BAMPFA and SFMOMA Partner for Agnès Varda Film Retrospective

Janus Films’ National Touring Series Marks First Major Posthumous Retrospective for Acclaimed French Filmmaker

Program Includes Limited Engagement of Varda’s Final Film Varda by Agnès

The Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) will copresent a major retrospective of films byAgnès Varda, the first significant presentation of the acclaimed director’s work since she passed away in March 2019. Agnès Varda: An Irresistible Force marks the West Coast premiere of this national touring retrospective organized with Janus Films, which encompasses much of Varda’s work from the last six decades — including new restorations, rarely screened shorts, and a preview of Varda’s final film, Varda by Agnès.

The series begins at BAMPFA on December 20 with advance screenings of Varda by Agnès, a luminous autobiographical documentary that opens theatrically in the Bay Area on January 10, 2020. SFMOMA’s portion of the series begins on January 9 with Cleo 5 to 7, one of Varda’s most renowned early works. The series continues at BAMPFA through February 28, 2020 and at SFMOMA through March 21, 2020 and includes guest appearances at both venues by former Pacific Film Archive Director and Curator Tom Luddy, who collaborated with Varda on two films. This film program represents the tenth installment of SFMOMA’s Modern Cinema program, which seeks to highlight the ongoing dialogue between the critically acclaimed filmmakers of the past and present.

Cléo from 5 to 7 (France, 1962)

An icon of international art cinema for more than sixty years, Agnès Varda (1928-2019) was an influential figure in the development of the French New Wave and the only female director associated with the movement. Her remarkable debut feature, La Pointe Courte, made when she was 26, predated and inspired the New Wave movement. Widely acclaimed for her early narrative features like Cléo from 5 to 7 and Le Bonheur, Varda went on to create a vast and eclectic body of work that included numerous shorts, documentaries, photography, and installations. Often drawing from her own life experiences, Varda’s artistic practice was deeply personal, unapologetically feminist, and wonderfully innovative—most notably in her late-career embrace of handheld digital cameras as a liberating creative tool. Varda’s penultimate film Faces Places marked one of the greatest commercial successes of her career. The film, codirected with the artist JR, whose large-scale digital mural is currently on view in SFMOMA’s Roberts Family Gallery, earned Varda her first Academy Award nomination at age 88, and was a hit with audiences of all ages. Among her many honors and awards, Varda received an Honorary Academy Award in 2017 for her contributions to cinema.

(You can read her obituary from the New York Times here.)

The Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) logo

BAMPFA and SFMOMA’s copresentation of Agnès Varda: An Irresistible Force encompasses almost two dozen films by Varda, which will screen at both BAMPFA and SFMOMA with multiple repeat screenings. The series features nearly all her narrative works and documentaries, as well as an extensive selection of shorts. The retrospective highlights Varda’s films made in California, including a pair of films she made in the late 1960s in the Bay Area: Uncle Yanco, which was shot in Sausalito, and Black Panthers, filmed in Oakland. Also included in the series is a new restoration of The Young Girls of Rochefort, directed by Varda’s late husband, Jacques Demy, and shown alongside her own documentary The Young Girls Turn 25, which revisits the town of Rochefort, as well as Jacquot (shown exclusively at BAMPFA), Varda’s affectionate tribute to Demy, released shortly after his death in 1990.

The Beaches of Agnes (France, 2008)

Agnès Varda was a true force of inspiration, who touched many through her poignant films. Her work responds to life in a personal and sophisticated way, reflecting her private and public role as one of France’s most celebrated directors,” said BAMPFA Senior Film Curator Susan Oxtoby.When she visited BAMPFA in 2013, Varda captivated our audience with the same warmth and wisdom that we see throughout her magnificent body of work. We look forward to presenting in this expansive retrospective in partnership with SFMOMA, and to sharing Varda’s films with audiences across the Bay Area — a place that Varda herself visited many times and memorably rendered on film.”

Agnès Varda’s films are an unparalleled treasure in the history of cinema, full of possibility, compassion and curiosity and they are always a wonder to experience,” said Gina Basso, SFMOMA’s manager of film programs. “SFMOMA has a long history or presenting her films and this retrospective allows us to take our audiences on a deep and reflective journey that spans her long career. I’m happy to work closely with BAMPFA to organize this meaningful tribute to one of the world’s most inspiring filmmakers.

Continue reading

Walker Art Center Releases 2018-2019 Annual Report

The Year in Review: Highlights of Fiscal Year 2018–2019; A Message From Mary Ceruti, Executive Director

When my family and I arrived in Minnesota in January from New York City, we were greeted by a great deal of snow and extremely cold temperatures as well as an exceedingly warm welcome from everyone we encountered. While I have only served as executive director of the Walker Art Center for little more than 10 full months as of this writing, I can tell you that it has been exhilarating to get to know an institution that I have greatly admired for my entire career as well as the Twin Cities community that I have heard so much about over the years. I’m thrilled to now be part of an institution that is both deeply respected around the globe while also serving as a beloved cultural asset in Minnesota.

As I reflect on the Walker’s most recent fiscal year, I’m very pleased to report that the institution organized and presented more than 500 thought-provoking programs. We featured nearly 1,000 artists in 12 exhibitions, 67 performance events, and 177 moving image screenings, all of which attracted more than 882,000 people to the Walker and the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Initiatives designed to make the Walker more accessible to the broadest community such as Free First Saturdays, Target Free Thursday Nights, and the Garden, enabled more than 80 percent of visitors to attend free of charge. Several Walker exhibitions and performance commissions also reached audiences nationally and internationally as they toured to Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Columbus, and Brussels. In addition, our website attracted more than 1.6 million unique visits; while, the Walker’s dynamic online community for Minnesota artists, garnered another 459,000 visits.

Al Taw’am’s Essence, part of Choreographers’ Evening 2018: Curated by Pramila Vasudevan. November 24, 2018. Photo: Bobby Rogers

In the following letter, it is my pleasure to share some of the highlights and major achievements from the Walker’s fiscal year 2018–2019. Of course, none of this work would be possible without the tremendous support provided by the Walker’s more than 6,300 members and donors; some 140 community, civic, and copresenting partners; and 150-plus corporate and foundation partners. I would like to recognize our generous Premier Partners Delta Air Lines and Target, Lead Partner U.S. Bank, and the voters of Minnesota for supporting the Walker through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund. Lastly, I want to express my deep appreciation to the devoted Board of Trustees and stellar staff for everything they do ensure the Walker can present today’s most exciting art and artists; engage, educate, and serve the public through a diverse array of offerings; and create innovative and original programs.

Interdisciplinary Initiative

In 2016 the Walker received a major grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to extend its national leadership efforts in interdisciplinary art. The four-year Interdisciplinary Initiative focuses on the intersection of performance, performing arts, and visual arts, and involves an in-depth research initiative; a production initiative; and new models for documentation, archiving, scholarship, publishing, acquisition, and conservation.

Indigenous Spirit: Gender Fluid Fashion by Delina White, part of Target Free Thursday Nights. June 13, 2019. Photo: Galen Fletcher

The Walker remains grateful to the Mellon Foundation, whose support in 2018–2019 made possible a number of programs, including a three-part series by Beirut-born artist Rabih Mroué. Spanning theater, music, and visual art, Mroué’s work engages with the contemporary politics of the Middle East, often drawing from his experience of the Lebanese Civil War (1975–1990). The January 2019 Out There festival included a final production residency and world premiere of the Walker-commissioned Borborygmus, a darkly comedic work co-created and performed in Arabic with English by Lebanese performing artists Mroué, Lina Majdalanie, and Mazen Kerbaj. Rounding out the retrospective were Mouré’s intriguing lecture-performance Sand in the Eyes and his first solo US gallery presentation, Again we are defeated, which featured new drawings reflecting the artist’s meditations on the atrocities of war through his daily encounters with the news.

Meg Stuart & Jompet Kuswidananto/Damaged Goods: Celestial Sorrow
April 13, 2019. Walker Art Center Commission. Photo: Pierre Ware

An ambitious two-week residency with Meg Stuart, one of Europe’s most influential dance artists, included performances of her Evening of solos and duets and the North American premiere of her Walker co-commissioned installation/performance Celestial Sorrow. A collaboration with renowned Indonesian visual artist Jompet Kuswidananto, Celestial Sorrow was a live performance mounted within his immersive light installation. Exploring themes of possession, ghosts, and grief, Celestial Sorrow transformed the McGuire Theater into an intimate performative installation with audience members on all four sides on the stage facing five virtuosic dancers and musicians from across Europe and Indonesia. Free public talks between Stuart and scholar Thomas F. DeFrantz as well as with Kuswidananto took place within the installation.

Bridging the worlds of experimental sound and sculpture, Resonance: A Sound Art Marathon was a free, 10-hour festival featuring international, national, and Minnesota-based artists, co-curated by the Walker’s Visual Arts and Performing Arts departments. The wide-ranging music featured new electronic work (St. Paul’s Philip Blackburn), solo saxophone (Matana Roberts), audiovisual poetry (Christine Sun Kim), and resonant objects or instruments built and played by the artists (Walter Kitundu, Camille Norment with Craig Taborn, Tarek Atoui). Jules Gimbrone activated their installation of liquid-filled glass vessels, while Atoui’s electronic music was created live in collaboration with Haroon Mirza’s spectacular audiovisual installation. The artists had imagined this project for years but were able to finally realize it here at the Walker. ASL interpretation was provided during the daylong event.

Zoe Cinel’s You Are Here, part of Choreographers’ Evening 2018: Curated by Pramila Vasudevan. November 24, 2018. Photo: Bobby Rogers

Over the past year, the Interdisciplinary Initiative also supported new scholarly research and writing, including Walker-commissioned essays by independent curator André Lepecki; an Artist Op-Ed publication by Jules Gimbrone; artist interviews with Mroué and Kuswidananto; and multiple essays relating to the Walker’s interdisciplinary history. In addition, the Walker’s Design and publishing teams worked with Jason Moran (whose visual and performance works were mounted in 2017–2018) to publish LOOP—the first installment of Moran’s innovative digital publication on jazz from black artists’ perspectives. The initiative also helped guide several 2018–2019 interdisciplinary acquisitions by choreographer Maria Hassabi and a new video work by Laure Prouvost as well as works by performance pioneers Ron Athey, Joan Jonas, and Carolee Schneemann.

Multidisciplinary Programs

The 12 Walker exhibitions presented in fiscal year 2018–2019 included a major retrospective, midcareer survey exhibitions, a reinstallation of the permanent collection, a major thematic group show, and two solo presentations that were the first US shows for the featured artists. The Walker’s fall season began with the premiere of the retrospective Siah Armajani: Follow This Line, the first comprehensive US presentation devoted to the work of this Minneapolis-based artist, co-organized by the Walker and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. The exhibition was accompanied by a major catalogue, published by the Walker, and also received broad and positive press coverage from outlets ranging from the New York Times to Artforum. Also opening in the fall of 2018 was Mario García Torres: Illusion Brought Me Here, the Mexico City–based artist’s first US survey. This exhibition was copresented with WIELS, Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels, and was accompanied by the first catalogue to survey García Torres’s work, copublished by the two institutions. In December, the Walker opened a solo presentation on the work of London-based artist Elizabeth Price, her first exhibition in a US museum. In the early winter, the multipart Platforms: Collection and Commissions presented landmark films from the collection alongside new commissions by a generation of artists inspired by these earlier examples.

Continue reading

High Museum Of Art To Present First Magnum Live Lab Photography Residency And Exhibition In The United States

Magnum is a community of thought, a shared human quality, a curiosity about what is going on in the world, a respect for what is going on and a desire to transcribe it visually.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson

This spring, the High Museum of Art will be the first-ever U.S. venue for Live Lab, a photography residency and related exhibition organized in collaboration with the international photographic cooperative Magnum Photos. Live Lab is designed to involve the community in the realization of a new body of photographs, which will be created over a two-week period in a “lab” at the Museum. The Atlanta project will feature American photographer Carolyn Drake and South African artists Lindokuhle Sobekwa and Mikhael Subotzky, whose projects all will explore themes relevant to the city.

High Museum logo

The process begins with a two-week–long “photographic jam session” (March 16–27, 2020) during which the photographers will use the High as their base of operations. They will travel into the city and metro area to shoot photographs, which they will then edit, make and sequence on site at the Museum. To render their creative process transparent, the photographers will open their workspace (located in the lobby of the High’s Anne Cox Chambers Wing) to the public at select times. The residency will culminate in a pop-up exhibition of the photographers’ work, on view in the Chambers lobby from March 28 through April 19, 2020.

Magnum Photos has hosted Live Labs in cities around the world, including London; Paris; Shenzhen, China; Kyoto, Japan; and most recently, Moscow.

We are honored that Magnum chose the High, and Atlanta, as its first U.S. host for Live Lab, and we are delighted to bring this project to the city,” said Rand Suffolk, Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr., director of the High. “This collaboration is a testament to the strength of our photography department and our commitment to supporting the creation of new work and offering innovative ways for our audience to connect with their museum and the greater community. We can’t wait to see what the photographers create.

High Museum Of Art To Present First Magnum Live Lab Photography Residency And Exhibition In The United States

To help the artists learn more about Atlanta, the High provided them with a brief on the city, which touched on topics including its history, economy and position as the crossroads of the new South. The photographers are now in the process of developing their projects’ focus and scope.

We look forward to welcoming these incredible photographers to Atlanta and to lifting the veil on their creative process for our visitors,” said Gregory Harris, the High’s assistant curator of photography. “Ours is a vibrant yet complicated and ever-changing city. It will be thrilling to see Atlanta through the lenses of these artists.”

Carolyn Drake (born 1971) is a California native now based in the Bay Area. She studied media/culture and history in the 1990s at Brown University, where she became interested in approaches to documentary and the ways that history and reality are purposefully shaped and revised over time. She worked for multimedia companies in New York for many years but eventually left her office job to engage with the physical world through photography. Between 2007 and 2013, Drake traveled frequently to Central Asia from her base in Istanbul to work on two projects that became acclaimed photo books. “Two Rivers” explores the connections between ecology, culture and political power along the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers. “Wild Pigeon” is an amalgam of photographs, drawings and embroideries she made in collaboration with Uyghur people in western China. Her latest book, “Knit Club,” will be published by TBW Books in the spring of 2020. Drake is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Dorothea Lange–Paul Taylor Prize, a World Press Photo award, a Magnum Emergency Fund grant and a Fulbright fellowship, among other awards. She became a Magnum nominee in 2015.

Lindokuhle Sobekwa (born 1995 in Katlehong, Johannesburg) came to photography in 2012 through his participation in the Of Soul and Joy Project, an educational program run in Thokoza, a township in southeastern Johannesburg. He went on to study with Bieke Depoorter, Cyprien Clément-Delmas, Thabiso Sekgala, Tjorven Bruyneel and Kutlwano Moagi. His early projects explore poverty and unemployment in the townships of South Africa as well as the growing nyaope drug crisis within them. His ongoing projects also address his own life—for example, his project “I Carry Her Photo with Me” examines his relationship with his sister, Ziyanda, who was estranged from her family when she died. In 2017, this project was selected by the Magnum Foundation’s Photography and Social Justice program for further development, and in 2018 Sobekwa received the Magnum Foundation Fund to continue his long–term project “Nyaope,” which has been selected for a residency at La Cité des Arts de la Réunion. Sobekwa became a Magnum nominee in 2018.

Continue reading

Carnegie Hall Unveils Full Schedule of 70+ Events for its Beethoven Celebration in Honor of the 250th Anniversary of the Composer’s Birth, January – June 2020

Carnegie Hall’s Largest-Ever Celebration of One Composer Features More Than 35 Events at the Hall with Internationally Renowned Artists Exploring the Revolutionary Composer’s Works and His Transformative Impact on Music

Plus, 35+ Events Citywide at Prestigious Partner Organizations Including Music, Dance, Exhibitions, Talks, and Poetry

As the 250th anniversary year of Beethoven’s birth approaches, Carnegie Hall announces a wider schedule of partner events by leading cultural institutions, complementing the Hall’s programming as part of its Beethoven Celebration which includes an unprecedented range of performances by renowned artists exploring the composer’s works and his transformative impact on music. The Beethoven Celebration presents one of the largest explorations of the great master’s music in our time and marks the largest-ever exploration of one composer by Carnegie Hall, with 86 works of music performed by more than 58 artists and ensembles in New York City and beyond from January through June 2020. Ticketing Information.

Beyond Carnegie Hall, public programming, performances, exhibitions, and events at partner organizations—leading cultural and academic institutions in New York City and beyond—highlight the many dimensions of the great music master. The more than 35 partner events range from music and dance to poetry, exhibitions, and talks, many of which have a contemporary slant. Together, the Beethoven Celebration features more than 70 programs, creating an extraordinary view of this revolutionary composer.

This rich series of events across New York City celebrates Beethoven’s unique place in the pantheon of the greatest artists in history as a composer whose music, perhaps more than any other, changed the course of Western classical music,” said Clive Gillinson, Executive and Artistic Director of Carnegie Hall. “Beethoven was audacious and absolutely fearless, a true revolutionary who never stopped challenging himself and who redefined every area of music that he touched. His music is timeless, and he continues to connect people worldwide with sounds that remain idealistic, compelling, fearsome, and personal. It’s no surprise that people around the globe continue to turn to his music to celebrate some of the most important turning points in history. We hope this opportunity to immerse ourselves in his music during this anniversary year will highlight the transformational impact he has had on culture, inspiring fresh perspectives on his life and work.”


Anne-Sophie Mutter. Credit: Bastian Achard
Mitsuko Uchida. Credit: Justin Pumfrey / Decca

At Carnegie Hall, the Beethoven Celebration features more than 35 events including two complete symphony cycles, the complete piano sonatas and complete string quartets, chamber music, choral works, plus additional concerts and lectures as well as an ambitious global project that explores the themes found in Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy,” led by Marin Alsop.

A highlight of the Beethoven Celebration—never before presented by Carnegie Hall in one season—are two complete symphony cycles, one in February 2020 by Sir John Eliot Gardiner and his Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique (ORR), performed on period instruments, and another in March and April 2020 by Yannick Nézet-Séguin and The Philadelphia Orchestra, contrasting their two different interpretive perspectives on these pillars of the orchestral repertoire.

Emanuel Ax, Leonidas Kavakos, Yo-Yo Ma – Credit: Shane McCauley
Joyce DiDonato – Credit: © Simon Pauly

A key figure both in the early music revival and as a pioneer of historically informed performances, Sir John Eliot Gardiner leads his internationally acclaimed early music ensemble ORR in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1, along with the rarely-heard score for the ballet, The Creatures of Prometheus (February 19 at 8:00 p.m.). The six-day symphony cycle in Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage continues with the Symphony Nos. 2 and No. 3, “Eroica” (February 20 at 8:00 p.m.); Symphony Nos. 4, and 5—with its famous opening motif—(February 21 at 8:00 p.m.); Symphony No. 6, “Pastoral” and No. 7 (February 23 at 2:00 p.m.); and Symphony Nos. 8 and 9 (February 24 at 8:00 p.m.). The soloists for the Ninth Symphony include soprano Lucy Crowe, contralt Jess Dandy, tenor Ed Lyon, and bass Tareq Nazmi alongside The Monteverdi Choir. As a prelude to the cycle, Maestro Gardiner will be joined by distinguished Beethoven scholar William Kinderman for a discussion in Weill Recital Hall that illuminates Gardiner’s approach to these symphonic masterworks (February 18 at 7:00 p.m.). These Beethoven Celebration events comprise Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s Perspectives series, which the celebrated conductor has curated for the 2019-20 season.

Sir John Eliot Gardiner. Credit: © Sim Canetty-Clarke

One of the most remarkable talents of his generation, Yannick Nézet-Séguin leads The Philadelphia Orchestra in the second complete cycle of Beethoven symphonies this season in Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage, beginning with Symphony Nos. 5 and 6, “Pastoral” (March 13 at 8:00 p.m.). The four-concert cycle continues with Symphony Nos. 2 and 3, “Eroica” (March 20 at 8:00 p.m.); Symphony Nos. 4, 7, and 8 (March 26 at 8:00 p.m.); and Symphony Nos. 1 and 9 (April 3 at 8:00 p.m.). The soloists for the Ninth Symphony include soprano Angel Blue, mezzo-soprano Mihoko Fujimura, tenor Rolando Villazón, and baritone Quinn Kelsey alongside the Westminster Symphonic Choir. Maestro Nézet-Séguin also leads The MET Orchestra in a program that features virtuoso superstar Anne-Sophie Mutter in Beethoven’s groundbreaking Violin Concerto and Romance for Violin and Orchestra in F Major (June 12 at 8:00 p.m.). These five Beethoven Celebration performances are part of conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin’s nine-concert Perspectives series this season.

Joerg Widmann. Photo Credit: Marco Borggreve
Continue reading