Eyes Closed/Eyes Open: A Performance by Eiko Otake
Artists Beverly McIver and Ishmael Houston-Jones will perform alongside movement artist Eiko Otake within the exhibition Beverly McIver: Full Circle, moving through the galleries and engaging with the artwork.
Thursday, Sep 1, 2022, 5 p.m.
- Tickets : $30
MEMBER BENEFIT: Members receive 10% off on all tickets to this performance.
About the Event
Join us for the premiere of an intimate, site-specific performance by Eiko Otake for the exhibition Beverly McIver: Full Circle. Artists Beverly McIver and Ishmael Houston-Jones will perform alongside Eiko within the exhibition, moving through the galleries and engaging with the artwork. The audience will be in the galleries amongst the performers for a truly special experience. There will be no seating available for this event, so please plan to be standing or walking for the duration of the performance.
Beverly McIver and Eiko Otake
Eiko Otake first became acquainted with Beverly McIver and her artwork in 2018. The rigorous self-reflection and impermanence of the body depicted in McIver’s paintings, as well as her vigorous brushstrokes, strongly resonated with Eiko. Shortly after, McIver visited Japan to meet Eiko’s mother, but her mother passed away just before McIver’s arrival. McIver was present as Eiko’s family tended to her mother’s body and prepared for the funeral, and she thoughtfully documented the cultural rituals surrounding death during her time in Japan. Throughout this process, McIver found that mourning and grief spans cultures, and although it may look slightly different, experiencing grief is a commonality amongst all cultures. McIver’s paintings depicting this intimate experience helped Eiko reflect more deeply about her mother’s death. McIver and Eiko have since created performances together—inspired by the work that McIver created from her time in Japan with Eiko and her family—including most recently at Duke University in 2019. Several of these paintings are included in the exhibition Beverly McIver: Full Circle.
The presentation of Eyes Closed/Eyes Open: A Performance by Eiko Otake was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This performance is in conjunction with Beverly McIver: Full Circle, additional support provided by National Endowment for the Arts.
About the artists
Born and raised in Japan and a resident of New York since 1976, Eiko Otake is a movement-based, interdisciplinary artist. She worked for more than 40 years as Eiko & Koma, but since 2014 has been working on her own projects.
Eiko & Koma created numerous performance works, exhibitions, durational “living” installations, and media works commissioned by American Dance Festival, BAM Next Wave Festival, the Whitney Museum, the Walker Art Center, and the Museum of Modern Art, among others.
Eiko has performed her solo project A Body in Places at more than 70 sites, including a month-long Danspace Project PLATFORM (2016) and three full-day performances at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (2017). In 2017, she launched The Duet Project, a multi-year, open-ended series of experiments with a diverse range of artists, both living and dead. For the occasion of the 20-year anniversary of 9/11, Eiko presented her monologue Slow Turn, which was commissioned by NYU Skirball and co-presented by LMCC and Battery Park City.
Since 2014, Eiko and photographer historian William Johnston visited irradiated Fukushima several times to create tens of thousands of photographs of her dancing there. In addition to presenting exhibitions, the book A Body in Fukushima was published in 2021, and Eiko edited a film of the same name, which premiered at MoMA’s Doc Fortnight 2022. She has created many dance-for-camera works and presented video installations and screenings.
Eiko has been the recipient of many awards, including the MacArthur Fellowship, Doris Duke Award, Scripps American Dance Festival Award, and a Bessie’s Special Citation. She teaches at Wesleyan University, New York University, and Colorado College.
Ishmael Houston-Jones is a choreographer, performer, author, educator, and curator. His improvised dance and text work has been performed worldwide. He has received four New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Awards for his work.
In addition to his choreographic and performance projects, Houston-Jones has curated two multi-week platforms at Danspace Project in New York; he curated Platform 2012: Parallels that examined Black dance makers and Postmodernism and co-curated with Will Rawls Platform 2016: Lost and Found that investigated the effect of the loss of a generation of artists from HIV/AIDS in the 1980s and 1990s has had on work made by young queer artists today. He also serves as curator of Draftwork at Danspace, an afternoon series of works-in-progress. He is a board member emeritus at Danspace Project, and is chairman of the Board of Movement Research in New York.
Houston-Jones’s performance work has been supported by awards, grants, and fellowships from USArtists (2021), The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation (2018), Alpert Awards in the Arts (2016), Doris Duke Charitable Trust (2015), Foundation for Contemporary Arts (2013), and Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (2013).
In 1998, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art organized Beverly McIver’s first solo exhibition in the Southwest United States, presenting the emerging artist to a new audience in Scottsdale. McIver’s reputation as an artist was confined largely to her home state of North Carolina until she moved to Arizona to teach at Arizona State University. It was during this time that Kim Boganey, then a SMoCA staff member, first met McIver while assisting the artist with the organization of her solo exhibition. From that point, they began a professional relationship and personal friendship based on their joint pursuit, as women of color, of nontraditional careers in the arts.
Since then, McIver has become a respected and recognizable artist within the national art scene. She has accumulated more awards and honors than many artists receive in a lifetime, which she pays forward by teaching younger generations about the power of art and the hard work it takes to make it a career. There are numerous artists today who credit McIver for their professional achievements.
McIver grew up in Greensboro, North Carolina, as one of three daughters—including her sister, Renee, who has developmental disabilities—of a single mother who worked multiple domestic jobs to make ends meet. The artist’s paintings are reminders to herself and her audience of the journey she endured in order to understand the many aspects that collectively shape her identity. The images are also powerful statements about larger issues that affect and challenge everyone, including stereotypes, self-acceptance, family, otherness, illness, death, and, ultimately, freedom to express one’s individuality.
McIver’s work can be found in the collections of the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian, the North Carolina Museum of Art, the Weatherspoon Art Museum, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Nelson Fine Arts Center Art Museum at Arizona State University, and the Mint Museum, to name a few. McIver is the Ebenshade Professor of the Practice in Studio Arts at Duke University, and prior to this appointment, taught at Arizona State University for 12 years. Recent honors include a yearlong residency at the American Academy in Rome, where she was featured in Beverly McIver e il colore nero, a documentary for Italian television. In 2017, she received the lifetime achievement award from the Anyone Can Fly Foundation in a ceremony hosted by Faith Ringgold. McIver was named one of the “Top Ten in Painting” in Art in America in 2011.