Ethan Philbrick: Re:Group Works
June 7, 2023, 8pm
Free with RSVP (reservations open in May)
The Kitchen at Westbeth (163B Bank Street, 4th Floor Loft)
The Kitchen is pleased to host a night of readings and artistic responses to cellist and writer Ethan Philbrick’s forthcoming book Group Works: Art, Politics, and Collective Ambivalence (Fordham University Press, April 2023).
Group Works is an exciting new reflection on the role of artistic collaboration, collectivism, and the politics of group formation in the neoliberal era. Written against both phobic and romantic accounts of collectivity, Group Works contends that the group emerges as a medium for artists when established forms of collective life break down. Philbrick engages with this subject by pairing group pieces in dance, literature, film, and music from the 1960s and 1970s downtown Manhattan scene with a series of recent group experiments: Simone Forti’s dance construction, Huddle (1961), is put into relation with contemporary re-performances of Forti’s score and huddling as a feminist political tactic; Samuel Delany’s memoir of communal living, Heavenly Breakfast: An Essay on the Winter of Love (1969/78), speaks to performance artist Morgan Bassichis’s 2017 communal musical adaptation of Larry Mitchell’s 1977 text, The Faggots and Their Friends Between Revolutions; Lizzie Borden’s experimental documentary of feminist collectivity, Regrouping (1976), sits alongside visual artist Sharon Hayes’s 2014 piece on Manhattan’s Pier 54, Women of the World Unite! they said; and Julius Eastman’s insurgent piece of chamber music for four pianos, Gay Guerrilla (1979), resonates alongside contemporary projects that take up Eastman’s legacy by artists such as Tiona Nekkia McClodden.
Many of the artists featured in Group Works have histories of engagement with The Kitchen, including Forti, Eastman, Bassichis, and McClodden. Highlighting these legacies alongside The Kitchen's founding ethos as a site for collective experimentation, Philbrick convenes a small assembly of artists to respond to his book during Re:Group Works. In addition to solo contributions from Morgan Bassichis and Mariana Valencia, the evening will feature responses from two collaborative duos: Lauren Bakst and Niall Jones, and Brandon Lopez and Fred Moten. This program is presented in partnership with Women & Performance: a journal of feminist theory.
Ethan Philbrick: Re:Group Works is organized by Alison Burstein, Curator, and presented in partnership with Women & Performance: a journal of feminist theory.
Lauren Bakst is an artist, writer, and scholar working through experimental performance. Her practices engage the social life of study and the possibilities of dissonant communion. Bakst’s performance works include after summer, or not in the kitchen (the bed, the bathroom, the dance floor and other spaces) (2019) and More Problems with Form (2019). Her writing has been published by Wendy’s Subway and she has been a part of the editorial team of the Movement Research Performance Journal. Bakst has taught at University of the Arts School of Dance and The Cooper Union. She is currently working toward Vol. 3 of The School for Temporary Liveness and is a PhD candidate in English at the University of Pennsylvania.
Morgan Bassichis is a comedic performer who has been called “a tall child or, well, a big bird” by The Nation and “fiercely hilarious” by The New Yorker. Bassichis’s book of to-do lists, The Odd Years, was published by Wendy’s Subway in 2020. Past shows include Questions to Ask Beforehand (Bridget Donahue, 2022), Don’t Rain On My Bat Mitzvah (co-created with Ira Khonen Temple, Creative Time, 2021), Nibbling the Hand that Feeds Me (Whitney Museum, NYC, 2019), Klezmer for Beginners (co-created with Ethan Philbrick, Abrons Arts Center, NYC, 2019), Damned If You Duet (The Kitchen, NYC, 2018), More Protest Songs! (Danspace Project, NYC, 2018), and The Faggots & Their Friends Between Revolutions: The Musical (co-created with TM Davy, DonChristian Jones, Michi Ilona Osato, and Una Aya Osato, New Museum, NYC, 2017). Bassichis has released two albums: March is for Marches with Ethan Philbrick (2019) and More Protest Songs! Live From St. Mark’s Church (2018).
Niall Jones is an artist working and living in New York City. Jones constructs, inhabits, and explores the theater as a mode and location of instabilities. Working through an ongoing fascination with labor, temporality, and fantasy, Jones creates immersive, liminal sites for practicing incompleteness and refusal. Jones received a Bessie Award nomination for Outstanding Emerging Choreographer in 2017 and, more recently, a 2021 Grants-To-Artists Award from the Foundation for Contemporary Art. Recent works include: A Work for Others at The Kitchen OnScreen (2021); Fantasies in Low Fade at Chocolate Factory Theater, New York City (2019); Sis Minor: The Preliminary Studies at Hebbel am Ufer, Berlin (2018); Sis Minor, in Fall at Abrons Arts Center, New York City (2018), and Splendor #3 at Gibney Dance: Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center, New York City (2017). Jones received a BFA from the Virginia Commonwealth University and an MFA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He teaches at the University of the Arts, School of Dance in Philadelphia, where he is also producer and co-curator of The School for Temporary Liveness (Vol. 1 & 2).
Brandon Lopez is a New York-based composer and bassist working at the fringes of jazz, free improvisation, noise, and new music. His music has been praised as “brutal” (Chicago Reader) and “relentless” (The New York Times). From the New York Philharmonic’s David Geffen Hall to the DIY basements of Brooklyn, Lopez has worked beside many luminaries of jazz, classical, poetry, and experimental music, including Fred Moten, John Zorn, Okkyung Lee, Ingrid Laubrock, Tony Malaby, Tyshawn Sorey, Bill Nace, Chris Potter, Edwin Torres, Tom Rainey, Cecilia Lopez, Sun Ra Arkestra, Susan Alcorn, Mette Rasmussen, and many others. As a 2019–2020 Artist in Residence at Roulette, Lopez played with his trio consisting of Gerald Cleaver, and Steve Baczkowski, a 4tet adding Cecilia Lopez, as well as a solo performance and duet with Greg Kelley. This continued Lopez’s work as 2018 Artist-in-Residence at Issue Project Room and 2018 Van Lier Fellow at Roulette Intermedium. Recent highlight performances include opening the 2018–2019 season of the New York Philharmonic as a featured soloist in Ashley Fure’s “Filament” and a number of works with John Zorn, including Zorn’s 35th anniversary of “Cobra.”
Fred Moten lives in New York and teaches in the Departments of Performance Studies and Comparative Literature at New York University. His latest projects are a poetry collection, Perennial Fashion Presence Falling (Wave Books, 2023), a record album, Fred Moten/Brandon López/Gerald Cleaver (Reading Group Records, 2022) and an essay collection, All Incomplete (Minor Compositions, 2021), co-authored with Stefano Harney.
Ethan Philbrick is a cellist, artist, and writer. He holds a PhD in performance studies from New York University and has taught at Pratt Institute, Muhlenberg College, and New York University. His book, Group Works: Art, Politics, and Collective Ambivalence, is forthcoming from Fordham University Press (April 2023). Recent projects include Slow Dances (with Anh Vo, Tess Dworman, Niall Jones, Tara Aisha Willis, nibia pastrana santiago, and Moriah Evans) at The Kitchen Video Viewing Room (2020) and Montez Press Radio (2022), DAYS (with Ned Riseley), Mutual Aid Among Animals at the Park Avenue Armory (2022), Song in an Expanding Field at The Poetry Project (2022), Case at Rashid Johnson and Creative Time’s Red Stage (2021), The Gay Divorcees (with Robbie Acklen, Lauren Bakst, Lauren Denitzio, Paul Legault, Joshua Thomas Lieberman, Ita Segev, and Julia Steinmetz) (2021), March is for Marches (with Morgan Bassichis) at Triple Canopy (2019), Disordo Virtutum at Museum of Art and Design (2020), 10 Meditations in an Emergency at The Poetry Project and Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (2019/2020), Choral Marx at NYU Skirball (2018), and Suite for Solo For Cello and Audience at Grey Art Gallery (2016).
Mariana Valencia works through dance. A choreographer and performer, her commissions include Baryshnikov Arts Center, The Chocolate Factory Theater, Danspace Project, The Whitney Museum, The Shed, Performance Space New York, and Abrons Arts Center. Valencia’s work has toured in England, Germany, Korea, Norway, Macedonia, and Serbia. Her residencies include AUNTS, Chez Bushwick, New York Live Arts, ISSUE Project Room, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Gibney Dance Center, Movement Research, and the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (OR). Valencia is an LMCC Extended Life grantee, a Whitney Biennial artist, a Bessie Award recipient for Outstanding Breakout Choreographer, a Bessie Award nominee for Best Production, a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Award to Artists grant recipient, a Jerome Travel and Study Grant fellow, and a Movement Research GPS/Global Practice Sharing artist. She is a founding member of the No Total reading group and has been the co-editor of Movement Research’s Critical Correspondence. Valencia has worked with artists AK Burns, Elizabeth Orr, Em Rooney, Fia Backstrom, Geo Wyeth, Guadalupe Rosales, Jazmin Romero, Juliana May, Jules Gimbrone, Kim Brandt, Lauren Bakst, Lydia Okrent, Morgan Bassichis, MPA, O’Helen, robbinschilds and Heera Gandhu. Valencia has published two books of performance texts: Album (Wendy's Subway) and Mariana Valencia’s Bouquet (3 Hole Press).
The Kitchen’s programming is supported by grants from The Amphion Foundation, Inc., Arison Art Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, The Cowles Charitable Trust, Ford Foundation, Joseph and Joan Cullman Foundation for the Arts, Inc., The Willem de Kooning Foundation, Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Howard Gilman Foundation, The Harkness Foundation for Dance, Marta Heflin Foundation, Lambent Foundation Fund of Tides Foundation, Mertz Gilmore Foundation, Open Society Foundation, The Jerome Robbins Foundation, The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, Simons Foundation, and Teiger Foundation; and in part by public funds from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.
Season programming is made possible in part with support from The Kitchen’s Board of Directors and The Kitchen Leadership Fund. To learn more about the Leadership Fund, click here.
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Access to the 4th Floor Loft is available via elevator or stairs in the Westbeth Bank Street Courtyard. There is a gender neutral bathroom available. The ADA facilities at Westbeth are currently under construction. If you have any questions or specific access needs, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image: Cover of Ethan Philbrick, Group Works: Art, Politics, and Collective Ambivalence (Fordham University Press, 2023). Courtesy of the artist and Fordham University Press.
Image description: A black and white photograph of individuals performing Simone Forti’s Huddle appears left of center. The title of the book in pink letters is superimposed on the image halfway down the page, with the subtitle and author name spaced out below in the bottom half of the image.
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