Past Public Program
Menagerie: performance preview and discussion
With Deville Cohen and Shamel Pitts, moderated by Ali Rosa-Salas
Wednesday, November 7, 6:30pm
Gibney, 53A Chamber Street, NYC
Ali Rosa-Salas, Director of Programming at Abrons Arts Center, moderated a conversation with visual artist Deville Cohen and choreographer Shamel Pitts on interdisciplinary practices in dance and the visual arts. The conversation provided behind the scenes insight on the artist and choreographer’s new piece, Menagerie, which opened to the public at Gibney in the fall of 2018. Menagerie explores the quixotic individuality of six dancers who are in the Gibney Dance Company. Taking cues from Tennessee Williams’s The Glass Menagerie, Cohen and Pitts exaggerate the performers’ differences by researching movement that amplifies their sense of self, and then resurface the possibility of a space where each of them can live and thrive inside a given collection of objects and environments, while negotiating their individuality. Menagerie is supported by Artis and was presented at Gibney from November 16-18, 2018.
Deville Cohen (b. 1977 Tel Aviv), is a visual artist and a director living and working in New York. He studied sculpture at the KHB Berlin (Germany) from 2002-2007, and received his MFA in film/video from Bard College, NY in 2010. His work was shown internationally in museums, venues, and galleries such as MoMA PS1; SFMoMA; The Deutsche Oper Berlin; The Center for Contemporary Art Tel Aviv; Disjecta, Portland OR; The Living Art Museum, Reykjavik; Abrons Art Center NYC; The Munich Biennale for New Music Theater; The Marjorie Barrick Museum, Las Vegas; Movement Research Festival, NYC; AUX Performance Space, Philadelphia, PA; Aspect Ratio Gallery, Chicago; Marlborough Chelsea Gallery, NYC; and Foxy Production gallery, NYC among others. He was an artist in residence at Recess Art; EMPAC (Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center) Troy; The Wooster Group Performance Garage; Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) workspace, Fountainhead Miami; MANA contemporary; and LMCC Process Space. www.devillecohen.art
Shamel Pitts (b. Brooklyn, NY) began his dance training at LaGuardia High School for Music & Art and the Performing Arts and, simultaneously, at The Ailey School. Shamel received his BFA in Dance from The Juilliard School and was awarded the Martha Hill Award for excellence in dance. He then went on to dance with Batsheva Dance Company for 7 years, under the artistic direction of Ohad Naharin. Shamel has created a triptych of multidiscplinary performance art works entitled: BLACK BOX: Little Black Book Of RED (featured in The New York Times), BLACK VELVET: Architectures And Archetypes (which received the Audience Choice Award At Stockholm Fringe Festival) and BLACK HOLE: Trilogy And Triathlon which has received the CROSS Award Residency IV Edition in Italy. Shamel is an adjunct faculty member at The Juilliard School and has been an artist in residence at Harvard University. Shamel is the recipient of a 2018 Princess Grace Award in Choreography. For more information, visit www.shamelpitts.com
Ali Rosa-Salas is the Director of Programming at Abrons Arts Center/Henry Street Settlement. In this role, she develops the Center’s live programming, exhibitions, and residencies with Artistic Director Craig Peterson. As an independent curator, she has produced visual art exhibitions, performances, and public programs with AFROPUNK, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Danspace Project, Knockdown Center, MoCADA, Weeksville Heritage Center, and more. She has also organized discursive events as an Alumnae Fellow at the Barnard Center for Research on Women and as the Associate Curator of the 2017 American Realness Festival. She graduated from Barnard with a B.A. in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, with interdisciplinary concentrations in Dance and Race/Ethnic Studies and has an M.A. from the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance at Wesleyan University. In addition to her role at Abrons, Ali supports electronic music DJs and producers as Special Projects Manager for Discwoman.