Gerard & Kelly: State of / The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA

This video shows excerpts of Gerard & Kelly’s performance “State of” at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA. The piece has previously been performed in Portugal and France and is meant to “open up questions around national symbols and entangled identities though the language of pole dancing.”

Gerard & Kelly: State of / The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA. Los Angeles, February 15, 2020.

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Complete video (23:32 min.):

Info text:

The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) is pleased to present the U.S. premiere of artists and choreographers Gerard & Kelly’s State of (2019). Previously performed in Portugal and France, for this iteration the duo uses the WAREHOUSE space in The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA to open up questions around national symbols and entangled identities though the language of pole dancing. The work is a collaboration with Forty Smooth, an innovator of pole dancing in the New York City subways, and dancer/vocalist Quenton Stuckey. The costume design is created by Rio Uribe of Gypsy Sport, the non-binary clothing brand noted by their deconstructed designs made locally from sustainable materials. State of floats the question of American identity through various citations and transformations of the U.S. flag and the national anthem. Moving on and off the pole; boosting, raising and resting the flag; and singing and re-singing the national anthem, three dancers interrogate symbols of nationalism, emptying them of their violence and exploring how they might be reclaimed today. Working together since 2003, Gerard & Kelly create installations and performances encompassing influences in minimalist dance, institutional critique, and queer theory.

Concept and choreography: Gerard & Kelly; performance: Ryan Kelly, Forty Smooth, and Quenton Stuckey; pole dance instructor: Roz “The Diva” Mays; costume design: Rio Uribe / Gypsy Sport; lighting design: Chu Hsuan Chang; production: Gerard & Kelly Foundation; production manager: Sheridan Telford; co-production: Centre chorégraphique national d’Orléans; BoCA – Biennial of Contemporary Arts, Lisbon; special thanks: Stacey Berman, Maxime Cavajani, Stefano Grisoglio, Sasha Okshteyn, Audrey Pouhe Njall, Nick Rodriques.

A first version of State of was presented in 2017 by the Festival d’Automne à Paris and Parades for FIAC, with the support of Fondation Fiminco and Mona Bismarck American Center. The creation of State of was made possible through a space grant with Chashama’s Space to Present program.

Curated by Amanda Hunt, Director of Education and Senior Curator of Programs at MOCA. Presented as part of Wonmi’s WAREHOUSE Programs founded by Wonmi & Kihong Kwon and Family.

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