20 Must-See Fall Art Events 

click to enlarge Kill Me Loudly, a clown noir

Theater

Kill Me Loudly: A Clown Noir
Triskelion Arts, September 16-25
The latest clown theater production from Fools On Fire is just what it sounds like: a film noir narrative performed by clowns. Beyond manipulating some of our favorite genre conventions (two femme fatales are better than one), director Eric Davis also plays with gender (neither is female, and the token P.I. is a woman), not to mention the familiar subjects and stories of clown performance.

Comme Toujours Here I Stand
The Kitchen, October 1-10
Agnes Varda’s French New Wave classic Cléo from 5 to 7 (about a young singer dreading the results of a recent medical test) serves as the inspiration for Big Dance Theater’s new multimedia work that incorporates the film’s script into a play of moving walls, low-resolution video and colorful projections that aim to fuse theater and cinema.

My Life in a Nutshell
HERE Arts Center, October 8-25
The main actors in this play, something of a melodrama with excerpts from a sex farce, are all life-sized marionettes. Hanne Tierney guides this complex system of roughly 80 strings and joints to tell a story of love triangles and broken hearts overseen by the doting spectre of death.

Titus Andronicus
The Brick Theater, October 9-24
The first entry in DM Theatrics’ irreverent series, Grudge Match: DMT vs. Shakespeare, takes a machete to the Bard’s meaty story of the titular general’s cruelty, tragedy and slow-burning revenge. In their adaptation of this violent grudge match about breaking and subverting the rules of civility and propriety, DMT takes great pleasure in tearing apart the conventions of canonical theater.

The New Electric Ballroom
St. Ann’s Warehouse, October 27-November 22
One of the big winners at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe makes its American premier, offering New Yorkers another opportunity to catch the work of one of the most promising contemporary Irish playwrights, Enda Walsh. He directs Druid Ireland’s production of her story of two spinster sisters growing old in a small fishing village where, every night, they re-enact their wild escapade with a rock star one night in the 60s.

(photo credit: Eric Davis)
click to enlarge Juliette Binoche in In-I

Dance

In-I (pictured)
BAM, September 15-26
The centerpiece of this year’s Next Wave Festival dance cycle is a new evening-length work conceived, directed and performed by French actress Juliette Binoche and choreographer Akram Khan, with a set designed by the sculptor Anish Kapoor. The duo trades hats as they recount the tumultuous course of a love affair, with Khan acting and reacting to Binoche’s movements.

Life (In Progress) II
Dance New Amsterdam, September 16-19 For the second episode of a series begun last year, Bill Young and Colleen Thomas reconfigure the theater to put the audience in the middle of a 70s loft party. Every corner and surface of the theater then becomes a performance space where the 12 artists Young and Thomas have invited stage their individual works, all the while interacting with the larger narrative context of the piece.

Jillian Sweeney
Chocolate Factory Theater, September 23-26
In her latest evening-length solo multimedia work, This Could Be It, Sweeney infuses her movements with video, audio, comedy and storytelling to recount a splintered, self-conscious narrative. As we get to know a character, her psyche begins to splinter between reality, her ideal versions of herself and dark fears of what she might become.

Charlie’s Angels
The Kitchen, October 22-24
It has nothing to do with the classic TV show, but choreographer Jason Samuels Smith’s latest piece does feature three young women responding to the commands of a man named Charlie. This tap dance performance set to the early recordings of Charlie Parker and created according to many of his musical theories features Samuels Smith and three of contemporary tap dance’s leading women: Chloe Arnold, Michelle Dorrance, Dormershia Sumbry-Edwards.

Jessica Gaynor Dance
Triskelion Arts, November 13-15
Gaynor, whose style of choreography melds individual performances with larger ensemble compositions, presents her latest stripped, colorful, evening-length piece, which takes its inspiration from puzzles. Dancers move into and out of formation to J.S. Bach’s Musical Offering, creating a fluid and shifting sense of unity and disjunction.

(photo credit: Tristram Kenton)
click to enlarge Imaginary City at BAM

Classical/Experimental/Opera

Blarvuster + Electric Kulintang
The Kitchen, September 17, 18
These two immensely different groups are in turn defined by a series of unusual and unexpected fusions. Blarvuster, composer Matthew Welch’s sextet, combines post-minimalist compositions, rock and Balinese vocals, with Welch chiming in on the bagpipe. Susie Ibarra and Roberto Rodriguez, as Electric Kulintang, interpret Fillipino musical and folk traditions with electronic instruments, gongs and drum kits.

Imaginary City (pictured)
BAM, October 14-17
An expressive take on American urbanism, Sö Percussion’s latest symphonic ensemble piece immerses the audience in the sounds, sensations and rhythms of soaring cities. The group’s four members use custom-made sampling technologies and found objects fashioned into instruments to evoke streetscapes inspired by the lyrical descriptive passages in Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities against backdrops by video artist Jenise Treuting.

Mozart’s Prague Symphony
New York Philharmonic, November 5-10
Conductor Neeme Järvi returns to the helm of the New York Phil for the first time since 2001 for this performance of the relatively late Mozart Symphony No. 38 (1786), affectionately dubbed “Prague” because the composer premiered it after moving to the city where his work was wildly popular after the huge success of The Marriage of Figaro.

Esther
New York City Opera, November 7-19
Hugo Weisgall’s epic modern political drama returns to the NYC Opera, where it premiered in 1993. In ancient Persia, the title character, a Jewish maiden, courts King Xerxes, whose banished queen seeks revenge while his scheming prime minister plots to have all the nation’s Jews exterminated. It falls to Esther to save both her husband and her people from malevolent plots.

Kepler
BAM, November 18-21
A concert version of Philip Glass’s symphony, which recounts the life and research of Johannes Kepler, the 17th-century scientist who first discovered the laws of planetary motion. Alongside this discovery, Kepler also explores the scientist’s ongoing struggle to reconcile his work and his faith, and the larger context of science’s from medieval mysticism to modern rationalism.

(photo credit: Janette Beckmam)
click to enlarge "you" by Urs Fischer

Art

Dennis Hopper: Signs of the Times
Tony Shafrazi Gallery, September 12-October 24
Though nowadays Hopper seems happy to appear in the most mediocre films, back in the 60s he only hung out with the coolest musicians, actors, filmmakers and artists. In this exhibition of photographs taken between 1960-1967 and organized concurrently with their-long delayed publication, Hopper offers an elegant, sprawling survey of the wildest, hippest and most beautiful people on the scene.

Urs Fischer (work pictured)
The New Museum, October 28-January 24
In creating the first exhibition to occupy all of the museum’s new building, the German installation artist brings together a retrospective of his previous works and a series of new creations. Whether monumental and fascinating objects (giant plush toys slumped on street corners, a 30-foot-tall tree made up of framed drawings), or radical interventions in the gallery space (smashing holes in museum walls, digging through floors to create room-sized pits of dirt) Fischer’s creations are always spectacular and elusive.

Who Shot Rock & Roll: A Photographic History, 1955 to the Present
The Brooklyn Museum, October 30-January 31
More than any genre before it, rock music has depended on photography to spread its sounds, stars and styles across the world. Here, the history and evolution of rock is chronicled in artifacts like shots of stars’ early performances, the full-blown spectacle of stadium concerts, intimate portraits and candid backstage moments, thronging, hysteric crowds and album cover images.

100 Years (version # 1, ps1, nov 2009)
P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, November 1-April 5
On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of The Futurist Manifesto’s publication, P.S.1 and the arts organization Performa co-curated this exhibition in an attempt to chart the history of performance art. One of the newest (and most under-represented) strands of modern art, performance is, by its nature, ephemeral and difficult to trace, catalog and categorize, which is why this survey will be updated and adapted throughout its run.

Roni Horn aka Roni Horn
The Whitney Museum, November 6-January 24
More so than most contemporary artists, Horn’s work is nearly impossible to grasp without a comprehensive retrospective to bring together her photo portraits, glass sculptures, installations, conceptual art, drawings and the ant farm she first placed in a gallery setting in 1975. Undermining conventions of modern art, her work is often witty and minimalist, while her photo series exploring identity, sexuality and androgyny are stark and earnest.

(photo credit: Gavin Brown's enterprise)

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