The LeRoy Neiman Gallery of Columbia University is pleased to announce the exhibition Dance Dance Revolution curated by Matthew Lyons and Lanka Tattersall. Featuring an international group of established and emerging artists, Dance Dance Revolution demonstrates a renewed interest in dance both as a strategy of social resistance and as a way to forge community across restrictive social boundaries. Combining film, video, performance, painting and photography, the exhibition explores this dynamic intersection between the visual arts and vernacular dance forms.
As a point of departure, Adrian Piper’s seminal video Funk Lessons documents a collaborative performance in which the artist teaches participants the basic moves of funk dance, ultimately inviting everyone to “get down and party, together.” As a contemporary update to Piper’s piece, the video Feelin’ It by Anna Craycroft (Columbia SOA ‘05) portrays the artist’s humorous attempt to learn dances such as the samba, dance hall and the jerk by following pre-recorded verbal dance instructions.
Andrea Bowers’ series of drawings depict isolated figures of adolescents playing Dance Dance Revolution, a popular interactive video game in which players compete against the computer and each other in a series of increasingly challenging dance routines. Los Angeles-based Alex Donis’ lightbox Young Crip and Young Blood from his WAR series suggests that gang hostility might be counteracted through the shared language of urban dance and sensuality.
The photo-collages and videos of the Berlin-based Discoteca Flaming Star document their “hardcore karaoke” performances. With cultural interruption in mind, they combine their purposefully unskilled rock-n-roll with forms such as belly-dancing and disappearing folk traditions. Since 2000, the New York-based trio Black Leotard Front has staged unannounced public dance interventions, combining lo-tech spectacle with a sincere investigation of movement. Dykes Can Dance formed during the time of Mayor Giuliani’s resuscitation of a 1926 policy whereby bars without a Cabaret License can be fined for allowing people to dance. The group aims to organize queer women to dance in public as a form of resistance against queer stereotypes and the City’s policing of dance. Also related to this situation is FranÃ§ois BouÃ©’s Super 8mm film installation Life, Liberty, Etc. which documents a spontaneous rave/protest in Tompkins Square Park in 1999.