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


Christian Marclay will perform Alexander Calder’s “Small Sphere and Heavy Sphere” July 19-23 at the Whitney (photograph © Jerry L. Thompson. Calder Foundation, New York; Mary Calder Rower Bequest, 2011. © 2017 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York)

Christian Marclay will perform Alexander Calder’s “Small Sphere and Heavy Sphere” July 19-23 at the Whitney (photograph © Jerry L. Thompson. Calder Foundation, New York; Mary Calder Rower Bequest, 2011. © 2017 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York)

Whitney Museum of American Art
99 Gansevoort St.
Wednesday - Monday through October 23, $17-$22

Alexander Calder, kineticism, and the Whitney have been inextricably linked since the institution acquired in May 1982 the Pennsylvania-born artist’s delightful “Calder’s Circus,” which, when on view, is always accompanied by a video showing the work in action. In addition, on rare occasions, it is activated live. The Whitney will be activating many of Calder’s other works in the new exhibition “Calder: Hypermobility,” set in motion at specific times to a specially commissioned sound walk by Jim O’Rourke. Activations, by motor or air, will take place multiple times each day (Monday to Thursday at 12 noon, 2:00, and 4:00; Friday at 12 noon, 2:00, 4:00, 7:30, 8:00, and 9:00; and Saturday and Sunday on the hour from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm). In addition, the Calder Foundation will activate the rarely exhibited “Object with Red Ball” on June 21 at 2:00, “Boomerangs” on June 28 at 2:00, “Tightrope” on July 9 at 4:00, “Goldfish Bowl” on July 12 at 2:00, and two untitled pieces on July 18 and 26 at 2:00, with more to come in August, September, and October. Below is a list of special performances by other artists during the run of the show, some of which require advance tickets.

Wednesday, July 19
Sunday, July 23

Christian Marclay performs Calder’s “Small Sphere and Heavy Sphere” (Calder’s first suspended mobile), with cellist Okkyung Lee, Susan and John Hess Family Theater

Saturday, August 5
Sunday, August 6

Jack Quartet, music by Earle Brown, John Cage, Morton Feldman, and others, Hurst Family Galleries

Thursday, September 7
Sunday, September 10

Arto Lindsay, noisemakers and rattles, in conjunction with the exhibition “Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium,” Susan and John Hess Family Theater

Thursday, September 28
Jill Magid, Susan and John Hess Family Theater

Friday, September 29
Sunday, October 1

Math Bass and Lauren Davis Fisher perform “Quiet Work in Session,” Susan and John Hess Family Theater

Thursday, October 5
Friday, October 6

C. Spencer Yeh, Susan and John Hess Family Theater

Saturday, October 7
A screening of films commissioned by the Calder Foundation by artists Ephraim Asili, Rosa Barba, Lucy Raven, Agnès Varda, and others, followed by a conversation moderated by Victoria Brooks, Susan and John Hess Family Theater

Friday, October 13
Sunday, October 15

Empire State Works in Progress, with artist Abigail DeVille and director Charlotte Brathwaite, Susan and John Hess Family Theater

Friday, October 20
Sunday, October 22

Nora Schultz, Susan and John Hess Family Theater


make music ny

Make Music New York is back for its eleventh summer season, celebrating the longest day of the year with more than a thousand free concerts across the city on June 21. There are participatory events, live music in parks and plazas, unique gatherings in unusual places, and just about anything else you can think of. Below are only a handful of the highlights, arranged chronologically.

49 Flutes, fortieth anniversary of John Cage’s “49 Waltzes for the Five Boroughs,” 147 locations, dawn and dusk

Inside the Bird Chorus, with composer David Rothenberg on clarinet and Derek Gripper on guitar at Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 5:30 am; Jordan McLean on trumpet at Cherry Hill in Central Park, 5:30 am; Dave Kadden on oboe at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Preserve, 9:00 am; Michael Pestel on woodwinds at Wave Hill, 9:00 am; Volker Goetz on trumpet at Fresh Kills Park, 7:00 pm; Bobby Sanabria & Project X featuring Jeff Lederer at Crotona Park, 7:00 pm

The Ella Fitzgerald Piano Bar, Harlem and East Harlem, Apollo Theater, 11:00; Red Rooster, 12:30; Sister’s Cuisine, 2:15; Uptown Grand Central Community Plaza, 3:45; and National Jazz Museum in Harlem, 5:15

Street Studios, with Miles Francis, Harman Audio 527 Madison Ave., 11:00 am – 3:00 pm; with Kid Koi, Gotham Market at the Ashland, 590 Fulton St., Brooklyn, 12:30-3:30; with Aaron Lazansky, Tomasia Kastner, and students from NYC Parks’ Computer Resource Centers, Andrew Freedman Home, 1125 Grand Concourse, Bronx, 4:00-7:00; with Angus Tarnawsky, Skill Mill NYC, 949 Amsterdam Ave., 5:00-8:00; with Manhattan Producers Alliance, La Plaza de Las Americas, West 175th St. & Broadway 5:15-7:00

Fourth annual Porch Stomp, Nolan Park, Governors Island, 12 noon – 5:00 pm

Joe’s Pub Block Party, with Jose Conde, 12 noon; Fumi Tanakadate & the Kaoru Watanabe Taiko Center Ensemble, 1:00; Hervé, 2:00; Svetlana & the Delancey Five, 3:00; Vuyo Sotashe, 4:00; Batalá, 5:00, Astor Place Plaza

South Shore Lawn Party, the Kreischer Mansion, Charleston, Staten Island, 12 noon – 9:00 pm

Gérard Grisey’s Le Noir de l’Étoile, American Museum of Natural History, Hall of the Universe, 12:30

Mass Appeals: Electronic Instruments, NYU, 35 West Fourth St., Room 303, 3:00; Djembes, Mullaly Park, 5:00 pm; Harmonicas, Central Park’s Pond Lawn, 5:30; Ukuleles, Pilgrim Hill, Central Park, 5:30; Guitars, Union Square Park, 6:00; Mandolins, Theodore Roosevelt Park, 6:00; French Horns, Madison Square Park, 6:30; Accordions, Bryant Park, 7:00; Cellos, Bushwick Inlet Park, 7:00; Recorders, Straus Park, 7:00

Concerto for Buildings, works by Daniel Goode (“Concerto for Buildings”), Lainie Fefferman (“Cloud Noodles”), Miguel Bolivar (“Going Up”), Devon Cupo (“Quit While You Exist”), and Christian Rivera (“When I See You Again”), with Mantra Youth Percussion and Rahway High School Wind Ensemble, performed on eight buildings on Greene St. between Grand & Broome, 5:00

On the Waterfront, with duo pianists Karl Larsson and Hitomi Honda, 4:30, and Mannes Prep students, Pier I, Hudson River Gateway off West Seventieth St., 5:00

Offerings and Songs to the Solstice Sun, with Irka Mateo, Anne Loftus Playground, Fort Tryon Park, 5:00

WTC @ WTC, The Well-Tempered Clavier, with Athena Adamopoulos, Kathy Chen, Larry Edoff, Melody Fader, Joan Forsyth, Leslie Dobrenski Frost, Alfredo Garcia, Jr., Vadim Ghin, Liam Kaplan, Kingsley Matthew, Blair McMillen, Barbara Podgurski. Lara Saldanha, Eleanor Sandresky, Qian Shen, Irene Tse, Jenny Undercofler. Anna Vinnitsky, and the students of Joan Forsyth, Eugenia Glivinski, Adrienne Kim, Nathaniel LaNasa, Elena Leonova, Tatjana Rankovich, Gena Raps, and Emily White, 9/11 Memorial plaza, 5:00 – 8:00

The Mp3 Experiment Number Fourteen, Battery Park, 7:00

Sxip Shirley’s The Gauntlet, with Choral Chameleon, West Dalehead Arch, Central Park, 7:00


(photo by Rose Eichenbaum)

Tyler Peck’s Murder Ballades teems with energy in L.A. Dance Project production (photo by Rose Eichenbaum)

The Joyce Theater
175 Eighth Ave. at 19th St.
June 13-25, $26-$66

Upon entering the Joyce on Saturday night, June 17, to see Benjamin Millepied’s L.A. Dance Project, we were sad to hear that the performance of the brand-new duet In Silence We Speak had been canceled due to an injury. However, the three pieces that remained, all very different, made up a program that still worked extremely well. First was New York City Ballet wunderkind Justin Peck’s 2013 Murder Ballades, his debut as a contemporary dance choreographer. The curtain is raised, revealing six pairs of sneakers onstage, in front of Sterling Ruby’s colorful abstract backdrop of vertical and horizontal bars. Stephanie Amurao, Aaron Carr, Julia Eichten, Nathan Makolandra, Robbie Moore, and Rachelle Rafailedes, all in casual modern-day dress (Peck did the costume design), enter, lace on the sneakers, and proceed to run around the stage, the buzz of sudden freedom in the air, as if Peck is breaking free of ballet en pointe, at least momentarily. (He continues to dance and choreograph for NYCB.) Over the course of six sections, the dancers appear to be having a great time as they divide into solos and duets, including a lovely pas de deux between Makolandra and Rafailedes, and intersect in fluid trios and a variety of lines and patterns. At one point, Carr actually pauses to look at Ruby’s painting, making sure we all acknowledge its grandeur. Peck displays an infectious glee with his vigorous movement language, although it can get repetitive and a little too showy, but it works breathlessly with Bryce Dessner’s energetic score and Brandon Stirling Baker’s pinpoint lighting.

L.A. Dance Project performance of Merce Cunninghams MinEvent  is exquisite (photo by James Welling)

L.A. Dance Project performance of Merce Cunningham’s MinEvent is exquisitely rendered (photo by James Welling)

Next was Merce Cunningham’s MinEvent, a 2006 majestic collage that is like a Mondrian canvas brought to glorious life. Arranged and staged by Silas Riener, it’s performed by Amurao, Carr, Eichten, Makolandra, Moore, David Adrian Freeland Jr., and Lilja Rúriksdóttir, wearing tight black costumes, designed by Millepied, marked with spare, rectilinear thin stripes of color, the women’s and men’s costumes mirror images of each other. The often staccato, almost mechanical abstract movement, sudden stops and starts that seem to presage voguing but with blank facial expressions, form Mondrian-esque geometric patterns, not just with the shapes of the bodies, but with how the lines on the costumes merge. John Cage’s “Music for Piano” is performed live by Adam Tendler, who is like a seventh dancer, having to stand so he can pluck the strings inside of the instrument in addition to playing the regular keys, the minimalist score balancing sound with silence.

(photo by Erin Baiano)

Benjamin Millipied mixes live action with cinema in world premiere of Orpheus Highway at the Joyce (photo by Erin Baiano)

The evening concluded with Millepied’s adventurous, multimedia Orpheus Highway, making its world premiere at the Joyce. The piece is set to Steve Reich’s stirring “Triple Quartet,” played live by PUBLIQuartet, featuring Curtis Stewart and Jannina Norpoth on violin, Nick Revel on viola, and Amanda Gookin on cello. Wearing contemporary clothing and sneakers (the costumes were designed by Millepied), Morgan Lugo, Amurao, Carr, Eichten, Freeland Jr., Makolandra, Moore, Rúriksdóttir, and Janie Taylor (replacing Rafailedes) dance in front of a film of themselves (but with Rafailedes instead of Taylor) that Millepied shot in Marfa, Texas, on the local streets, down a narrow alley, and on an endless highway in the middle of nowhere. Freeland Jr. and Taylor reenact the tragic myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, as all the live dancers move in opposition to, in unison with, and completely differently from their screen doppelgängers. There’s a lot going on, so you’re not always sure where to look, and your mind can’t help but try to make sense of how the filmed images relate to the live ones, but just let it unfold without thinking too hard about it. In some ways, it’s an innovative combination of the two works that preceded it. The two-week Joyce run continues through June 25; Program A consists of Millepied’s Hearts & Arrows, Ohad Naharin’s Yag, and In Silence We Speak if Carla Korbës has recovered.


Bertrand Tavernier will be at the Quad for numerous screenings in conjunction with the theatrical release of his new documentary

Bertrand Tavernier will be at the Quad for numerous screenings in conjunction with the theatrical release of his new documentary

Quad Cinema
34 West 13th St. between Fifth & Sixth Aves.
June 20-29

“As well as having his place in the world of cinema as a successful filmmaker, Bertrand Tavernier is a devoted film historian,” three-time Oscar-winning film editor Thelma Schoonmaker writes in the foreword to Stephen Hay’s Bertrand Tavernier: The Film-maker of Lyon. “A complete cinema enthusiast, he has been working diligently over the years to educate people about film history, touring festivals incessantly, talking to critics, students, and general audiences about his passion for the filmmakers who have gone before him.” The seventy-six-year-old auteur will be in New York this week for the opening of his latest film, My Journey through French Cinema, which opens June 23 at the Quad, to further spread his love of the movies. In conjunction with the new documentary, the Quad is presenting “Film & Nothing But: Bertrand Tavernier,” consisting of seventeen of his films, with Tavernier either introducing or participating in Q&As at nine screenings, including Beatrice, Coup de torchon, Let Joy Reign Supreme, ’Round Midnight, and Safe Conduct. In addition, he’ll be at all four films that make up “Tavernier Treasures,” a quartet of his favorites: Marcel Carné’s Hôtel du Nord, Pierre Schoendoerffer’s The 317th Platoon, Jacques Becker’s It Happened at the Inn, and Henri Decoin’s The Truth of Our Marriage.

Philippe Noiret gives one of his most intricate performances in Bertrand Tavernier’s poignant drama based on Georges Simenon novel

Philippe Noiret gives one of his most intricate performances in Bertrand Tavernier’s poignant drama based on Georges Simenon novel

Quad Cinema
34 West 13th St. between Fifth & Sixth Aves.
Tuesday, June 20, 6:45 (followed by Tavernier Q&A)
Monday, June 26, 9:30
Wednesday, June 28, 7:00

“Film and Nothing But: Bertrand Tavernier” begins June 20 with Life and Nothing But, In the Electric Mist, and Tavernier’s first feature-length work, The Clockmaker. Based on Georges Simenon’s novel L’horloger de Saint-Paul, his debut is a quiet, introspective triumph from start to finish. Philippe Noiret stars as the title character, Michel Descombes, a widowed clockmaker who is told by a police inspector (Jean Rochefort) that his son, Antoine (Jacques Denis), has killed a man and is on the run with a woman named Liliane (Christine Pascal). A despondent Michel struggles to understand what led his son to commit such a crime, examining deep inside himself in the process. The many scenes that center on the clockmaker and the inspector discussing life in general terms are simply wonderful, except when the cop talks about the movies, which takes the audience out of the film, especially when they mention La Grande Bouffe, Noiret’s previous work. Otherwise, The Clockmaker is an absolute gem, with Tavernier’s subtle narrative style guiding Noiret (Nuovo Cinema Paradiso, Le vieux fusil) to one of the greatest understated performances you’re ever likely to see. Winner of the Silver Bear at the 1974 Berlinale, The Clockmaker is screening at the Quad on June 20 at 6:45, June 26 at 9:30, and June 28 at 7:00; Tavernier will participate in a Q&A following the June 20 show.


night at the museums

Multiple downtown locations
Tuesday, June 210, free, 4:00 – 8:00

Last Tuesday, the Museum Mile Festival offered free admission to seven institutions along Fifth Ave. between 82nd and 105th Sts. This Tuesday, June 20, fifteen downtown organizations will open their doors for free. As part of the River to River Festival, which includes experimental dance, theater, music, and more through June 25, people are invited inside to see exhibitions and special programs as well as join walking tours. The participating organizations (with current exhibitions and special events) are the African Burial Ground National Monument (ranger presentations and screening of Our Time at Last), Federal Hall National Memorial (ranger tours, George Washington, Early American Music by Linda Russell), Fraunces Tavern Museum (“Dunsmore: Illustrating the American Revolutionary War,” “Lafayette,” live music by Rose Tree), the Museum of American Finance (“For the Love of Money: Blacks on US Currency,” hourly tours), the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust (“My Name Is…The Lost Children of Kloster Indersdorf,” “Eyewitness: Photographs by B. A. Van Sise,” 6:30 talk on Jewish communities in China), the China Institute (“Dreams of the Kings: A Jade Suit for Eternity, Treasures of the Han Dynasty from Xuzhou,” live music), the National Archives at New York City, the National Museum of the American Indian (“Akunnittinni: A Kinngait Family Portrait,” “Circle of Dance,” live performances by Martha Redbone), the National September 11 Memorial Museum, the NYC Municipal Archives (building tours with MA photographer Matthew Minor and MA commissioner), the 9/11 Tribute Center, Poets House (“Poetry Since 1912: Books, Issues, & Ephemera from the Poetry Foundation,” literary scavenger hunt), the Skyscraper Museum (“Ten and Taller, 1874-1900,” tour with founding director Carol Willis), and the South Street Seaport Museum (“Street of Ships: The Port and Its People,” Waterfront History Walking Tour, Bowne C. Stationers and Printers live demonstration).


The Reception

Donovan & Calderón throw a party to remember in The Reception, continuing at HERE through June 24 (photo by Maria Baranova)

145 Sixth Ave. at Dominick St.
June 14-24, $25 (use discount code BUBBLY to save $5) - $45, 8:30

This is one party you are not going to want to miss. HERE Resident Artists Donovan & Calderón invite audiences to a rather surreal gathering in the exhilaratingly funny and utterly bizarre dance-theater piece The Reception, continuing at HERE through June 24. Actor, dancer, and writer Sean Donovan and actor, director, and scholar Sebastián Calderón Bentin have been collaborating since 2003 on such cutting-edge works as Not Unclear, The Climate Chronicles, and 18½ Minutes. For The Reception, they have put together quite a guest list: master choreographers Jane Comfort and Ishmael Houston-Jones, performer and choreographer Leslie Cuyjet, actress Hannah Heller, and the well-mustachioed Donovan himself, an extremely talented comic actor who was a standout in such recent productions as the Builders Association’s Elements of Oz and the first two parts of Faye Driscoll’s Thank You for Coming trilogy. The five fabulously dressed partygoers — the costumes are by Felix Ciprián, with Heller’s sparkling gown a particular stunner — drink, dance, nosh, and schmooze on Neal Wilkinson’s circular wooden stage, cluttered with a couch, a few chairs, a table of snacks and bottles of alcohol, and a light-up globe. Snippets of dialogue come front and center and then disappear into the background, ranging from silly jokes to more serious tales of sexism, misogyny, and ageism, as Houston-Jones tries to score with every other character in hysterical ways. Words and actions repeat, high-heeled shoes come off and are put back on, and Donovan grows ever-more desirous of the “tarty things,” all set to Stevie Wonder’s infectious “Another Star” from his groundbreaking 1976 double album, Songs in the Key of Life. Tension and anxiety wax and wane, stimulated by a sly little take on a fundamental horror movie trope. The fun sound design is by Brandon Wolcott and Tyler Kieffer, which is complemented by Amanda K. Ringger’s inventive lighting, especially when the story takes a creepy turn. And the ending is splendidly mad.

The Reception

Hannah Heller, Sean Donovan, Leslie Cuyjet, Jane Comfort, and Ishmael Houston-Jones hold nothing back in The Reception (photo by Maria Baranova)

Codirected by Calderón and Donovan, The Reception was inspired by such classic European cinema as Alain Resnais’s Last Year at Marienbad, Luis Buñuel’s The Exterminating Angel, Jacques Tati’s Playtime, and Michelangelo Antonioni’s L’Avventura. It was originally titled “Abbadon,” which in Hebrew means “place of destruction” and in Revelation refers to a king who was the “angel of the Abyss,” a hellish place of confinement. The five characters are trapped in their own private sphere, alternating between being deliriously happy, then nervous and worried, concerned for their immediate future. The social-gathering aspects of the show are beautifully precise even with improvisation, expertly detailing the interaction among the bash attendees, from movement to language to facial gesture, especially since all of the performers have collaborated previously on multiple projects: Cuyjet has danced with Jane Comfort and Company since 2005, Donovan and Heller both portrayed Dorothy Gale (and other roles) in Elements of Oz, and Houston-Jones and Comfort teamed up for The Studies Project, among other collaborations, making the proceedings that much more believable no matter how strange it gets. But underneath it all, literally and figuratively, lies the unknown, a dark side from which there might be no escape. In which case, the only thing to do is to keep on partying.