The DART Board: 04.10.2019

By Peggy Roalf   Wednesday April 10, 2019

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in. 
–Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen: A Crack in Everything, continues through September 8 at The Jewish Museum. One of the highlights of this presentation organized the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (MAC), is Passing Through by George Fok (2017), an immersive compilation of videos from throughout Cohen’s life. Projected on three walls of a sizeable gallery furnished with beanbag chairs and soft platforms, the piece envelops the audience in a time-travel journey through Cohen’s five-decade career. My text below is inspired by this collage of collective memories, musical performances, and the emotional moments conveyed.

Leonard Cohen, poet, songwriter, performer of songs that explore the despair and grace of the human condition, was an unlikely prospect for stardom. When his career as a writer seemed to have tanked following the 1966 publication of his novel, “Beautiful Losers, he decided to become a folk singer. At age 32, he was, he said, “starving. I could not pay the rent.” His songs had been covered by performers such as Joni Mitchell and later, Tim Buckley, but Cohen was terrified to take the stage himself. He felt he had no choice, and went on to become, in the eyes of many, a quixotic, charismatic, and humble giant.

As a singer-songwriter, he played the troubadour, an existential figure whose worldview expressed a melancholy hope for change. His spare songs, self-accompanied on acoustic guitar, explored themes of spiritual and earthly desires in a time of social and political unrest. In literature, Cohen won the 1969 Canadian Governor General’s award for his first anthology of poetry; he refused it on the grounds that “the songs forbid it, absolutely.” From then on, it became necessary [according to the press release] to differentiate between Leonard Cohen as man of letters and as cultural phenomenon.

His storied successes were matched by legendary failures, including being defrauded by his long-time manager. In the mid-1990s he retreated to a Buddhist monastery, leaving the music scene behind for five years in order to repair the damage done by accumulated addictions. When he returned to the stage in 2008, after a 15-year absence, he had reinvented himself through dedication to his writing, having produced two critically acclaimed poetry collections. Thereafter, until he quit performing, Leonard Cohen toured constantly, giving close to 250 performances from North America to Europe, Israel, Australia and New Zealand between 2008 and 2013. His last album, “You Want It Darker,” prophetically framed the death of this “poet of imperfection,” in 2016.

Leonard Cohen: A Crack in Everything includes commissioned works by a range of international artists who have been inspired by Cohen’s style and recurring themes in his work, a video projection showcasing Cohen’s own drawings, and an innovative multimedia gallery where visitors can hear covers of Cohen’s songs by musicians such as Lou Doillon; Feist; Moby; and The National with Sufjan Stevens, Ragnar Kjartansson, and Richard Reed Parry, among others. Parrticipating artists include: Kara Blake, Candice Breitz, Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller, Christophe Chassol, Daily Tous Les Jours, Tacita Dean, Kota Ezawa, George Fok, Ari Folman, Jon Rafman, Taryn Simon.
The exhibition continues through September 8 at The Jewish Museum; 1109 Fifth Avenue, NY, NY Info Public programs Info

This just in from Photograph magazine

Photographer Jon Henry and critic Antwaun Sargent will be speaking at ICPon April 9, 6:30-8 pm, about the effects of police brutality on black American families and communities. The discussion will be centered around Henry's series Stranger Fruit, portraits of black mothers and sons in poses that recall the pietà.

Charlotte Gainsburg will be signing her book Rest at Dashwood Books on April 10, 6-8 pm.
SVA's MFA Photography, Video, and Related Media celebrates its 30th anniversary with its Book Fair April 11-13 as well as the Scheimpflug Lecture Series. SVA alumnus and faculty member Jeremy Haik will moderate a discussion with Marvin Heiferman, Sarah Palmer, and Magali Duzant about Heiferman's project and book, Seeing Science.

Dawoud Bey will be in conversation with Gaëlle Morel, exhibitions curator at the Ryerson Image Centre, on April 11, 6 pm, at the Museum of Contemporary Photography, where his exhibition Birmingham, Alabama, 1963: Dawoud Bey / Black Star is on view, also opening on April 11. The event will be moderated by Karen Irvine, chief curator and deputy director at MoCP.

Photographer Barbara Mensch will be speaking about her book In the Shadow of Genius at the Seaport Museum on April 11 at 6:30 pm. 


In Galleries, Lens-based Art

Thursday, April 11

Victoria Sambunaris | Land Mark, (above) 6-8 pm. Yancey Richardson Gallery, 525 West 22ndStreet, NY, NY Info

George Platt Lynes | Portraits, Nudes, and Dance, 6-8 pm. Keith de Lellis Gallery, 41 East 57thStreet, NY, NY Info

Continuing In Galleries

Gilles Aillaud, through May 11. Ortuzar Projects, 9 White Street, NY, NY Info

Paul Mpagi Sepuya,through April 13. Team Gallery, 83 Grand Street, NY, NY Info

Christina Forrer, through April 13. Luhring Augustine, 531 West 24th Street, NY, NY Info 

Robert Murray | 3D and 2D works (above), through May 4. David Richard Gallery, 211 East 121stStreet, NY, NY Info


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