles of gender identity and commodification in society. Part of the late 1970s and early 1980s Manchester punk and post punk scenes, she has been described as a 'post punk feminist crusader', and as a 'corrective' to punk which - even in its anti-establishment, popularist posturing - still spoke primarily to (and from the perspective of) young men. Best known for her photomontages, such as her artwork on the cover of the 1977 Buzzcocks single 'Orgasm Addict' (now in the collection of Tate Modern), the narrative, structure and casting of this performance are based on a range of collaged material and ideas. The Darktown Cakewalk is a development of recent performances at Tate St. Ives and The Arches / Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art 2010.
The Darktown Cakewalk is produced in collaboration with Sorcha Dallas, Glasgow and supported by Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art 2010, Outset Contemporary Art Fund, Stuart Shave / Modern Art and Shane Akeroyd.
Linder was born in 1954 in Liverpool. She has recently presented solo shows at Sorcha Dallas, Glasgow (2010), Baltic, Gateshead (2007) and PS1/Museum of Modern Art, New York (2007). Recent group shows include The Dark Monarch (Tate St. Ives, Cornwall, 2009), After Twilight (Kolnischer Kunstverein, Cologne, 2009), Crossroads (Salamanca Insitute of Culture, Salamanca, 2008), and Punk. No One is Innocent (Kunsthalle Vienna, 2008). Linder's work is included in the Tate collection. Linder is based in Haysham, Lancashire.
INTERVIEW BETWEEN LINDER AND MORRISEY
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Sunday, October 10, 2010
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Dancer Freddy Herko was a sometimes-roommate of Billy Name on East 7th Street, and appears alongside Name in Warhol’s Haircut. He had been accepted at the American Ballet Theatre at age 19, and later performed his own choreography with the Judson Theater. He was also one of the A-men, amphetamine poppers who frequented the Factory. “The people I loved,” said Warhol, “were the ones like Freddy, the leftovers of show business, turned down at auditions all over town. They couldn’t do something more than once, but their one time was better than anyone else’s.”
Herko’s Screen Test is tough to watch when you already know he would be dead a few months after it. He smokes, shifts around, looks gaunt and exhausted, and the film itself seems to run extra slow, stretching to five minutes. He lived that summer in 1964 in an apartment in St. Mark’s Church, and his behavior became ever more erratic. He started giving away all his possessions. Finally his roommate asked him to move out. On October 27 he ran into Johnny Dodd at a diner. Dodd invited him back to his 5th floor walk-up apartment on Cornelia Street. Herko went inside to take a bath. Dodd put Mozart’s Coronation Mass on the hi-fi. Herko emerged and began dancing naked around the apartment. When the record got to “Sanctus,” he danced right out the window, all the way to the sidewalk across the street. We never did listen to the Mozart piece; instead Britta played me an acoustic track in a minor key, all flutes and acoustic guitars, that she had been working on. We decided to electrify it, rehearsing with our live band, watching Herko’s every move on a laptop computer, starting with an ominous floor tom, building slowly to the point where Herko rises from his chair, switching keys, and ultimately changing to a major key for the final 45 seconds. Herko’s life ended tragically, but with an element of triumph; we wanted the music to do the same.
Frederick Charles "Freddie" Herko (February 23, 1936 – October 27, 1964) was an artist, musician, actor, dancer, choreographer and teacher.
Herko studied piano at the Juilliard School and classical ballet under Valentina Pereyaslavec at the American Ballet Theater School. He took additional dance classes with Merce Cunningham and James Waring. In the late 1950s he was a regular member of James Waring's dance company and also danced with Katherine Litz and Aileen Passloff. He was a member of the Judson Dance Theater, contributing two pieces to the group's inaugural concert on July 6, 1962. He performed in Frank O'Hara’s Love's Labor and several of Andy Warhol’s earliest films including: Haircut (No. 1), Kiss, The Thirteen Most Beautiful Boys, and Rollerskate (also known as Dance Movie).
Herko was associated with a group of habitués to Warhol’s Silver Factory on 47th Street including Ondine, Rotten Rita, and Billy Name. Nicknamed “mole people” on account of their intensive speed usage and subterranean habits — “mole because they were known to be tunneling towards some greater insanity that no one but this inner circle was aware of” — members of this group performed their manias and drug routines in a life/art blurring spectacle in crash pads and stages throughout the city. They are best remembered for their roles in many of Warhol's experimental films.
Herko was a close friend of Diane di Prima, who writes of him in her biography Recollections of my Life as a Woman. She met him in 1954 as he sat on a bench in the rain in Washington Square Park. He was “crying because autumn always made him sad.” Later he would tell Diane that, “He needed speed to push his body so he could dance the way he wanted to. He felt otherwise he didn’t have a chance; he had come to dancing too late in life to make it work for him.”
Di Prima describes Herko’s elegiac performance For Sergio: “He arrived in black tights and a leotard, with a fierce archaic face mask painted on his face, and whispered to us to kill all the lights: house lights, stage lights, everything. I noticed he was in toe shoes. Then I stood silent, in awe of what was about to happen — something sacred and diabolical all at once. Freddie had an antique wall sconce with a mirror, the kind that used to hold a candle, and he lit the taper he had placed in it. And in that dark and suddenly silent theatre with his back to the audience, he began laboriously and slowly to go down one side aisle of the theatre, across the front below the proscenium, and up the other side. En pointe. The only music was the sound of his deliberately exaggerated and labored breathing. And the slow scraping of his toe shoes on the rough floor. The light, the flickering light of the candle reflected his painted face in the mirror in his hand ... He was gone again before any of us could move.”
On October 27 1964, Herko was strung out and homeless. He went to Johnny Dodd’s apartment and took a bath. It is unclear whether he was brought by Dodd, or just showed up. Some accounts say Herko invited a group to watch a performance. According to Dodd, Mozart’s Coronation Mass was playing as Herko emerged from the bath and danced naked in the loft, “occasionally making a run toward the windows. At the time Dodd wondered whether this was going to be the "suicide performance" that Herko had been promising his friends during the weeks prior: "It was obvious that Freddy had to do it now: the time and the place were right, the decor was right, the music was right." As the music climaxed, Herko leapt through the open window. It was five flights down to Cornelia Street below.
Afterwards, Di Prima went to Deborah Lee’s apartment where some of Herko’s things were stored. "She and I went through it together. Black velvet was everywhere. Many shards of mirrors. Magick wands made out of old bedposts. Feathers. Lace. Broken statuary. Scraps of fabric, or carpet. Everything thick with some dark energy. There was one whole attaché case of male pornography carefully cut out of magazines, as if for use in collage. On the floor in his room there was a book by Mary Renault open at the page where the king leaps into the sea. Where the ritual to renew the world is described. It was the closest we found to a suicide note.
FROM A SUGGESTION BY RAIMUNDAS MALASAUSKAS
The Cellules are life-sized models, or prototypes, for living quarters to be installed in various major cities of the world, including Frankfurt, Paris, Tel Aviv and Zurich. Absalon intended them to be stopping points in his own travels. Relatively small and formally minimal – painted white inside and out, involving very basic geometry – each is different. Their structures were determined by the dimensions of the artist’s body and his movements, responding with the greatest possible economy and even in the slightest details to the functional needs of everyday existence. Each contains particular defined spaces for cooking and eating, for bathing and toilet, for working and sleeping.
Resembling bomb shelters or decompression chambers, and with room only for one, the Cellules have a hermetic quality which suggests a need for protection, for distance from the chaotic quotidian world inhabited with others. The minimalism of the work at once suggests ascetic behaviour and a desire for strict control. What Absalon was proposing existed somewhere between solipsism and megalomania, extreme secrecy and exhibitionism, but the fact that he is no longer alive – the fact that he had AIDS, and therefore could never have finished his project – potentially changes our perception of his work. Through the exhibition of Cellules we have an opportunity to put ourselves literally and metaphorically in Absalon’s place.
Absalon was the alias of Eshel Meir. He was born in Ashdod, Israel, in 1964 and died in Paris in 1993