Image Credit: Edgar Arceneaux, Until, Until, Until…, 2015. A Performa Commission. Performance views. Photo by Paula Court.
On the occasion of Edgar Arceneaux’s exhibition Library of Black Lies, the Henry Art Gallery is partnering with LANGSTON for a special screening and panel discussion at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute. As a Gurvich visiting artist, Arceneaux will present the film of his play Until, Until, Until… (2015) which investigates the infamous 1981 performance of Broadway legend Ben Vereen, televised nationally as part of Ronald Regan’s inaugural celebration. Intended as an homage to vaudevillian Bert Williams—America’s first mainstream Black entertainer—the final five minutes of the performance were censored for the television audience, causing Vereen’s biting commentary on the history of segregation and racist stereotypes in performance to be lost on viewers at home. Until, Until, Until… is based on the footage that never aired that night. Originally commissioned by Performa New York, the work is a mise-en-scene of the inaugural party, foregrounding the past and illuminating the enduring presence and impact of history in the present. The piece questions the truth of past narratives, and creates an opportunity to reconsider our collective understanding of historic events.
Following the screening, Arceneaux will participate in a panel discussion moderated by Senior Curator Shamim Momin, with dancer/choreographer Jade Solomon Curtis, director Valerie Curtis-Newton and dancer/creator Randy Ford, to unpack some of the questions and considerations that emerge from the work. Stick around after the panel for an informal reception, including drink and light food, where audience members will have further opportunity to converse with the panelists and one another.This program is in conjunction with Edgar Arceneaux’s time as a Gurvich Contemporary Art Project visiting artist. During his visit, Arceneaux will engage in a range of programs that expand upon themes found within his installation Library of Black Lies and extend his practice into multiple venues across Seattle.
- Edgar Arceneaux (b. 1972, Los Angeles) is an artist working in the media of drawing, sculpture, and performance, whose works often explore connections between historical events and present-day truths. He played a seminal role in the creation of the Watts House Project, a redevelopment initiative to remodel a series of houses around the Watts Towers, serving as director from 1999 to 2012. His work has been featured at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; the Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and Performa 15, New York, among other venues. Arceneaux is also an Associate Professor of Art for Roski School of Art and Design at USC; he lives and works in Pasadena, California.
- Jade Solomon Curtis is a dance artist and choreographer interested in the body as an artifact of memory, space and time. Curtis integrates Black vernacular movements with contemporary dance, innovative technology, and Hip Hop cultural influences. Through the lens of a contemporary Black woman, her works ponder tradition and reinvention, social justice, social constructs as well as intuition and logic- often resulting in the subversion of an idea. She is the Founder & Creative Artistic Director of Solo Magic, a nonprofit arts initiative that collaborates with innovative artists to create socially relevant performances, “Activism is the Muse”.
- Valerie Curtis-Newton is currently the Head of Directing at the University of Washington School of Drama, she also serves as the Founding Artistic Director for The Hansberry Project, a professional African American theatre lab. Valerie has worked with theatre’s across the country including: Seattle Repertory Theatre, The Guthrie Theatre, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Seattle Children’s Theatre, The Mark Taper Forum, New York Theatre Workshop, Capitol Repertory Theatre among others. Awards include: Seattle Times Footlight Award (Best in Show 2016), Stranger Genius Awards in Performance and the Crosscut Courage Award for Culture (2014), Gypsy Rose Lee Award for Excellence in Direction (2012), Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation’s (SDCF) Gielgud Directing Fellowship (2001).
- Randy Ford is a Seattle-born dancer, choreographer, actor, and activist. She grew up learning choreography in her living room from watching music videos as a child. After some time at the University of Washington, she became a member of Seattle’s Au Collective, a collective of artists committed to bringing womxn, queer people, and people of color to the forefront of everything it does. Identifying as a Black non-binary Transfemme, her work continues the conversation about and centering intersectionality. Randy has been featured in Dani Tirrell’s Black Bois, CD Forum’s Showing Out: Contemporary Black Choreographers (2016, 2018), Bumbershoot Festival, and Legendary Children at Seattle Art Museum, among other community events. She’s been recognized on City Arts Magazine’s 2018 Future List and received a SeattleDances 2016 DanceCrush Award.