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|Dorothea Tanning (1910-2012)|
|Dorothea Tanning: Early Designs for the Stage
Excerpted from the exhibition review by Valery Oisteanu, The Brooklyn Rail:
Dorothea Tanning, the last surviving vintage American surrealist, is too-often remembered as the widow of avant-god Max Ernst, but she's so much more....In the early 1940's Tanning also met modernist choreographer George Balanchine and by mid-decade started a collaboration with him that lasted until 1953, creating surreal ballet-costume designs such as upper-body octopus masks and a sailboat-hat with a veil streaked in blue to mimic waves. Which brings us to this show.
Early Designs for the Stage, displayed at....the Drawing Center, puts this aspect of Tanning's oeuvre on public view for the first time, featuring hand-drawn ballet costumes, set designs, ephemera and archival photographs from the 1940's and 50's. Assembled by assistant curators Joanna Kleinberg and Rachel Liebowitz, the exhibit underscores the designs' powerful intersection of dance, theater, costume, painting, and sculpture. Tanning's whimsical creations embody a sense of movement not only through the myriad veils she employs, but also in the nature of the costumes themselves, which are bewitchingly ecstatic.
For Night Shadow, dated 1945-46, she created a disproportionate headdress/mask replete with the feathers of an exotic bird and a quasi-gothic set, which is featured on a souvenir program from the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. The performance also featured a masked ball where the dancers wore sophisticated headdresses depicting an elk with bejeweled antlers, a big clock surrounded by a white spiral cage, a horse's head, spherical domes one on top of the other, a bizarre fish, and even a Spanish fan-mask.
In many of the dances, Tanning pushed at the limits of masquerade, dressing performers in elaborate flowers and ripped, flowing materials....This show is both a walk through American ballet of the mid-20th century and a rare glimpse into the creative process, iconography and multiple talents of Dorothea Tanning: artist, poet, novelist, set and costume designer.
Gallery of Surrealism|
160 Bleecker Street, #10ME,
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