JERSEY CITY, NJ, December 15, 2014—Mana Contemporary is pleased to present Making Art Dance: Costumes and Backdrops from the Armitage Foundation, an exhibition that celebrates the artists who collaborated with American choreographer Karole Armitage over the past 35 years. Curated by Jeffrey Deitch, Making Art Dance features sketches, costumes, and backdrops created for Armitage’s productions and company, Armitage Gone! Dance—a permanent resident at Mana—by visionaries including Charles Atlas, Deanna Berg, Andrea Branzi, Alba Clemente, Carroll Dunham, Jean Paul Gaultier, James Ivory, Karen Kilimnik, Jeff Koons, Christian Lacroix, Christian Marclay, David Salle, Peter Speliopoulos, Philip Taaffe, and Clifton Taylor.
The exhibition is organized according to three periods of Armitage’s aesthetic life: Punk, Picture, and Poetry. More than a dozen backdrops and corresponding costumes fill the 50,000-square-foot Mana Glass Gallery, including pieces from Ne (1978), The Mollino Room (1985), The Elizabethan Phrasing of the Late Albert Ayler (1986), Contempt (1989), Life Story (1999), Rave (2001), Itutu (2009), Three Theories (2009), and others. Sketches of costumes by fashion designer Peter Speliopoulos and for works Armitage created for Italian ballet troupe MaggioDanza provide further insight into the creative process.
“Karole Armitage has long been celebrated for her extraordinary collaborations with visual artists,” Deitch says. “Her collaborations made essential contributions to the history of contemporary dance and the contemporary art, and created a precedent for a new generation of performance artists.” Famously dubbed the “punk ballerina” by Vanity Fair, Armitage is characterized by striking originality, exemplary technique, and outlandish provocation. As a professional dancer she performed with the Grand Théâtre de Genève under the directorship of George Balanchine and the Merce Cunningham Dance Company; Armitage utilized their aesthetics to develop her own voice within the dichotomy of classical and modern dance. By showcasing the exemplary sets and costumes created for Armitage’s productions, Making Art Dance highlights a significant, unique art-dance partner- ship that has played a critical role in her work’s endurance and success.
About Karole Armitage
Karole Armitage, artistic director of the contemporary ballet company Armitage Gone! Dance, was rigorously trained in classical ballet. As a professional dancer she performed with the Grand Théâtre de Genève under the directorship of George Balanchine and the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. She directed the Ballet of Florence (1995–99) and the Biennale of Contemporary Dance in Venice (2004), and served as resident choreographer for the Ballet de Lorraine (1999–2004). Armitage has worked with the Bolshoi Ballet, New York Philharmonic, Teatro di San Carlo, and Théâtre du Châtelet. Armitage choreographed music videos for Madonna and Michael Jackson, films for Merchant Ivory Productions, and the Cirque du Soleil production “Amaluna.” Her work for Broadway includes “Passing Strange” and “Hair,” for which she was nominated for a Tony. Armitage is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. She was awarded the Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, France’s most prestigious award, in 2009, and received an honorary Doctorate of the Arts from the University of Kansas in 2013.
About Mana Contemporary
Founded in 2011, Mana Contemporary is a leading arts destination dedicated to celebrating the creative process. Headquartered in a former tobacco warehouse in Jersey City, Mana unites artists’ studios, exhibition spaces, and ancillary services in a single location, facilitating conversation and collaboration among its burgeoning creative community. Together with its sister campuses in Chicago and Miami, Mana serves as a lively center for all members of the art world. Visitors receive unparalleled access to a range of art-making techniques and presentations first- hand. A transparent, comprehensive hub of creativity, Mana offers a profound, personal approach to contemporary art. Mana Contemporary is home to the Richard Meier Model Museum, Gary Lichtenstein Editions, Eileen S. Kaminsky Family Foundation, Armitage Gone! Dance, Keating Foundry, The Florence Academy of Art, Shen Wei Dance Arts, and many others.