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New Museum Seminars: (Temporary) Collections of Ideas around CHOREOGRAPHY

Cover Image:

The Sunland Dancers, Welcome, 2013. Performance: Flat Top, Los Angeles, as part of Machine Project’s contribution to the Getty’s “Pacific Stand Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A.” The Sunland Dancers: Tara Jane ONeil, Olive Blackburn, Jil Stein, Alexa Weir, and Perin Hailey McNelis. Music: Tara Jane ONeil. Courtesy the artists

On Saturday February 7, the participants of New Museum Seminars: (Temporary) Collections of Ideas will host a multipart public program featuring Jmy James Kidd, growing out of the group’s twelve-week-long investigation into the Fall 2014 R&D Season’s thematic, CHOREOGRAPHY.

The Seminars operate as a peer-led initiative, gathering approximately fifteen multidisciplinary thinkers together on a weekly basis at the New Museum to investigate seasonal topics developed over multiple platforms (performances, exhibitions, educational programs, etc.) by the Museum’s Department of Education and Public Engagement. The course of study for the Fall 2014 Season was devoted to CHOREOGRAPHY in all its valences, from inquiries into the current role of dance within the visual arts, to attendant questions of labor, embodiment, economy, pleasure, affect, and modes of exchange. Brought together by mutual, if not always compatible, interests in CHOREOGRAPHY, this Season’s group of participants was made up of artists, scholars, curators, educators, students, dancers, choreographers, activists, and others. This event marks the culmination of the semester by opening up some of its investigations in a wider public forum developed by the Seminar participants.

For the first part of the event, curators, scholars, dancers, and choreographers who think about CHOREOGRAPHY in various ways have been invited to define the term vis-à-vis their own work and experience in short public presentations. They have been encouraged to develop responses that are either direct or elliptical, varying from straightforward position papers to movement-based interpretations. This series of presentations by Shayna Keller, Cori Kresge, Thomas J. Lax, Heather Love, Eve Meltzer, and Mariana Valencia will be accompanied by short texts that will be shared among the presenters in advance and published on the Museum’s online publication, Six Degrees, after the event in February.

For the second part of the event, the Seminar participants have invited choreographer Jmy James Kidd to perform Gateway, a solo dance piece currently in process. Gateway traces Kidd’s dance lineage from her early training in ballet to, most recently, a residency at the Khmer Arts Academy, where the work was first performed in December 2014. In Gateway, Kidd explores the possibility of departing from forms instilled by technique through the daily enactment of dance as a spiritual search that is both personal and intersubjective, while investigating the shaping of an individual body over time and the transfer of knowledge from one body to the next. This iteration of Gateway will be developed during a weeklong residency at the New Museum supported by the Seminars and will include a live music composition by Tara Jane ONeil.

After a short break, the day’s proceedings will end in a public discussion between the presenters, the Seminar participants, and the audience.


1–2:30 PM: Presentations by Shayna Keller, Cori Kresge, Thomas J. Lax, Heather Love, Eve Meltzer, and Mariana Valencia, followed by discussion facilitated by Olga Dekalo and Emily Liebert
2:30–3 PM: Break
3–3:30 PM: Two Brothers performance, a part of Gerard & Kelly’s P.O.L.E (People, Object, Language, Exchange) in Lobby Gallery
3:30–4:15 PM: Jmy James Kidd performs Gateway, with live musical composition by Tara Jane ONeil
4:15–5 PM: Conversation


Emily Baierl, Lauren Bakst, Johanna Burton, Olga Dekalo, Taraneh Fazeli, Brendan Fernandes, Brennan Gerard, Ryan Kelly, Chaeeun Lee, Emily Liebert, Raul Martinez, Todd McQuade, Ricardo Montez, Kameelah Rasheed, Alicia Ritson, and Jess Wilcox

SHAYNA KELLER is a current MBA candidate at the Yale School of Management and a Board Fellow at Elmseed Enterprise Fund. From 2011 to 2014, she served as Executive Director of the Dance Resource Center, a Los Angeles–based arts service organization dedicated to increasing the visibility and sustainability of dance in Southern California. Keller’s choreographic work has been presented throughout the US, and she has performed with Jmy James Kidd and the Sunland Dancers as well as with Pedro Alejandro, Rachel Boggia, Katja Kolcio, Alexx Shilling, Hana van der Kolk, and Lailye Weidman. She has been Executive Chair of Emerging Arts Leaders/Los Angeles (2012–14), an advisor to local dance networks in San Diego and Riverside, and a member of the Pieter Council.

JMY JAMES KIDD lives and works in Los Angeles, California. She designs dances, clothing, and community spaces as James Kidd Studio. Kidd’s dances have been commissioned by the Kitchen, New York; Machine Project, Los Angeles; and the Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles. She was part of the Hammer Museum’s “Made in L.A. 2014” exhibition. Her studio, Pieter Performance Space in Los Angeles, is both her workspace and a community center, a refuge for “dancer people” to rehearse, take classes, and show work. Kidd works collaboratively with Nick Duran as NICK+JAMES and previously headed the collaborative Modern Garage Movement with Biba Bell and Felicia Ballos.

As a costume designer, Kidd has worked with luciana achugar, Eric Geiger/Jess Humphries, Gerard & Kelly, Neil Greenberg, John Jasperse, Sarah Michelson, and Tere O’Connor. As a dancer, she has worked with luciana achugar, Walter Dundervill, Neil Greenberg, Nancy Meehan, Sarah Michelson, and Mel Wong. She apprenticed with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. Kidd started the performance platform AUNTS and the teaching organization CLASSCLASSCLASS. Her awards include CHIME Southern California (2012); an ARC Grant for NICK+JAMES (2012); and a residency at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2011).

CORI KRESGE is a New York City–based dancer and writer. She was a member of the Merce Cunningham Repertory Understudy Group and part of the Cunningham teaching faculty. Kresge currently works with Ellen Cornfield, Rebecca Lazier, Silas Reiner, Sarah Skaggs, Rashaun Mitchell, and Wendy Osserman, as well as with performance artist Liz Magic Laser and filmmaker Zuzka Kurtz. In recent years she has collaborated with José Navas/Compagnie Flak. Kresge was a recipient of the Darmasiswa International Scholarship to travel to Indonesia and study traditional Balinese dance. As a performer, creator, teacher, and viewer of movement, she is currently attracted to themes of trust, commitment, and energetic focus.

THOMAS J. LAX is Associate Curator of Media and Performance Art at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. From 2007 to 2014, he worked at the Studio Museum in Harlem, where he organized over a dozen exhibitions as well as numerous screenings, performances, and public programs. Lax is a faculty member at the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance at Wesleyan University’s Center for the Arts; an Advisory Committee member at the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at the New School; an Arts Advisory Committee member at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council; a Catalyst Circle member at the Laundromat Project, New York; and an Advisory Board member at Recess, New York.

HEATHER LOVE is the R. Jean Brownlee Term Associate Professor at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research interests include gender studies and queer theory, modernism and modernity, affect studies, disability studies, film and visual culture, psychoanalysis, sociology and literature, and critical theory. She is the author of Feeling Backward: Loss and the Politics of Queer History (Harvard, 2007), editor of a special issue of GLQ on Gayle Rubin (“Rethinking Sex”), and coeditor of a special issue of New Literary History (“Is There Life after Identity Politics?”). Love is working on projects on reading methods in literary studies, comparative social stigma, and pedagogy and mentorship in queer studies. She is currently the 2014–15 Stanley Kelley, Jr., Visiting Professor for Distinguished Teaching in Gender and Sexuality Studies at Princeton University.

EVE MELTZER is Associate Professor of Visual Studies and Visual Culture at New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study and an affiliated faculty member in the Department of Art History. Her research and teaching interests are in the areas of contemporary art history and criticism; the history and theory of photography; material culture; and a range of philosophical and theoretical discourses including psychoanalysis, structuralism, phenomenology, and affect theory. She received her MA and PhD in Rhetoric from the University of California, Berkeley. Her first book, Systems We Have Loved: Conceptual Art, Affect, and the Antihumanist Turn (University of Chicago Press, 2013), situates the conceptual art movement in relation to the field of structuralist thought and, in effect, offers a new framing for two of the most transformative moments of the twentieth century and their common dream of the world as a total sign system. Her second book, tentatively titled Group Photo: The Psycho-Photographic Process and the Making of Group Identity, will explore the proposition that group identity—at least since the invention of photography, if not before—has at its foundation something we might call a psycho-photographic consistency.

TARA JANE ONEIL is a multi-instrumentalist and composer who creates melodic and experimental music under her own name and in collaboration with artists of all disciplines. As a solo artist, ONeil has released seven full-length albums internationally under the moniker TJO. She was a founding member of the art punk band Rodan and has collaborated with a multitude of artists and groups including Marisa Anderson, Carla Bozulich, Rachel Carns, Michael Hurley, Nikaido Kazumi, Mirah, Ida, and Papa M. She has composed music for filmmakers including Makino Takashi and Vanessa Renwick and has collaborated with artists such as Harry Dodge, Naomi Izuka, and Dawn Kasper on theater, installation, and dance performances. In addition to rock clubs, galleries, and DIY spaces all around the world, TJO has performed at Centre Pompidou, the Whitney Museum, the Hammer Museum, All Tomorrow’s Parties, and the TBA Festival. Her most recent album Where Shine New Lights was released by Kranky in 2014.

MARIANA VALENCIA makes experimental dances, costumes, installations, and zines. Valencia has been an artist in residence at Chez Bushwick, New York (2013); New York Live Arts as part of Studio Series (2013); Show Box LA (2014); Pieter Pasd, Los Angeles (2014); and, most recently, ISSUE Project Room AIR, New York (2015). Valencia is a Jerome Travel and Study Grant recipient (2014–15) and has costumed for the work of Vanessa Anspaugh, Lauren Bakst, Jen Rosenblit, and Geo Wyeth. As a performer, she has collaborated with musician Jules Gimbrone, dance artist Kim Brandt, and video artists Elizabeth Orr and Kate Brandt. As a teaching artist, she has participated in CLASSCLASSCLASS (2010–11), the What is Queer Performance? Festival (2014), and Movement Research Sunday Process Labs (2014).


New Museum Seminars are made possible through the generous support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Additional support is provided, in part, by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Generous endowment support is provided by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Skadden, Arps Education Programs Fund, and the William Randolph Hearst Endowed Fund for Education Programs at the New Museum.

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