Did you know that there’s a theater on the second floor of the Apple Store in Soho? I confess that I did not. In fact, I’m not sure I’d ever been on the second floor of said store until this past Monday (August 8) when I walked up the pale lucite steps (or whatever kind of steps they are) to take my place with the sixty or seventy other people who had come out for “Looking for Dragons,” the latest installment of the store’s Meet the Artist series. This night, the artist was my friend Bill Hayward, a passionate and relentlessly innovative photographer, painter, filmmaker, and choreographer.
Hayward began by showing his portraits of musicians, politicians, artists, and actors—images first published in magazines such as Rolling Stone,Interview, and GQ. Ronald Reagan, Bob Dylan, and Robert Duvall all made appearances. “He was a lot like the characters he played,” Hayward said of Duvall. Sonny Rollins popped onscreen, grinning and looking toward the ceiling, his sax cradled in one arm at his side. Later, a close-up of a cruel-eyed man who did not smile. “Anyone know who that is?” Hayward asked. “Anyone?” It was Roy Cohn, whose baleful legacy was cemented during the Army-McCarthy hearings in the 1950s.
Despite his success, Hayward told us he’d grown restive as a portrait photographer. “I can tell you how to sit and I can light you and dress you and make an image….but in the end it's not so much about you as what I did to you, and in the end I found the process hollow and unfulfilling.” He described how his focus expanded from the face to include the whole body, in motion or at rest. He showed photographs he’d manipulated in the dark room, or developed into prints and painted on, waxed, or changed by some other means. One particularly powerful piece (top) had begun life as a black and white close-up of a woman’s face that Hayward had shellacked directly onto a specially designed raw wood frame then driven through with screws and covered with in beeswax.
Hayward shared several clips and stills from his current film project, Asphalt, Muscle and Bone, as well as a generous selection of images from his ongoing series “Portraits of the Collaborative Self,” for which Hayward reverses the usual relationship between the photographer and subject. Hayward’s subjects
Here's a chance to go behind the scene with the brilliant Bill Hayward, who is often featured here. Bill will be at the Apple Store in NYC's SoHo on August 8th at 7 pm to talk about his many projects. Take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about what he's been up to and why we love him.
Here's a chance to go behind the scene with the brilliant Bill Hayward, who is often feature here. Bill will be at the Apple Store in NYC's SoHo on August 8th to talk about his many projects. Take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about what he's been up to and why we love him.
Is the audience for dance engaged in a kind of group voyeurism? What is really going on when we watch young and highly trained thoroughbreds push their bodies to unnatural extremes for our entertainment? Is the effect titilating? Listen to the audience as a dancer executes an especially challenging passage, say, the thirty-two fouettes of the Black Swan. And when a dancer falls, is there an element of pleasure in the audiences’ collective gasp?
These questions swirled around me after watching the most recent performance in the continuing Bill Hayward / Miranov Dance / Redress Films The Intimacies Project. Eight of us gathered in Hayward’s studio where he had constructed a mock window out of a plastic sheet and rigged it with an irrigation system to simulate the look and sound of falling rain. We were instructed to stand in front of the barrier to watch the performance on the other side, as if we were looking into a stranger’s apartment. The only props in the “apartment” were a long low steel bench with a moss-covered sphere at one end.
As the house lights dim, we hear a plaintive harmonica and heavy breathing. From behind us, a man (Jason Nowak) carries a limp woman (Jordan Marinov) upside down – his arms are wrapped around her calves. It’s as if he’s carrying a lifeless sack. He places her on the bench, where her hands drop toward the floor. After he leaves, she rouses herself and begins to move about. The music changes from Charlie Chaplin's haunting "Smile" to the driving beat and percussive lyrics of The Roots' "Walk Alone." It was during the next fifteen minutes of solo dance that my comfort level was pushed to its extreme.
Jordan Marinov (pictured above) is a compelling dancer. With her mile-long legs, angular features, and intense expression, it’s tough to take your eyes off her when she’s performing. Even when she’s still, she radiates energy. Watching her through a window felt illicit, yet it is impossible to look away. She makes full use of the space, by turns cowering, uncoiling, reaching, crawling, stretching. Now she’s a frightened animal, now an angry aggressor, a supplicant, a lover. She moves the bench across the floor to below the window, climbs upon and continues to move. She looks out the window, but over, not at, us. We’re eye level with her thighs and torso and her dance is an invitation to examine her bare skin. She’s that close. Yet there’s a barrier, we can’t touch. Then, in a brilliant stroke, we're shaken out of our reverie by Marinov's voice. "I knew a guy once," she says. So rare is the sound of a dancer's voice that the effect is unsettling.
In previous performances in the series, Marinov danced with a partner. Together they animated the push-and-pull of two individuals at once yearning for and repelled by true intimacy. This time, she was alone for most of the performance and drew the audience into her evolving emotions. Without the usual comfort of a theater seat – we stood throughout – or the distance that typically separates the audience from the stage, we felt exposed, vulnerable, perhaps even more so than the dancer before us. I have a feeling that this is exactly the response Hayward / Marinov were hoping to arouse.
I had just exited 192 Books last saturday afternoon when I noticed a commotion down 10th avenue at the corner of 20th
street...and what and whom do i encounter but the Sienese
Shredder and Justin Taylor holding forth as follows...
Seems the Sienese Shredder launched their fourth issue by walking around Chelsea with a home-made hot dog cart. Editors Brice Brown and Mark Shortliffe gave away cookies and sold copies of their full-color, phone-bookish sized arts annual to highly amused and at times slightly bewildered passersby and strollers in the gallery district. To add to the amusement (and of course the bewilderment, too) the day was punctuated with performances by artists associated with the magazine. David Coggins stood at 24th street just off tenth avenue, and invited all comers to "Ask the Expert!" Then the cart moved down tenth avenue, where between 23rd and 22nd, Nayland Blake raffled off a piece of original art. All you had to do to earn a raffle ticket was record a thirty-second on-the-spot critique of the artwork being raffled. On 22nd the cart hung a left, and in a spot of shade between tenth and eleventh avenues Martin Wilner took notes and pressed stamps onto vintage metrocards. He called this project The Journal of Evidence Weekly, and gave them away as fast as he could make them. Finally, at the corner of tenth avenue and 20th street, the writer Justin Taylor read poetry. Taylor read from a series he calls his "Student Paper" poems, as they are the product of collaging, erasing, quoting and scrambling the English 101 papers he read and graded over the course of three semester as an adjunct composition teacher. Taylor said later that he always imagined the poems as quiet, almost affectless, but they adapted themselves surprisingly well to the evangelical format required to be heard over the traffic on tenth avenue. Taylor soapboxed for nearly 45 minutes.