For immediate Release
13 January 2016
Contact: Jodi Joseph
Director of Communications
Big Dance Theater: This Page Left Intentionally Blank
See Sol LeWitt like never before
NORTH ADAMS, MASSACHUSETTS — A work-in-progress, performance-based museum audio/docent tour created by Here Lies Love choreographer Annie-B Parson and creative partner Paul Lazar, this interactive event changes how we experience a museum — disrupting, confusing, and ultimately reconsidering the ways we see art. Big Dance Theater presents This Page Left Intentionally Blank in six only-at-MASS-MoCA engagements taking place each day at 12pm and 3pm on Wednesday, February 10; Friday, February 12; and Saturday, February 13.
For nearly 25 years, Brooklyn-based performance ensemble Big Dance Theater has electrified audiences with its revolutionary performance style that combines dance, music, text, and visuals in participatory, multidimensional presentations. The New York Times raves, “It’s hard to do justice to the freewheeling brilliance of Big Dance Theater’s combination of dance, theater, video and idiosyncratic imagination; suffice it to say you should see the work of Annie-B Parson and Paul Lazar whenever possible.” Additional collaborators include sound designer Tei Blow, who won a 2015 Bessie Award for I Understand Everything Better (a collaboration with choreographer David Neumann, workshopped at MASS MoCA in 2014) and visual artist Suzanne Bocanegra, who provided projections to accompany David Lang’s Darker during the 2015 Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival. Bocanegra provides the costumes for This Page Left Intentionally Blank.
In residency for three weeks, the company will work with MASS MoCA’s education team to research museum tours, speak with patrons and guides about their tour experiences, and examine the way we see. The performances at MASS MoCA deconstruct the role of the docent and museum audio tour through an encounter with theater and dance, subverting and reconsidering how the docent typically leads viewers to observe art in the museum context. Misdirection, alienation, and confession reposition art we thought we already knew. This museum tour interrogates, without hierarchy, the entire physical journey through the museum toward one single artwork, to dynamically examine how language and movement affect our imaginations and can sensitize our seeing mind. The performance replaces viewing art through the lens of fact, data, and history with a personal way of experiencing art through the use of misdirection, alienation, confession, kinetics, and obfuscation.
In groups limited to twenty people, participants are given headphones before touring the museum, listening to the docent’s talks and instructions, eventually concluding in the presence of a single work of art. Stairs, walls, doorways, other bodies, and objects along the way are examined as valuable and prismatic, while costumes and sound collaborate to awaken our senses to the particular work of art we encounter in the culminating section of the tour. This Page Left Intentionally Blank strives to induce a crisis of individual perception that examines the role of art and seeing. Trust us when we say you’ll be talking about this one for a while. Parson last visited MASS MoCA when she was in residence choreographing David Byrne’s Here Lies Love, workshopped at the museum in 2012.
Founded in 1991 by Parson, Lazar, and Molly Hickok, Big Dance Theater has created over 20 multidisciplinary works in collaboration with leading actors, dancers, composers, and designers. Notable productions include Man in a Case, which featured Mikhail Baryshnikov and Alan Smithee Directed This Play, which premiered at Les Subsistances in Lyon, France, and Berlin. Big Dance Theater and individual company members have received numerous Bessie Awards and OBIE Awards, as well as the first-ever Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award. Big Dance Theater has been presented around the world including France, Italy, Belgium, The Netherlands, Brazil, and Germany, and in the USA at venues including the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Dance Theater Workshop, The Kitchen, New York City Center’s Fall for Dance, The Performing Garage, New York Live Arts, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, The Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), and the Walker Art Center.
Annie-B Parson is a Brooklyn-based choreographer, dancer, and director who is best known for her work in contemporary dance and immersive theater. In addition to Byrne’s Here Lies Love, Parson choreographed Byrne’s 2008-9 tour with Brian Eno, and his 2012 tour with St. Vincent. She has worked independently with St. Vincent, the string quartet Ethel, and Nico Muhly’s opera Dark Sisters. Her honors include a 2014 Foundation for Contemporary Art Grants to Artists Award, a 2007 Guggenheim Fellowship in Choreography, 2002 and 2010 Bessie Awards, and NYFA Fellowships (2012, 2005, and 2000).
Paul Lazar is an actor and writer, best known for The Silence of the Lambs (1991), Snowpiercer (2013), and Married to the Mob (1988). A co-founder of Big Dance Theater, Lazar’s work includes conceiving, directing, and performing the company’s works. He received a Bessie Award in 2002. Lazar is an instructor at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and has taught acting, directing, and theater history at Yale University, SUNY Purchase, Rutgers University, The William Esper Studio, and Michael Howard Studios.
Big Dance Theater: This Page Left Intentionally Blank redefines how you experience MASS MoCA’s galleries at 12pm and 3pm each day on Wednesday, February 10; Friday, February 12; and Saturday, February 13. Tickets are $5 plus gallery admission. Tickets must be purchased by phone by calling the MASS MoCA box office located on Marshall Street in North Adams, at 413.662.2111 x1, open 11am to 5pm every day except Tuesdays through spring 2016. Space is very limited: call early to reserve. All events are held rain or shine.
A collection of high-resolution images is available here: bit.ly/1NL6mgv.
This program is supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Irene Hunter Fund for Dance at MASS MoCA in association with Jacob’s Pillow Dance.
About MASS MoCA
MASS MoCA is one of the world’s liveliest (and largest) centers for making and enjoying today’s most important art, music, dance, theater, film, and video. Hundreds of works of visual and performing art have been created on its 19th-century factory campus during fabrication and rehearsal residencies, making MASS MoCA among the most productive sites in the country for the creation and presentation of new art. More platform than box, MASS MoCA strives to bring to its audiences art experiences that are fresh, engaging, and transformative.
MASS MoCA’s galleries are open 11am to 5pm every day except Tuesdays through spring 2016. The Hall Art Foundation’s Anselm Kiefer exhibition is seasonal and reopens April 30, 2016. Gallery admission is $18 for adults, $16 for veterans and seniors, $12 for students, $8 for children 6 to 16, and free for children 5 and under. Members are admitted free year-round. For additional information, call 413.662.2111 x1 or visit massmoca.org.