New York, NY, November 2, 2023 – Dia and New York Live Arts present the New York premiere of Boy mother / faceless bloom, a stage work by Juni One Set, the collaboration between Senga Nengudi, yuniya edi kwon, and Haruko Crow Nishimura and Joshua Kohl of Degenerate Art Ensemble. The performance is presented in conjunction with the long-term exhibition of Nengudi’s work on view at Dia Beacon, and will take place at New York Live Arts from November 16 to 18 as part of Performa Biennial 2023. A Stay Late conversation moderated by Matilde Guidelli-Guidi, Dia’s curator and co–department head, will be held on Friday, November 17. Tickets for the performances are available for purchase here.
Threading mythology and autobiography, while drawing from diverse lineages of queer, anti-colonial, and care-based artistic practices, Boy mother / faceless bloom is an interdisciplinary performance work. Dance, music, poetry, ritual, and sculptural installation converge to tell a story of transformation, transgression, and the formation of new transcestral lines. The piece premiered at the Fine Arts Center at Colorado College, Colorado Springs, on February 24, 2022, and was subsequently presented at the Contemporary Arts Center Cincinnati in April 2022.
Juni One Set is the most recent iteration of Nengudi’s collaborative method, a definitive aspect of the artist’s work throughout her career. Her creative partnerships have included the Los Angeles collective Studio Z (with artists Houston Conwill, Greg Edwards, David Hammons, Barbara McCullough, and Franklin Parker, among others); an unofficial quartet with Conwill, Maren Hassinger, and Parker; the Rudy Perez Dance Troupe; and many avant-garde dancers and musicians including Cheryl Banks-Smith, Blondell Cummings, Lawrence “Butch” Morris, Yasunao Tone, and Kaylynn Sullivan Twotrees.
Originally trained as a dancer, since the 1970s Nengudi has developed a distinct body of performance work spanning interactions with her sculptures, score-based actions, and choreographed events to be variously staged in interstitial urban spaces, dancehalls, or traditional theaters. She also creates stage and costume designs for the intergenerational, multidisciplinary cast with whom she collaborates, as is the case for Boy mother / faceless bloom.
Degenerate Art Ensemble (DAE) was founded in Seattle in 1999 by dancer and Guggenheim fellow Haruko Crow Nishimura and composer Joshua Kohl. Through their concerts, dance and theater projects, and experimentations with public spaces, DAE reinvigorates and transforms the relationship between performer and audience, and challenges perceptions of music, theater, and dance. The ensemble has performed throughout North America and Europe, including at the Baryshnikov Arts Center, New York; Frye Art Museum, Seattle; International Festival of Contemporary Dance, Mexico City; REDCAT, Los Angeles; and Yerba Buena Arts Center, San Francisco. DAE’s collaborators include Robert Wilson and the Kronos Quartet, among notable others. They are recipients of the Artist Trust’s 2020 Arts Innovator Award and International Theatre Institute’s Music Theatre NOW Award, as well as support from Creative Capital, MAP Fund, and New Music USA. In addition to founders Nishimura and Kohl, DAE’s full team of designers and technicians joins Juni One Set to create Boy mother / faceless bloom.
yuniya edi kwon (also known as eddy kwon) was born in Minnesota in 1989. She is a violinist, vocalist, and performance artist whose practice combines composition, improvisation, movement, and ritual to produce spaces of transformation and transgression. Kwon has performed internationally, including at the Barbican Centre, London; Big Ears Festival, Knoxville, Tennessee; Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C.; SESC Pompéia Factory, São Paulo; and more. She has received numerous awards and recognitions, including Arts Fellow at Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts; Andrew W. Mellon Artist-in-Residence at the Fine Arts Center at Colorado College, Colorado Springs; and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Robert Rauschenberg Award in Music/Sound. Kwon lives in Brooklyn.
Senga Nengudi was born in Chicago in 1943. Her work spans sculpture, performance, photography, drawing, and poetry. She completed a BA in fine arts with a minor in dance in 1966 and an MFA in sculpture in 1971, both at California State University, Los Angeles, and spent the year between her undergraduate and graduate studies enrolled at Waseda University, Tokyo. Her foundational training in dance included classes in the Horton technique in Los Angeles and in Kabuki theater in Tokyo. While a student, Nengudi served as an educator at the Watts Towers Art Center with artist Noah Purifoy and at the Pasadena Museum of Art (now Norton Simon Museum), where early Happenings took place. In 1977, Nengudi’s first solo exhibition was presented at Just Above Midtown gallery, New York. In 2019–21, a retrospective of her work was co-organized by the Lenbachhaus, Munich, and Museu de Arte de São Paulo, and traveled to the Denver Art Museum and Philadelphia Museum of Art. She was awarded the Nasher Prize in 2023. Dia’s engagement with Nengudi began in 2017 with an invitation to participate in the institution’s long-running Artists on Artists Lecture Series and continues with a long-term presentation of her work at Dia Beacon, which opened in February 2023. Nengudi lives in Colorado Springs.
Senga Nengudi, Dia Beacon, is curated by Matilde Guidelli-Guidi, curator and co–department head, with Emily Markert, curatorial assistant.
All exhibitions at Dia are made possible by the Economou Exhibition Fund.
Senga Nengudi is made possible by significant support from the Andy Warhol Foundation. Additional support provided by FABA – Fundación Almine y Bernard Ruiz-Picasso, Chara Schreyer, and Sprüth Magers.
About Dia Art Foundation
Taking its name from the Greek word meaning “through,” Dia was established in 1974 with the mission to serve as a conduit for artists to realize ambitious new projects, unmediated by overt interpretation and uncurbed by the limitations of more traditional museums and galleries. Dia’s programming fosters contemplative and sustained consideration of a single artist’s body of work and its collection is distinguished by the deep and longstanding relationships that the nonprofit has cultivated with artists whose work came to prominence particularly in the 1960s and ’70s.
In addition to Dia Beacon, Dia Bridgehampton, and Dia Chelsea, Dia maintains and operates a constellation of commissions, long-term installations, and site-specific projects, notably focused on Land art, nationally and internationally. These include:
- Walter De Maria’s The New York Earth Room(1977) and The Broken Kilometer (1979), Max Neuhaus’s Times Square (1977), and Joseph Beuys’s 7000 Eichen (7000 Oaks, inaugurated in 1982 and ongoing), all located in New York City
- De Maria’s The Lightning Field(1977), in western New Mexico
- Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty(1970), in the Great Salt Lake, Utah
- Nancy Holt’s Sun Tunnels(1973–76), in the Great Basin Desert, Utah
- De Maria’s The Vertical Earth Kilometer(1977), in Kassel, Germany
- Cameron Rowland’s Depreciation (2018)
About New York Live Arts
New York Live Arts is an internationally recognized destination for innovative performance and humanities programming, offering audiences access to art and ideas by creatives notable for their conceptual rigor, formal experimentation, and active engagement with the sociopolitical and cultural currents of our times. Led by world-renowned artist Bill T. Jones, New York Live Arts supports artists at all stages of their careers through our residencies, commissions, and artist services. It also serves as home base for the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company, which has been creating groundbreaking work for over forty years. New York Live Arts acknowledges and offers deep gratitude to Lenapehoking, where the theater sits—the land, and waters, of the Lenape homeland.
Founded in 2004 by art historian and curator RoseLee Goldberg, Performa has expanded the possibilities for visual artists working in performance, providing essential curatorial and production support, and, with its dedicated biennial, providing a worldwide platform for performance of the 21st century. Performa Commissions have entirely changed the possibilities of the form and its educational programs have shown its rich history as an integral part of artistic practice, reaching back through the centuries to the Renaissance. This visionary organization has entirely transformed every art institution’s approach to visual art performance, now a staple in art museums and galleries throughout the world. Since 2005, Performa has produced nine biennials, reaching an international audience of over 250,000 people and featuring more than 1,000 artists at 300-plus venues and locations across New York City.
For additional information or materials, contact:
Hannah Gompertz, Dia Art Foundation, firstname.lastname@example.org, +1 212 293 5598
Tyler Ashley, New York Live Arts, email@example.com, +1 212 691 6500