Category Archives: Featured Events

WESTFEST 2021
ON-SITE & ONLINE
Dance Festival

WestFest is a cutting edge, curated dance festival presenting established and emerging movement artists. This year’s online festival includes two different one-hour programs hosted via a zoom link found at www.westfestdance.com. Following our site-specific format, each choreographer will present their work in a site they have chosen. Join us as we tour the world, from Arizona to Switzerland, in the comfort and safety of your own home.

More information at www.westfestdance.com

Join us May 1st and 2nd for this year’s live-streamed productions with the wonderful TruDee as our EMCEE.

Program A – Saturday, May 1st – 4PM EST
BOiNK! Dance & Film
Martha Graham II
Zachary Frazee
Rachael Lieblein-Jurbala
Madison wada
Emily Laird

Program B – Sunday, May 2nd – 4PM EST
Carol Nolte/Dance Collective
Rush Johnston Kaleid Dance Collective
Dual Rivet
Anne Goldberg-Baldwin
Pauline Gervais
Mira Göksel
Catherine Gallant

Registration: FREE

Viewing Link: www.westfestdance.com
Time: 4PM EST
Running Time: 1 hour

CONTACT: production@westfestdance.com

WestFest 2021 is produced under the auspices of the Westbeth Artists’ Residents Council. westbeth.org

Check Out WestFest Dance Festival 2020

NY1 News Feature on Westbeth’s 50th Anniversary
April 13, 2021

Haven for artists celebrates 50 years with a look back at its history

PUBLISHED 6:00 AM ET Apr. 13, 2021
By Roger Clark Manhattan

Playwright, visual artist and landscape architect Christina Maile has lived in the same three-bedroom duplex apartment since 1970, when she first moved in with her then husband who is a painter. Their son was there, too, and another one on the way.
The apartment is within the Westbeth Artists’ Housing complex, developed in the late 1960s as affordable housing and studio units for artists and their families.

What You Need To Know

Westbeth Artists’ Housing was conceived in the 1960s to provide affordable housing and studios for artists and their families

It officially welcomed the first residents in 1970

It is named for the corner of West and Bethune Streets where it is located in the West Village

There is a waiting list to live in Westbeth, but the list is currently closed

It was named for West and Bethune Streets, which is just one corner of the complex that takes up a whole city block, originally made up of 13 buildings dating back to the 1860s and once home to Bell Laboratories. Maile says the neighborhood then was much different than the trendy area is has become today.
“No one knew where Westbeth was. We would have to explain to people exactly where this was located: it was dark, it was dirty, it was a lot of unconventional people and it was, in a way, kind of the perfect place to have artists’ housing,” said Maile.
Westbeth is looking back on its history in an exhibition called “Westbeth at 50,” which includes some of its notable residents and those who have shown or performed there. Among the highlights is a poster from a show of Artist Keith Haring’s work in 1981. There are also photos in the courtyard area by Frankie Alduino giving folks a glimpse of what it’s like to live and work here.
“People can come through and say, ‘I always wondered what it would be like to live at Westbeth, what does it look like?’” said Ellen Salpeter, president and CEO of Westbeth.
New residents do move into Westbeth, though the waiting list is long and currently closed. Christina Maile says it wasn’t always perfect harmony. All of these artists, musicians, and writers had to learn to live together. Looking back on her time here, she couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.
“Living in a community that’s vibrant and has creative people and even some of them can be maddening and can cause you a lot of irritation, but this kind of society of artists is really wonderful for someone who is an artist,” said Maile.
Westbeth says their goal is to continue this concept into the next half-century, and ensure that there remains a home for artists to create in an everchanging city.

Elisabeth Condon
Florida Contemporary exhibit


Florida Contemporary, organized by Artis—Naples, The Baker Museum, aims to recognize great artistic talent springing from all corners of the state. This invitational exhibition features the work of three distinguished women artists worthy of national attention: Elisabeth Condon (b. 1959), Lilian Garcia-Roig (b. 1966) and Carrie Sieh (b. 1978). Based in Tampa, Tallahassee and Miami respectively, these artists have widely exhibited their art both nationally and internationally. The exhibition contextualizes their interpretations of artistic traditions using various materials and techniques within general contemporary artistic trends, and it also highlights their individual artistic concerns and merits.

These three artists’ creations push artistic limits as they explore the potential of materials and techniques, as well as emotional and cerebral landscapes.

A recipient of numerous national grants, including a 2018 Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors grant, Elisabeth Condon employs a level of abstraction and figuration that defies straightforward interpretation. She does so while simultaneously referencing and breaking away from Modernist abstraction and revealing her admiration for traditional Chinese ink painting.

More about the exhibit HERE


Interview with Elisabeth Corden
Miami ShoutOUt

Elisabeth Condon. Photo Kale Roberts

Excerpt

Hi Elisabeth, how do you think about risk?

Risk is a metric of commitment, containing life force within its demand to leap into the unknown. Returning to school in LA after a hiatus of hanging out at nightclubs, choosing SAIC’s multidisciplinary program in Chicago for my MFA, moving to New York because that’s where I wanted to live, accepting a professorship at the University of South Florida, and traveling to China for six months at the Swatch Art Peace Hotel are risks that have rewarded me with cultural and aesthetic influences that shape and inspire my work.

In early 2019 I stopped everything I was doing in the studio to devote eight months painting on rice paper with calligraphy ink. Suspending color for black ink felt like an enormous risk. While I wanted to understand ink and brush painting more directly, I wondered if learning a language I could never fully understand was a form of cultural co-optation.

In New York I live four blocks from the Highline, making the Whitney and Highline our first destinations after espresso and avocado toast at the corner bistro, Malaparte. Take the A to Wave Hill’s gardens and galleries in Riverdale to draw majestic trees on the front lawn and the tropical plants in the greenhouse. Visit Westbeth Gallery in the historic building where I live, as well as The Clemente Solo Velez Center for Art, where I work. Galleries everywhere, on the Lower East Side, Chelsea, Midtown, and Bushwick. New York is a walking town, filled with surprises everywhere, so it’s impossible to go wrong

Read the entire interview HERE

Winners: Christina Maile and Fran Markover, plus a story by Jack Dowling

Due to the pandemic and the cancellation of the reading, the winning entries by Christina Maile and Fran Markover and Jack Dowling’s story are published here as excerpts and as downloadable pdf files.

CHRISTINA MAILE

is a printmaker, writer and landscape architect. She grew up in Bed Stuy and belonged to a gang called the Halsey Bops. A past winner of the Miriam Chaikin Writing Award, she has also been the recipient of a Pollock Krasner Grant and a Joan Mitchell Studio Grant.

Here are the four stories that won the Prose award.

ISOLATION
I didn’t know the quarantine was getting to me until one day I woke up and discovered that the legendary 20th century American abstract expressionist painter, Joan Mitchell, who died in 1992, had become my roommate.
Read the complete story, Isolation, here.

BOOZE
Whenever my parents gave birthday parties for me or my sisters and brothers, my grandmother did the cooking, my mother cleaned the house, and my father, when the time came, would plunk down in the center of the white tablecloth a big bottle of Four Roses whiskey.
Read the complete story, Booze, here.

HANAHAKI
In the beginning, the doctors told me that although it was persistent, it was a mild case. The initial symptom is a slight cough, caused by the tendrils of longing and hope that begin to flourish at the back of the throat. Gently, the first petal unfolds on my tongue.
Read the complete story, Hanahaki, here.

SKIN
The gravel road cuts through the skin of the jungle taking us from the port city at the edge of the Caribbean to a grand 19th century colonial house standing alone in a clearing of gardenias and palms.
Read the complete story, Skin, here.

FRAN MARKOVER

I learned about the Westbeth community of artists from an artist cousin who lives nearby in New York City. My poems have been published in journals including Rattle, Calyx, Able Muse, Karamu, among others. I was one of the finalists for the Henry Morgenthau III First Book Poetry Prize for my upcoming book, How Soft the Letting Go. And I have a chapbook, History’s Trail, published by Finishing Line Press. I have been a poetry resident, as well, at the Constance Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts.

Here is the first of fifteen poems that won the Poetry award.

Why I Plant Sunflowers

Because I’d watch my grandfather lose himself
summers among the tall plants. He studied them,
a school boy memorizing the past, urging seeds─
vaxn gezunt, grow well. Because I picture him
among gold-waving faces, lifting me up to the
hardiest flower. Francinooski, he’d shout, schane
maidele
. As we twirled, my braids swung like
thick ropes.

Because gardening was his salvation, he left uncut
the fullest blooms for siblings whose names he’d
buried in unmarked plots. Because I imagine how
the brothers played hide & seek behind sunflowers
that lit fields, how the boys severed stems, plucked
and cupped seeds, scattered them on a table like gem-
stones. And the petals. How tightly they held, how
soft the letting go.

Read all fifteen poems here.

JACK DOWLING

After a successful career as a visual artist, Jack Dowling devoted himself to writing. He is a past winner of the Miriam Chaikin Writing Award. As Westbeth’s visual arts chair for some fourteen years, he lent his considerable curatorial skills to the shows at Westbeth’s Gallery—and he continued to help artists exhibit their work through the years. Sadly Jack passed away in February 2021 at age 89. This is the final story he wrote.

In Memoriam: Jack’s final story.

RICHARD
I glanced out of my bank of studio windows to watch the snow, which had started falling as a light dusting in early afternoon but was now drifting down in thick white flower-shaped flakes as evening set in.
I decided that a bar in the Village would be the perfect place to sit at a window, beer in hand, and watch the storm. I trusted that my aged pickup truck, a California native, would not balk at the cold and refuse to start. After a number of grinding turn-overs, the engine gave in and started; gratefully, I drove south to Greenwich Village.

Read the complete story, Richard, here.

The Miriam Chaikin Endowment Fund was established in memory of Miriam Chaikin, a longtime Westbeth resident and prolific writer. Born in Palestine, Chaikin grew up in Brooklyn, and her childhood memories and life in a close-knit Jewish community are all themes represented in her writing. She worked earlier in her career as an editor of literature for young people, and most of her books are intended for them. Later in her life she published books of poetry about aging and beauty based on the haiku format.

Every year, a call for writing from the Endowment produces submissions from all over the country, which are then selected by the Endowment committee. The award is an honorarium of $500 and a public reading.

Lorraine O’Grady:
Both/And
four decade retrospective

Lorraine O’Grady: Both/And
March 5–July 18, 2021

Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, 4th Floor

#LorraineOGradyBKM
Lorraine O’Grady: Both/And is the first retrospective of one of the most significant contemporary figures working in performance, conceptual, and feminist art.

The exhibition features twelve of the major projects O’Grady has produced over her four-decade career and also debuts a much-anticipated new installation. In addition to works presented in the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, five of O’Grady’s projects are installed in collection galleries throughout the Museum, highlighting the artist’s long engagement with art historical omissions and institutional failings related to the creative agency of those excluded from the canon. O’Grady’s radical revisionism of the 1980s and 1990s anticipated themes that have been embraced by a younger generation of artists and thinkers, inspiring them to resist and reshape a world structured by difference and inequity.

For moe info: Brooklyn Museum

photo: Tiffany L Clark

Excerpt the New York Times Conversation with Lorraine O’Grady “Both Sides Now”

by Kate Guadagnino
Published Feb. 22, 2021
Updated Feb. 23, 2021, 2:02 p.m. ET

In 1977, in a nod to the Surrealists, the conceptual artist Lorraine O’Grady started cutting phrases out of The New York Times and rearranging them into lines of poetry, which she glued, mostly slantwise, onto sheets of rag paper: “Dinner is reserved for/Twin Speech: A Language of Their Own” reads one spliced fragment. She was in her early 40s. Fifteen years earlier, O’Grady had worked as an intelligence analyst for the federal government. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, she was tasked with reading around 10 international newspapers a day and, as she likes to say, “at a certain point, words just became gelatinous.” But from that experience O’Grady was able to extract new meaning out of language. “I did a poem a week, and when I got to the four-month mark, they started taking off, and I could tell something was happening,” she says, though the knowledge that her own ideas could carry her from one place or plane to the next must have already been familiar. In addition to her time in Washington D. C., her pre-artist life included stints as a translator, a teacher, a student of fiction at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and, as if she weren’t already intimidating enough, a rock critic. “I don’t feel I’ve had much unlived life,” says O’Grady, now 86.

Next month, she’ll be the subject of a major retrospective — her first — at the Brooklyn Museum, its title, “Both/And,” a reference to her rejection of binary thinking, which not only oversimplifies but ultimately tips the scales of perception in favor of one side or the other. Much of O’Grady’s philosophy is informed by her sense of self as a Black American woman with Afro-Caribbean and Irish roots. In her artwork (she’s also a writer, and her 1994 art historical essay “Olympia’s Maid: Reclaiming Black Female Subjectivity,” is considered a canonical feminist text), she often explores the idea of multiplicity through the form of the diptych, which forces the viewer to hold two sides of something in their mind simultaneously. In 2017, O’Grady reworked her newspaper poems, cutting up their contents for a second time and turning them into two-panel haikus. Both versions of the project are included in the exhibition, as is “Miscegenated Family Album” (1980/1994), a series of diptychs in which O’Grady juxtaposes photos of her family with depictions of ancient Egyptian royals, thereby lessening the presumed distance between them.

Read the full conversation HERE

Karen Ludwig
Video Conversations with prominent actors, directors and writers.

“ABOUT THE WORK”

Over the course of 4 years, Karen Ludwig conducted a series of conversations with prominent actors, directors and writers under the auspices of the New School for Drama. Her interviews focused on the work of creating, influences, introspection and resulted in surprising and in-depth responses from her guests which include Cynthia Nixon, Jeremy Irons, John Guare, Josh Hamilton, Lucas Hedges, Ethan Hawke, Cherry Jones, Dale Soules, among many more.

Enjoy an hour or so of discovery and inspiration .
Click on: Karen Ludwig Interviews

KAREN LUDWIG
Actor, director, writer and teacher.

Her Broadway credits include PRELUDE TO A KISS with Steve Guttenberg and John Randolph, BROADWAY BOUND with Joan Rivers, THE DEVILS with Anne Bancroft, THE BACCHAE with Irene Pappas and many plays at the Public Theater. She was a member of Andre Gregory’s Manhattan Project for two years and performed in THE SEAGULL and Wallace Shawn’s OUR LATE NIGHT with the Company throughout the United States and Europe. Her first film was Woody Allen’s MANHATTAN, (Meryl Streep’s lover and most recently THAT AWKWARD MOMENT with Zach Efron. She wrote WHERE WAS I?, a solo show that she performed at Joe’s Pub. She produced and directed UTA HAGEN’S ACTING CLASS with Pennie duPont; a two-part DVD of her incomparable teacher and friend. UTAHAGENVIDEO.COM . Ms. Ludwig has taught abroad including Amsterdam, Israel and Australia as well as USC Film School, UCLA, NYU and is currently on the faculty of The New School and HB Studio in NYC.

While shooting an episode of LAW AND ORDER, in which Jeremy Irons was starring, she asked him if he’d be willing to talk to her students at The New School. He did and that led to Karen asking more prominent actors she had worked with, like Cherry Jones and that was the beginning of Karen’s interview series, About the Work. All in all, 41 actors, directors, and writers were interviewed.

Photo: Frankie Alduino

Lucille Rhodes’ film on Alice Neel at Met Museum with interview of filmmakers

Lucille Rhodes’ documentary on Alice Neel, portrait painter, owned by the Metropolitan Museum, is being featured online for the month of January as part of the Met 150 birthday celebration.

Watch free with the link below:

Lucille Rhodes on Alice Neel

A self-proclaimed “collector of souls,” the American painter Alice Neel (1900–1984) is known today for her powerful, psychologically rich portraiture. She depicted a wide range of subjects, from her family and friends to prominent critics, artists, activists, and strangers she met on the street. In this rarely seen documentary, Neel’s signature candor and wit are on full display. Providing a brief biographical sketch from her early marriage and the Great Depression through her later years in Spanish Harlem, the film also shows the artist at work on a portrait of Lucille Rhodes, who co-directed with Margaret Murphy. Excerpted from Rhodes and Murphy’s “They Are Their Own Gifts” (1978), a triptych of “film portraits” about women artists that also includes chapters on the poet and activist Muriel Rukeyser as well as the dancer and choreographer Anna Sokolow. Cinematography by the legendary Babette Mangolte.

PICTURING ALICE NEEL
Met Perspectives Interview with filmmakers Margaret Murphy and Lucille Rhodes by Met Museum on the making of the film.
https://www.metmuseum.org/perspectives

Lucille Rhodes chaired and taught film at C.W Post College (LIU) for 25 years. She has won awards internationally for her independent documentaries and produced films for Sesame Street and Bravo. As a film editor, she worked with Norman Mailer on Maidstone and on Peter Gimbel’s Blue Water, White Death. Her screenplay Nealy Hollow was invited to Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute thanks to residencies at the MacDowell Colony and Yaddo .She has filmed/lectured in China, Turkey, Israel, Finland and Mexico and served as a Fulbright Media Specialist in Latvia.

Prior to her career in film, she was Assistant Director of Visual Arts at the New York State Council on the Arts and Assistant Director of the Kentucky Arts Commission which she helped found. She has served on numerous documentary film juries including the Emmys.

Currently she is a juror for the Guanajuato International Film Festival, and is working with Photoshop on her cellphone photo archives.

Balance and Strength
with Jennifer Gibson

Mondays at 2:00 – 3:00pm
Extended to June 2021
Now on Zoom

Contact
Jennifer Gibson
jenjiyoga@gmail.com

Jennifer Gibson is certified through the reputable Integral Yoga Institute of New York City, which served the West Village community and surrounding areas for over 50 years.

Jennifer has been a Yoga Instructor since 2005, specializing in yoga for seniors since 2011.
She is thrilled to share the tools of yoga with seniors for balance and building strength. In Jennifer’s current work with seniors, what began as one class quickly grew into three different classes per week, each packed with 20-30 students. Participants range between the ages of early 60s to early 90s and have a wide variety of ability.

Jennifer is passionate about making the practice of yoga accessible to everyone. She loves how appreciative seniors are to learn yoga and how much they look forward to every class, and she is excited to bring the benefits of yoga to the Westbeth community.

Sponsored by the Westbeth Artists Residents Council and a grant from NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson