This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001

31Aug/14

RACHEL FEINSTEIN’S “THE LAST DAYS OF FOLLY” PERFORMANCE FESTIVAL

“Rococo Hut” is one of three sculptural pieces that make up Rachel Feinstein’s “Folly” in Madison Square Park (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

“Rococo Hut” is one of three sculptural pieces that make up Rachel Feinstein’s “Folly” in Madison Square Park (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

FOLLY
Madison Square Park
23rd to 25th Sts. between Madison Ave. & Broadway
Wednesday, September 3, free, 5:30 - 8:30
Exhibition continues through September 7
www.madisonsquarepark.org
folly slideshow

At first look, Rachel Feinstein’s site-specific “Folly” installation in Madison Square Park appears to be a trio of fragile ornamental structures, seemingly crudely made out of paper (they began life as handmade paper models), that could serve as backdrops for a high school play. Echoing fairy-tale-like nonfunctional garden decoration from eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Europe as well as Nymphenburg porcelain, the three pieces — “Cliff House,” inspired by Ballets Russes sets; “Rococo Hut,” influenced by Marie Antoinette’s château Le Petit Triannon; and “The Flying Ship,” based on a Commedia dell’arte skit about Punchinello — are actually constructed from powder-coated aluminum. The works, which also give nods to Federico Fellini, Marlene Dietrich’s portrayal of Catherine the Great in The Scarlet Empress, and Giovanni Battista Piranesi’s real and imagined landscapes, might look like they could collapse at any moment — “Rococo Hut” features crooked steps, “The Flying Ship” uses a tree for balance, and “Cliff House” looks supremely unsafe — but they are sturdy enough to be home to a wide-ranging collection of performances on September 3. “The Madison Park Conservancy has given me the opportunity to marry my early interest in theater and performance with my later obsession with the handmade in one of the most spectacular settings. I picture ‘Folly’ as an empty Fellini-esque set dropped into the middle of a lush green wonderland in the historical Flatiron district of New York City,” the New York City-based Feinstein (“The Snow Queen”), who was born in Defiance, Arizona, and raised in Miami, said in a statement. “I have always been driven by the stark contrast between good and evil in old fairy tales. Having this setting, a hidden natural jewel situated within the tall skyscrapers of yesterday and today, will be the perfect backdrop for my theater, where the real people who occupy the park every day will stand in as Commedia dell’arte performers.”

Rachel Feinstein’s “Folly” will be home to a wide-ranging performance festival on September 3 (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Rachel Feinstein’s “Folly” will be home to a wide-ranging performance festival on September 3 (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

On Wednesday, “The Last Days of Folly” will consist of My Barbarian performing its “Broke Baroque Suite”; a procession through the park led by artists Allison Brainard and Cara Chan; musical segues by Jarvis Cocker based on Maurice Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé for the Ballets Russes; Sofia Coppola directing six Joffrey Ballet School ballerinas dancing to Isao Tomita’s version of one of Claude Debussy’s Arabesques; a sound-and-movement piece from multidisciplinary artist Tamar Ettun; Little Did Productions’ magic lantern interpretation of parts of the Ramayana with Luke Santy on sitar and Jessica Lorence on vocals; an improvised dance by Lil Buck set to music by Paul Cantelon and cellist Wolfram Koessel; Kalup Linzy’s “Romantic Loner” and “One Life to Heal,” with live music by Mike Jackson; Molly Lowe’s nude costume incorporating numerous performers; a music set by Angela McCluskey and Cantelon, joined by Lil Buck and others; a puppet show from Shana Moulton; a new video work by Tony Oursler collaborating with Constance DeJong; a sound installation by Carlos Vela-Prado; and “Folly”-inspired fashion from Giles Deacon, Duro Olowu, Zac Posen, Narciso Rodriguez, Cynthia Rowley, Proenza Schouler, and Madeline Weinrib. We have no idea how this is all going to be squeezed into a mere three hours, but we can’t wait to find out.

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