Donelle Woolford: Dick’s Last Stand

Donelle Woolford Event V3

Archived Event

No Longer Showing.

Dick’s Last Stand is a 40-minute reenactment by artist Donelle Woolford of the stand-up routine that Richard Pryor performed in 1977 for the last episode of his short-lived television show. The routine is a subversive work of deconstruction and social commentary that, by Pryor’s design, was censored from the final NBC broadcast. Consequently, Pryor’s stand-up has only ever been experienced by the 75-plus persons who were in the live studio audience that night.

Donelle Woolford’s cathartic new body of work chronicles the place of honor afforded the male sex organ in American art and politics, and continues the oral tradition of phallic humor and innuendo in popular culture. Dick’s Last Stand honors Pryor’s brash political humor and marks its return to the live stage, where its allegories on race, conformity, representation, and subterfuge are as painfully hilarious as ever. Throughout the original performance, Pryor continually dissembled himself, playing with the notion that Richard Pryor, comedian, was someone who could not be pinned down or controlled. He slid from one character or attitude to the next without ever indicating when -- if ever -- the audience was seeing the “real” Richard Pryor.

This chimerical quality -- this defiance -- is what attracted Woolford to the performance in the first place, but her reenactment pushes the mise en abyme even further. Instead of Richard Pryor playing Richard Pryor playing Mudbone, Dick’s Last Stand is Woolford playing Richard Pryor playing Richard Pryor playing Mudbone -- across generations and in drag!

The performance is realized in cooperation with the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, as part of the 2014 Whitney Biennial on view from March 7–May 25, 2014.

Tuesday, April 1, 7pm

Tickets $10

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