Thursday 04/23/15 6:30PM
New Museum TheaterVisit Us

A Conversation Between Lil Buck and Keith Haring

Cover Image:

Photo: Haring artwork © Keith Haring Foundation; Right: © William Coupon

A Special Performance and Presentation, Directed by Damian Woetzel

Copresented by the New Museum and the Aspen Institute Arts Program

Advance tickets for this event have sold out. Additional tickets may be available at the door. A standby list will begin approximately one hour before the event, in person only.

For one night only, Lil Buck, the Aspen Institute Arts Program’s Harman-Eisner Artist in Residence, will explore the dynamics of Keith Haring’s art and words as a vehicle that inspires his own movement. Following the performance, there will be an onstage discussion between Lil Buck, the Keith Haring Foundation Executive Director (and New Museum Trustee) Julia Gruen, and the Aspen Institute Arts Program Director Damian Woetzel, who also conceived and directed the performance.

A Conversation Between Lil Buck and Keith Haring was developed by Woetzel and the Aspen Institute Arts Program to coincide with the twenty-fifth anniversary of Haring’s death in 1990. In collaboration with the Haring Foundation and Gruen, the project was workshopped in January 2015 at Haring’s former studio, which now functions as the Foundation’s New York City space. A version of the performance was then created for the closing weekend of the exhibition “Keith Haring: The Political Line” at San Francisco’s de Young Museum this past February. This performance at the New Museum marks the project’s New York City premiere.

Lil Buck began jookin‘—a street dance that originated in Memphis—at age thirteen. After receiving early hip-hop and ballet training on scholarship at the New Ballet Ensemble, he performed and choreographed in Memphis until relocating to Los Angeles in 2009. In 2011, Damian Woetzel paired Lil Buck with Yo-Yo Ma to perform a rendition of “The Swan” at an event in Los Angeles. The performance was captured in a video by Spike Jonze and went viral, garnering over 2.9 million views to date. That success opened the door to future collaborations with a broad range of renowned artists, from Janelle Monae to JR to the New York City Ballet to Madonna. Lil Buck was the 2011 artist in residence at the Vail International Dance Festival and also served as an artistic ambassador alongside Yo-Yo Ma at the US-China Forum on the Arts and Culture in Beijing, hosted by the Aspen Institute and the Asia Society. In 2013, he starred in the award-winning show Lil Buck @ (le) Poisson Rouge, which was directed by Woetzel and featured Ma and an assortment of other talented musicians. Lil Buck has also performed on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, with Madonna during her Super Bowl XLVI halftime show and on her MDNA tour, and in the Cirque du Soleil show Michael Jackson: One. He was chosen as one of Dance Magazine‘s “25 to Watch” in 2012 and, two years later, was named the Wall Street Journal‘s 2014 Performing Arts Innovator. Selected as an Aspen Institute Harman-Eisner Artist in Residence in 2014, Lil Buck is a regular participant in Institute events promoting the role of the arts in education.

About New Museum
The New Museum is the only museum in New York City exclusively devoted to contemporary art. Founded in 1977, the New Museum is a center for exhibitions, information, and documentation about living artists from around the world. From its beginnings as a one-room office on Hudson Street to the inauguration of its first freestanding building on the Bowery designed by SANAA in 2007, the New Museum continues to be a place of experimentation and a hub of new art and new ideas.

About the Aspen Institute Arts Program
The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Aspen Institute Arts Program was established to support and invigorate the arts in America, and to return the arts to the center of the Institute’s “Great Conversation.” It brings together artists, advocates, educators, managers, foundations, and government officials to exchange ideas and develop policies and programs that strengthen the reciprocal relationship between the arts and society.


Education and Public Engagement programs at the New Museum are made possible, in part, by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the New York State Council on the Arts. Additional support is provided by the May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation. 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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