Correspondence Table is a program organized in conjunction with Laurel Sparks’ FiftyTwo Ft. commission titled Quad Relay. Sparks and sound artist Shawn E. Hansen maintain a collaboration that explores correspondences between sound, poetry, chance and visual systems. The artists will discuss their methods of using mathematical poetry, dice, string figures, sound and symbols to generate unpredictable structures. They will screen an excerpt from a video-in-progress that combines Hansen’s related sound and photos with their collaborative poems. The evening will conclude with a live sound performance by Hansen using historic Just Intonation and immersive drone systems to translate elements from Quad Relay.
About FiftyTwo Ft: Laurel Sparks
Quad Relay by Laurel Sparks is the most recent work in Knockdown Center’s FiftyTwo Ft. series of commissioned wall-based artworks in the East Corridor. Quad Relay is the artist’s largest work to date, and its compositional logic is derived from the sestina, a complex form of mathematical poetry structured by six stanzas organized in numbered sequences. Sparks assigns points and directional lines specific colors, numbers, and elements according to the sestina’s structure, creating a self-generating algorithm that determines the painting’s geometric tableaux. An irregular grid underlies the composition, producing an almost kinetic, shimmering presence akin to dazzle camouflage, refusing fixed identity and yielding instead to perceptual flux. Learn more about the work here.
About the presenters
Shawn E Hansen is a composer, improviser, phonographer, and piano technician. His main instruments include synthesizer, organ, piano, and saxophone. He is the 2018 Charlotte Street Performing Arts Fellow. Practicing his own style of Great-Plains hermetic art known as Tangential Assertivism, he performs with Neal Wilson (L.A.), Chris Forsyth (PA), Laurel Sparks (NY), and makes films with Cyrus Console. Tangential Assertivism is the practice of observing the relationship between disparate thought-objects placed in close proximity spatially or temporally. Shawn runs KJEA-radio, a transmitted conceptual space first broadcast in 1984. He studied with Maryanne Amacher, Richard Teitelbaum, George Lewis, and Pauline Oliveros at Bard in 2001.
Laurel Sparks is a Brooklyn-based painter whose work embodies geometric symbol systems and the transmitting potential of pattern and materiality. She holds an MFA from Bard College and a BFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and Tufts University in Boston, MA. Her exhibitions include solo shows at Kate Werble, NYC and group shows at Cheim and Read NYC; LX, NYC; Franklin Street Works, Stamford, CT; Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, NYC; Barbara Walters Gallery at Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY; Berman Museum at Ursinus College, Collegeville, PA; Elizabeth Foundation Gallery, NYC; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA, Hessel Museum of Art, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY; DeCordova Museum, Lincoln, MA; and Art In General, NYC.
Postponed: Due to rising concerns amid the COVID-19 virus, Knockdown Center will be temporarily closed to the public. It is with a heavy heart that we announce this news, however, we hope that this measure will ensure the safety of our staff and guests. Please check back for updates on rescheduled dates.
Pixelated Petals is an evening organized in conjunction with the exhibition Dakota Gearhart: The Sextant of the Rose. Through lecture, video, and performance, Eva Davidova, Mo Kong, and Cori Olinghouse will unravel some of the conceptual threads within Gearhart’s exhibition like environmental collapse, digital and material promiscuity, and embodied absurdity.
Interdisciplinary artist Eva Davidova will give a short presentation of her VR and animation works, which use interactivity and mythological characters to address ecological disaster, cruelty and manipulation of information. Artist Mo Kong is propelled by scientific research and often addresses environmental collapse. Kong will present See Sun, and Think the Shadow (2017), a video of accumulated imagery of sinkholes and earthly openings. Embodying a humor-driven and queer performance practice, artist Cori Olinghouse performs a selection of new and returning characters in dialogue with Gearhart’s installation.
About the exhibition Dakota Gearhart: The Sextant of the Rose investigates beauty as economic capital through the ubiquitous figure of the rose, speculating on whether the rose may have a hidden evolutionary agenda of its own. This exhibition, the artist’s first solo presentation in New York, features a new series of video-sculptures that incorporate psychedelic videos as well as living and dying roses to create an immersive world that viewers can become submerged within.
About the presenters
Eva Davidova is a Spanish/Bulgarian interdisciplinary artist with focus on new media(s), information, and their socio-political implications. The issues of her work—behavior, cruelty, ecological disaster and manipulation of information emerge as paradoxes rather than assumptions, in an almost fairy-tale fashion. Davidova has exhibited at the Bronx Museum, the Everson Museum the Albright Knox Museum, MACBA Barcelona, CAAC Sevilla, Instituto Cervantes Sofia, La Regenta and Circulo de Bellas Artes Madrid among others.
Mo Kong is a multidisciplinary artist, researcher.They have been the subject of solo exhibition at CUE Art Foundation, Artericambi Gallery, Gertrude Gallery and Chashama. Their work has been included in Queens Museum, RISD Museum,SFMOMA, Minnesota Street Project, Spring Break, ARTISSIMA, Make Room Gallery and Rubber Factory Gallery. They also received fellowship/residency from Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture, Triangle art association,Mass Moca Studio,Vermont Studio Center, Gibney Performance Center and AAI. Their work mentioned in Hyperallergic, Artforum, Cultured magazine, Artnews, CoBo Social, Wall street International, SFMoMA Public Knowledge.
Cori Olinghouse is an interdisciplinary artist, archivist, and curator, who received her MA in Performance Curation from Wesleyan University. Olinghouse performed for the Trisha Brown Dance Company for several years and participated in a dancing dialogue with theatrical clown and actor Bill Irwin, researching a variety of improvisation forms that explore shape-shifting and transformation. Her performance works have been commissioned by BRIC Arts Media, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Danspace Project, New York Live Arts, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and Movement Research. Last year, she collaborated with video artist Charles Atlas on a moving image installation of Trisha Brown’s archival materials for “Judson Dance Theater: The Work is Never Done,” at the Museum of Modern Art. In 2017 she founded The Portal, a curatorial platform dedicated to reimagining the archiving and contextualizing of performance practices and embodied histories in motion. She serves as visiting faculty at the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College.
Due to rising concerns amid the COVID-19 virus, the Disease Thrower performance has been postponed. It is with a heavy heart that we announce this news, however, we hope that this measure will ensure the safety of our staff and guests. Please check the website for updates on the rescheduling of Maravilla’s performance. The wellbeing of our guests and staff is our top priority as we continuously monitor the situation.
Knockdown Center is pleased to present Disease Thrower, a newly commissioned performance by Guadalupe Maravilla, presented in partnership with The Chocolate Factory Theater. Maravilla’s practice, which spans sculpture, drawing, and performance, draws heavily on autobiography to address the larger context of the immigrant experience within increasingly repressive and abusive systems. Disease Thrower lives between an immersive mini-opera and an invented healing ritual, and addresses the artist’s experience as an unaccompanied child immigrant escaping El Salvador to the United States, the subsequent intestinal cancer he endured, and his healing methods. For this performance, new mythologies will be created as the artist transforms Knockdown Center into a space for storytelling, choreographed rituals, and healing.
Under the embrace of a purple cloud, Knockdown Center’s expansive Main Space will be populated by totemic objects, a suite of gongs, a revving motorcycle, and a cast of otherworldly characters. The performance will incorporate one of Maravilla’s signature Disease Thrower shrine sculptures that operate simultaneously as an artwork, an instrument, and, for the first time as part of this performance, as a headdress worn by the artist. A mix of returning and new characters conceived by Maravilla — from metaphysical snail border crossers and an operatic singer named La Momia to a troupe of masked, mourning quinceañerxs — will fill the Main Space. Disease Thrower is accompanied by a live score by the Mexico City-based electro-drama band La Rubia te Besa, composed in collaboration with Maravilla. Following the performance, the audience will have an opportunity to commune and dance to a concert-style show by La Rubia te Besa.
Disease Thrower is the third and final work of a performance trilogy based on Maravilla’s autobiography. The first chapter, titled The OG of Undocumented Children, performed at the Whitney Museum, NY, in 2018, relayed the story of how Maravilla became an undocumented and unaccompanied child immigrant. The second chapter, Walk on Water, performed at the Queens Museum, NY, in 2019, focused on Maravilla’s past as an undocumented immigrant, the deportations his family endured, and his methods for healing.
The personal experience Maravilla details in Disease Thrower echoes that of many immigrants, and highlights the lingering and internalized effects of this kind of journey and lived reality, calling attention to the body as a site where systemic abuse manifests. Sonic elements will envelop the audience within a resonant environment of collective ritual intended to help cleanse the body of phobias and create a space for healing. Knockdown Center will vibrate with the sounds of gongs and motorcycle engines, reverberations intended to shake free the audience members’ bodies of their own invisible, deep-seated traumas.
Disease Thrower marks the inaugural commission in the Knockdown Center Propeller series, which supports artists in the production of ambitious new works made specifically for Knockdown Center’s unique spatial context.
About Guadalupe Maravilla
Guadalupe Maravilla was part of the first wave of undocumented children to come to the US from Central America. The artist immigrated from El Salvador alone at age eight to escape the Salvadorian Civil War, and became a US citizen at twenty-seven. In 2016, as a gesture of solidarity with his undocumented father, who uses Maravilla as a last name in his fake identity, Maravilla changed his birth name Irvin Morazan to Guadalupe Maravilla.
Maravilla creates fictionalized performances, videos, sculptures and drawings that incorporate his pre-colonial Central American ancestry, personal mythology, and autobiography. Through a multidisciplinary studio practice, Maravilla traces the history of his own displacement, interrogates the parallels between pre-Columbian cultures and our border politics.
Maravilla has performed and presented work extensively in venues such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Institute of Contemporary Art Miami, Queens Museum, Bronx Museum, El Museo Del Barrio, MARTE (El Salvador), Central America Biennial X (Costa Rica), XI Nicaragua Biennial, Performa 11 & 13, Fuse-Box Festival, Exit Art, Smack Mellon, Rubin Foundation, the Drawing Center and the ICA/VCU in Richmond, Virginia. Maravilla has upcoming projects at the 2020 Guatemala Biennial, Site Santa Fe, Phoenix Art Museum, and São Paulo Museum of Art (Brazil). Maravilla has been awarded the Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship 2019, Soros Fellowship: Art Migration and Public Space 2019, Map fund 2019, Creative Capital Grant 2016, Franklin Furnace 2018, Joan Mitchell Emerging Artist Grant 2016, among many others. Maravilla has been featured in the NY Times, Brooklyn Rail, the Guardian, Art Forum and many other publications. Maravilla’s work has been collected privately and by the Institute of Contemporary Art Miami, Deutsche Bank, MoMA, and Whitney Museum of American Art.
About La Rubia te Besa
La Rubia te Besa is a multifaceted music project proclaimed as ‘electrodrama’, where keyboards, guitar, bass, percussion and digital sound processors propose a pastiche of prominent references to instrumental pop culture (soundtracks, hymns, popular melodies, ringtones, etc.). The band, formed in 2013 (Mexico City) by members of different creative profiles (not formally trained musicians), bases its name on an imaginary aphorism that comes from an inescapable unconscious voice, an eternal submission to the canonical seduction.
About Knockdown Center Propeller Series Guadalupe Maravilla: Disease Thrower is the inaugural commission of the Knockdown Center Propeller series, a commissioning program designed to support artists in the production and presentation of ambitious new works in Knockdown Center’s expansive Main Space. Responding to Knockdown Center’s unique architectural context and programmatic mission, the series is designed to support new site-specific work by artists who have not yet had the opportunity to extend their practice by significantly scaling up. The program furthers Knockdown Center’s mission to present innovative new projects by artists making ambitious, risk-taking, and boundary-crossing work.
About The Chocolate Factory Theater
Since its first season in 2005, The Chocolate Factory Theater has supported the development and presentation of new work by a community of local, national and international artists working in dance, theater, and interdisciplinary performance. The Chocolate Factory’s programs have drawn many thousands of new visitors to its 5,000 square foot industrial facility in Long Island City, Queens. The organization recently purchased a permanent facility in the neighborhood.
Disease Thrower is commissioned by Knockdown Center and presented in partnership with The Chocolate Factory Theater. Commissioning support also provided by The MAP Fund. Support also provided by the Franklin Furnace Fund supported by Jerome Foundation, The SHS Foundation, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
Soft Power is a performance that combines traditional Polish dance and experimental music by Felicita. The evening will begin with a performance by Speaker Music (DeForrest Brown, Jr.), titled a Black rhythm happening to fill a crease.
Originally from London, Shanghai-based Felicita works with fractured sounds. Soft Power was originally commissioned by Unsound, in collaboration with traditional dancers from Śląsk Song and Dance Ensemble, the oldest and most renowned company of its kind in Poland. This unique work synthesizes traditional choreography and costume with new music to create a hypnotic multimedia experience. The concept stems from Felicita’s childhood education in traditional dance, and explores folk culture, national identity, tourism, branding, illusion, and farce. The music itself is a fusion of Polish folk, noise, trap and chamber music, and was released last year by PC Music, fitting beside releases by the likes of SOPHIE and Danny L Harle.
As Ben Ben-Beaumont Thomas wrote in The Guardian: “Folk dances, involving lots of twirling around and dramatised romance, are paired with plangent piano melodies, scorched ambient noise and, most incongruously, wild synthetic pop. Despite (or rather because of) the aesthetic clashes, it hangs together in a supremely atmospheric whole. Devised in the wake of Brexit, it’s a stirring affirmation of how cultures can coexist while retaining their own voices.”
The evening will begin with a set by Speaker Music (DeForrest Brown, Jr.) titled “a Black rhythm happening to fill a crease,” a new improvised composition expanding on the lush ensemble energy music found in his debut album of desire, longing (Planet Mu, 2019). Referencing free jazz trumpeter Eddie Gales’ culturally noteworthy 1969 album Black Rhythm Happening, Speaker Music probes further into the sonic narratives of African American expression towards a novel rhythmic and romantic abstraction of vibration and frequency.
Speaker Music is a digital audio and extended media praxis by New York-based rhythmanalyst DeForrest Brown, Jr. His work is concerned with speculative futures in performative contexts and programmatic intersections of technology and thought. He is a representative of the Make Techno Black Again campaign, and his most recent writing can be found in Artforum, Hyperallergic and Afropunk. In 2020, Brown, Jr. will publish a book related to a talk given at Unsound Kraków, entitled “Assembling a Black Counter-Culture” with Primary Information.
Note: this show was originally part of the Unsound New York 2019 lineup, and had to be moved to this date due to unforeseen reasons.
Organized in collaboration with the Adam Mickiewicz Institute as part of the Polska Music program and POLSKA 100, the international cultural program celebrating the centenary of Poland regaining independence.
Financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland as part of the multi-annual programme NIEPODLEGŁA 2017–2022
Join Facility magazinein celebrating the release of their inaugural issue — in the bathroom. Facility, the magazine that views society through the lens of the bathroom, is taking over one of Knockdown Center’s all-gender, wheelchair-accessible restrooms for a night of readings, installations, a special Facility-themed cocktail, and more.
Heather Johnson & Svetlana Kitto
Facility treats the bathroom as a small but interesting window through which to view the world. Issue 1 includes: an interview with plumbers, bath riots on the El Paso-Juárez border, the origins of sex-segregated bathrooms, urine drinking, a history of fluorescent lighting, plus reviews of pills, ductwork, glycerin, and mirrors — and much more.
Join us for an evening with performers and scholars who will engage and unpack some of the central concepts, approaches, and artworks contained in the exhibition Xandra Ibarra: Forever Sidepiece. Through lecture, performance, and song, Amber Jamilla Musser, Amelia Bande, and Keijaun Thomas will expand upon the critical conversations that Ibarra’s dynamic work across mediums brings forward.
Scholar Amber Jamilla Musser will walk the audience through the video Untitled Fucking (2013), a collaborative work made by Xandra Ibarra and artist Amber Hawk Swanson, weaving together critical analysis and personal anecdotes of lessons learned from Ibarra’s body of work. Writer and performer Amelia Bande will present a combination of song and text based on personal anecdotes that exercise a sidepiece methodology while drawing out strategies of humor as mode of critique. The evening will conclude with performer Keijaun Thomas, who will present a work in progress that resonates with Ibarra’s engagement with embodiment, excess, and material slippages.
About the Exhibition Xandra Ibarra: Forever Sidepiece is the first NYC solo exhibition of Oakland-based artist and performer Xandra Ibarra, who also works under the alias La Chica Boom. The exhibition is rooted in Ibarra’s performance practice, extending to sculpture, video, and photographs made between 2012 and 2019, some of which will be on view for the first time. Charged objects like Tapatío bottles, nipple tassels, and cockroaches reappear throughout her work to confront notions of racialized desire and representations of Latinidad, femininity, and queerness.
About the Presenters Amelia Bande is a Brooklyn-based artist, writer and performer from Chile. Her work has been shown at Artists Space, The Poetry Project, Storm King Arts Center, Tang Museum, MoMA Library, MIX NYC, Participant, Inc and more. She has been an artist in residence The Shandaken Project, Yaddo and FIAR. Her chapbook The Clothes We Wear was published by Belladonna in 2017. Amelia teaches Spanish at CUNY and NYU.
Amber Jamilla Musser is Associate Professor of American Studies at George Washington University and the author of Sensational Flesh: Race, Power, and Masochism (NYU, 2014) and Sensual Excess: Queer Femininity and Brown Jouissance, which was published by NYU Press in November.
Keijaun Thomas creates live performances and multimedia installations that oscillate between movement and materials that function as tools, objects and structures, as well as a visual language that can be read, observed, and repeated within spatial, temporal, and sensorial environments. Her work investigates the histories, symbols, and images that construct notions of Black identity within black personhood. Thomas examines, deconstructs, and reconstructs notions of visibility, hyper-visibility, passing, trespassing, eroticized, and marginalized representations of the black body in relation to disposable labor, domestic service, and notions of thingness amongst materials — her work investigates the histories, symbols, and images that construct notions of Black identity within Black personhood. Thomas earned their Masters degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Thomas has presented work nationally and internationally in Los Angeles and Palo, Alto, CA; Portland, OR; Portland, ME; Chicago, IL; Saugatuck, MI; Steuben, WI; Boston and Cambridge, MA; New York, NY; Miami, FL; and Taipei, Taiwan; Paris, France; Mexico City, Mexico; Santiago, Chile; Istanbul, Turkey; Beirut, Lebanon; Kuopio, Finland, Saskatchewan and Vancouver, Canada; and the United Kingdom.
We are currently seeking proposals for Group Exhibitions in our gallery space, Solo Projects + Installations in our gallery space, and short-term Main Spaces Projects!
Review the guidelines for open calls for gallery exhibitions and projects in our main spaces, and apply by October 21, 2019! We are also accepting proposals on a rolling basis for Open Capacity – our space support program for artists and organizers.
Take a look at our proposal page for full details and guidelines.
Join us for the closing of A Continuous Stream of Occurrence, with a sound intervention by Roarke Menzies, who will be engaging Luba Drozd’s installation.
Roarke Menzies is a New York City-based artist and musician who incorporates his voice, mouth and body with audio tools and toys to create electronic and electroacoustic works. His music has been described by The New Yorkeras “a layered electronic throb, coming and going, always enhancing but never overpowering.”
Menzies’s work has been presented at the Material Art Fair in Mexico City, the Spring Break Art Show in New York City, the Untitled Art Fair in Miami, VOLUME in Los Angeles, Quiet City in Vancouver, CHANNEL in Toronto, and many other venues. His music has also been presented on KCHUNG Radio, KFFP Freeform Portland, WNYU’s Bentwave FM, and on BBC Radio 3 as part of the series “New Year New Music: exploring iconic masterpieces, avant-garde experiments and the next generation of talent.”
About the exhibition A Continuous Stream of Occurrence is an exhibition that brings together the works of Luba Drozd and William Lamson to explore how time manifests in natural and physical phenomena. The artists have created site-specific, time-based works that modify Knockdown Center’s gallery space into an uncertain laboratory, where architecture, light, piano cords, copper, salts, and glass create an ever-evolving environment that unveils time as materially constructed. By focusing on sound and vibration, or on crystallization and geological transformation, the exhibition invites visitors to experience the sensory elements that make up these living systems.