Paul Kasmin Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of photographs taken by the American artist Tseng Kwong Chi in 1983 in collaboration with the choreographer Bill T. Jones and the artist Keith Haring. Shown in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of of Tseng and Haring's deaths, these striking large-format photographs celebrate the spirit of interconnected creativity that pulsed throughout the East Village in the 1980's and will be on display at 511 W. 27th Street from February 11 to March 13, 2010.
"Keith was showing at the Robert Fraser Gallery in London and for this painting session of ours, he rents a special studio," Jones recalls in a passage from Haring's published biography. "And the music is going and the hip hangers-on are there hanging on. It took so long! Over four hours! And the white acrylic paint was so cold! I suddenly felt what it must be to be a bushman! I was transformed, because as Keith was painting me, I moved almost constantly - I followed Kwong Chi's instructions, because he was photographing me from every possible angle….they're a great record of a great moment!"
Although the photographs appear to freeze Jones's spontaneous motion, they were actually carefully staged by Tseng. As in many of his other photographic series—East Meets West and The Expeditionary Self-Portrait Series for example—these works depict Tseng's thoughtfully composed and often playful investigations of truth, fiction and identity.
Tseng Kwong Chi (1950-1990) was born in Hong Kong and immigrated with his family to Vancouver, Canada as a teenager. He studied art in Paris before moving to New York in 1978. His work is included in numerous public collections, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Walker Museum of Art in Minneapolis, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. In 2010, his photographs will be included in "Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture" at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. and in "Dreamlands" at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, France
Bill T. Jones (1952-) is an American choreographer, dancer and Artistic Director of Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company. In 2007, he won a Tony Award for "Best Choreography" for his work on the musical Spring Awakening. He is the director and choreographer for the much acclaimed Broadway production Fela!
Keith Haring (1958-1990) was an American artist and social activist whose work engaged and influenced New York City's vibrant street culture.
Photographs by Tseng Kwong Chi. © 1983 Muna Tseng Dance Projects Inc., New York.
Body drawing on Bill T. Jones by Keith Haring. © 1983 Estate of Keith Haring, New York.