Dance Film Sunday Presents Yvonne Rainer’s Lives of Performers (1972)

Dance Film Sunday Presents Yvonne Rainer’s Lives of Performers (1972)

Sunday, October 8th, 2017

2:00 pm | 1 hr 30 min | 1972 | Drama film/LGBT | $12/$10 members/$6 children 12 and under | Presented with Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art as part of the exhibition Artists as Innovators: Celebrating Three Decades of New York Council on the Arts / New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships

How provocative is your art? For Yvonne Rainer, American dancer-choreographer-filmmaker-writer-educator, the answer would be a resounding “decidedly.” The screening is in conjunction with the exhibition Artists as Innovators: Celebrating Three Decades of New York Council on the Arts / New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art. Lives of Performers was inspired by Hollywood film, but true to Rainer’s Postmodern creed, it was anti-conventional in its narrative. It tells the story of a man caught in love with two women, his inability to make a choice, and the suffering that results. In B & W and influenced by the work of John Cage, a portion of the film is in silence and in tribute to the Silent Era of film inter-titles are prominently featured. Originally shot on 16 mm film, Lives of Performers was written and directed by Rainer, with cinematography by Babette Mangolte.

A MacArthur “Genius” grantee, Yvonne Rainer first came to prominence as a leading figure in the Judson Dance Theater movement, a loose collection of dancers and artists whose performances, often held at the Judson Memorial Church in New York City, crossed fluidly between the fields of dance and visual art. They created a striking and intellectualized form of performance that denied the theatricality and emotionalism of modern dance in favor of movements that seemed casual, spare, and cool. In addition to the social and political theories she was exploring, in Lives of Performers, as a choreographer Rainer had the intention to explore how the frame of the film dissects the body. The cast for Lives of Performers consisted of trained dancers and non-dancers from the Judson circle: Valda Setterfield, James Barth, John Erdman, Epp Kotkas, Yvonne Rainer, Sarah Soffer, Shirley Soffer, and Fernando Torm.

Established in 1971 as an independent organization to serve individual artists throughout the state, the mission of New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) is to empower emerging artists and arts organizations across all disciplines at critical stages in their creative lives and professional/organizational development. First launched in 1985, the Artist Fellowship program has provided over $30 million in unrestricted cash grants to artists in 15 disciplines at critical stages in their creative development. The funds are unrestricted, and can be used in any manner the artists deem necessary to further their careers.

Located at the State University of New York at New Paltz, The Dorsky Museum comprises more than 9,000 square feet of exhibition space distributed over six galleries. The museum was launched more than 65 years ago by a dedicated committee of faculty members to enhance the teaching mission of the university. Originally known as the College Art Gallery, The Dorsky Museum was dedicated in 2001. The opening of The Dorsky Museum transformed the original College Art Gallery into one of the leading art museums in the region. Artists as Innovators: Celebrating Three Decades of New York State Council on the Arts / New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships showcases a program that has supported over 4,000 artists in various fields in the visual arts, literature, and performing arts at critical stages throughout their careers. NYSCA/NYFA Fellows have a history of addressing pressing and often controversial issues such as the status of women, sexual orientation, equality, consumerism, globalization and more.