Film series to accompany “Performance Now” exhibition at H&R Block Artspace

5 September 2013

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Sept. 5, 2013) — The H&R Block Artspace at the Kansas City Art Institute is offering a night film series in connection with the current exhibition, “Performance Now,” which continues through Oct. 12 at the Artspace, 16 E. 43rd St. All programs are free and open to the public.

Sept. 5 — “NV in KC” (2013), a 48-minute-long film by Judith G. Levy, will be screened at 7 p.m. tonight in Epperson Auditorium on the KCAI campus, 4415 Warwick Blvd. “NV in KC: A Story About Artists and Envy in Kansas City,” is Judith G. Levy’s humorous and probing film set in the vibrant art world of present-day Kansas City. Well-known local performers, such as Jaimie Warren, Shannon Michalski, De De DeVille and Erin McGrane appear alongside notable arts leaders, such as Julian Zugazagoitia, Raechell Smith and Sherry Leedy in this diary-like tale about fictional artist Lee J. Ross and her artist friends as they struggle with Ross’s conceptual art project about envy. Music is by Ssion, Kirstin Paludan and Jeff Freling. (Pictured: Judith G. Levy and Jaimie Warren in a scene from "NV in KC."
 
Sept. 11 — “The Music of Regret” (2006), a 40-minute film by Laurie Simmons, will be screened at 7 p.m. tonight in the Studio at the H&R Block Artspace. A mini-musical in three acts starring Meryl Streep, Adam Guettel and the Alvin Ailey II dancers, this 35mm film grew out of distinct periods of Laurie Simmons’ photographic work. In Act I, vintage child-craft puppets enact the pain and regret that erupt between two feuding families. In Act II, a female ventriloquist sings about the failures of attachment and communication to her five dummy suitors. In Act III, walking objects (including a gun, a house, a cake and a pocket watch) dance their encumbered hearts out for the privilege of being noticed.
 
Sept. 18 — A collection of films by Jesper Just and Jérôme Bel will be screened at 7 p.m. tonight in the Studio at the H&R Block Artspace. They include (by Just): “No Man is an Island” (2002, four minutes); “Bliss and Heaven” (2005, eight minutes); “It Will All End in Tears” (2006, 19 minutes); “A Voyage in Dwelling” (2008, 11 minutes); and (by Bel): “Véronique Daisneau” (2009, 32 minutes).
 
Danish-born Just creates works that combine meticulous high-end film production with profound insight into the complexities and contradictions of human condition. Using overlapping cinematic, musical and literary references, his films adopt popular songs to communicate the vulnerability and insecurity in relationships. These short films, all under 10 minutes, appropriate Hollywood’s polished production values but then deviate from the usual narrative story arc in favor of creating a film noir atmosphere rather than a resolved plot. His films comment on gender politics and the possibility of relationships across a generational divide, but more importantly, they present the broader existential search for identity.
 
“Véronique Daisneau,” a performance piece by Bel, embodies theinternal dialogue of a ballerina who finds she is drawing close to the age of retirement. The dance performance shows her alone on stage, considering her career subjectively and reminiscing about her role inside the institution. Commissioned by director Brigitte Lefèvre of the Opera Paris National, Bel staged a type of documentary on the career of one of the dancers in the ballet.
 
Sept. 25 — “I Feel Your Pain” (2011), an 80-minute film by Liz Magic Laser, will be screened at 7 p.m. tonight at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, 1400 Main St. Tickets will be available at the door starting at 6:30 p.m. tonight. Drawing on a variety of agitprop theater tactics, particularly the Russian Constructivist’s “living newspaper,” Magic Laser’s performance restaged America’s recent political contests as romantic drama. Presented in a movie theater, “I Feel Your Pain” took place simultaneously in the midst of the audience and on the cinema’s screen. Eight actors perform a sequence of scenes tracing the progression of a relationship using dialogues adapted from political interviews and press conferences. Borrowing elements from historic “living newspaper” productions, the performance features live voice-overs, pantomime fight scenes and mute commentaries by a clown.
 
About the H&R Block Artspace at the Kansas City Art Institute
Artists. Art. Ideas.

Dedicated to artists, art and ideas since 1999, the H&R Block Artspace at the Kansas City Art Institute presents exhibitions of contemporary art and a range of public programs for a growing audience of students, educators, artists, arts enthusiasts and the general public. Support for these programs has been provided by the Richard J. Stern Foundation for the Arts, H&R Block Foundation and the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency. The Artspace is located at 16 E. 43rd St., one block east of Main Street. Public hours are noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. For more information about the Artspace and public programs, please visit www.kcai.edu/artspace or call 816-561-5563. Admission is always free.