LOS ANGELES, CA.-
Nicolas Poussin (French, 15941665) was the most influential French painter of the 17th century, and an artist fascinated by movement.
Living and working in Rome, he painted scenes of wild revelrydancing nymphs and satyrsthat drew inspiration from classical antiquity and helped make Poussin a star of the European art world, widely recognized as the originator of French classicism.
On view February 15May 8, 2022, Poussin and the Dance will present a selection of the artists dancing pictures alongside the antiquities that inspired him, and place these objects in dialogue with contemporary dance. Screened in the exhibition galleries and online, a series of original dance films by Los Angeles-based choreographers Micaela Taylor, Chris Emile, and Ana María Alvarez, will engage Poussin in a conversation across centuriesexploring the structure and subject matter of his compositions and challenging his position of cultural authority. The goal is to offer multiple perspectives: a reminder that the meaning of a work of art, whether old or new, is always alive and evolving.
Dance was a key theme in Poussins art and one that still resonates today, said Timothy Potts, Maria Hummer-Tuttle and Robert Tuttle Director of the J. Paul Getty Museum
. The exhibition will invite visitors into Poussins processfrom study of the antique to composition and completed paintingsin a fresh and compelling way. Connecting these extraordinary 17th-century works with contemporary dance offers a splendid way to open up Poussins work for todays visitors while also highlighting the artistic vitality of L.A.s dance community.
Poussin gravitated to the theme of dance in the late 1620s and the 1630s, shortly after his arrival in Rome. Portraying dancers allowed him to work through the problem of depicting motion in a still image, to explore the expressive potential of the human body, and to devise new methods of composition. Poussin carried lessons learned from dance into every corner of his production, famously using a toy theater populated with wax figurines to stage the compositions he drew and painted. Orchestrating complex, colliding movements with his wax figurines, he envisioned dramaticeven violentaction with a choreographers eye.
Although many scholars have described Poussins pictures as balletic, dancelike, or choreographed, no exhibition has ever explored the theme of dance in this artists work, explains Emily Beeny, curator in charge of European Paintings at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and curator of the exhibition at Getty. By bringing together many of the artists very most beautiful works and examining them through the lens of dancea universal human impulsethis exhibition offers visitors a point of access to an old master through their own lived experience.
Sarah Cooper, public programs specialist at the J. Paul Getty Museum, and co-curator of the contemporary dance commissions connected to the exhibition, adds, These choreographers represent the most exciting thinkers and movers working in dance at this moment in Los Angeles. As we looked at Poussins works with these three choreographers, they each found eye-opening ways to dig into their worlds, pulling out details, expressions, textures, as well as perspectives about how the visual story was formed in a way that only someone with intimate knowledge of the physical experience of dance and its capacity for expression could uncover. What emerged was a conversation between artistsa dialogue that transcended centuries of distance, radically separated by cultural contexts and artistic tools, yet found compelling resonance in their mutual investigations of the distinct emotion and meaning that only dance can elicit.
Facts about Poussins artistic process, subject matter, and patrons offer us one means of understanding the dancing pictures. But lived experiences of dance today provide another.
The choreographers featured in this exhibition are:
Micaela Taylor is a choreographer, a dancer, and the artistic director of The TL Collective. She is the recipient of the Inaugural Springboard EMERGE Choreographic Award, was recently named one of Dance Magazine's "25 to Watch, and was featured on the cover of Dance Magazine in May 2020.
In addition to her work for The TL Collective, Taylor has been commissioned to choreograph for the Rambert Dance Company, London; BODYTRAFFIC, Los Angeles; Springboard Danse, Montreal; Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, Denver; B12 Festival, Berlin; Carlos Acostas Acosta Danza, Havana; and more. Taylor's work has been presented at Jacobs Pillow Dance Festival, The Broad Stage, Ford Amphitheatre, The Barclay Center, and the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, among other venues.
Ana Maria Alvarez
Ana Maria Alvarez, a 2020 Doris Duke Artist and an inaugural Dance/USA Artist Fellow, is a choreographer, dancer, teaching artist, movement activist, and the founding artistic director of CONTRA-TIEMPO, a multilingual Los Angeles-based activist dance theater company. A two- time grantee of NEFA National Dance Project, Alvarez has taken CONTRA-TIEMPO on multiple tours in Central and South America, through the US State Department, and has toured the company to Jacob's Pillow, Lincoln Center and The Ordway. She received a BA in Dance and Politics from Oberlin College and an MFA in Choreography from UCLA, and travelled to Cuba from 1999 to 2009 training with Cutumba Baile Folklorico and Narcisco Medina. Her thesis work, exploring the abstraction of Latin dance, specifically Salsa, as an expression of resistance to immigration policy, became the impetus for founding CONTRA-TIEMPO in 2005. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two children.
Chris Emile is a choreographer, filmmaker, performer, and co-founder of the movement-based project No)one. Art House.
Chriss directorial and choreographic work oscillates between the experiential, film, stage, and commercial worlds. His film work has appeared on NOWNESS, 4:3 Boiler Room, CULTURED Magazine, and in museums such as Art +Practice & COMPOUND Long Beach. His choreographic work has been commissioned by the Kennedy Center, MAK Center for Art & Architecture, Solange Knowles, São Paulo Opera, Anderson Paak, San Francisco Symphony, the University of Southern California, the Institute of Contemporary Art, LA, Museum of Contemporary Art, LA, and LA Opera where he assistant-directed and choreographed the Pulitzer Prize winning opera p r i s m, among others.
Poussin and the Dance is organized by the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, and the National Gallery, London. It is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities. Generous support from the Leonetti/OConnell Family Foundation. Generously sponsored by City National Bank.
Accompanying the exhibition is the volume Poussin and the Dance, published by Getty Publications and edited by Emily A. Beeny, former associate curator of drawings at the J. Paul Getty Museum, and currently curator in charge of European Paintings at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; and Francesca Whitlum-Cooper, the Myojin-Nadar Associate Curator of Paintings, 16001800, at the National Gallery, London.