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Liz Magic Laser: Bystander

Recess, in collaboration with The Kitchen, Presents

Liz Magic Laser:

Session at Recess: Jan 8 – March 22
Open Interviews: Feb 20, 12-6pm
Reception: March 6, 6-8pm
Closing Reception: March 20, 2-8pm

Performances at The Kitchen: March 27-29, 8pm
Please check Recess website for schedule updates.

Also featuring works by Bystander contributors Laura Cooper and Lucia Hinojosa.

On January 8, 2014, Liz Magic Laser will begin work on Bystander as part of Recess’s signature program, Session. Session invites artists to use Recess’s public space as studio, exhibition venue and grounds for experimentation.

Bystander will be developed at Recess through a series of interviews conducted by journalists and actors with members of the public. With this work, Laser re-imagines a television news broadcast that is filmed, edited and screened live as it is performed on stage. Laser will conduct interviews and write the script for Bystander in collaboration with Critical Writing Fellow Sofia Pontén while both take part in Session. The culminating performance will stage a dialogue between television news production and its viewers. Reversing expected roles, professional newscasters will deliver subjective testimonies while actors, representing the public, offer factual reports.

Both the Session and final performances will be staged in a functioning newsroom installation, replete with time zone clocks. By re-contextualizing the television news scenario as theatrical dialogue, Laser lays bare the mechanisms at play in the presentation and reception of current events.

About the artist:
Liz Magic Laser (b. 1981, New York) lives and works in Brooklyn. Her performances and videos intervene in semi-public spaces such as bank vestibules, movie theaters and newsrooms, and have involved collaborations with actors, dancers, reporters, surgeons, and motorcycle gang members. She earned a BA from Wesleyan University (2003) and an MFA from Columbia University (2008). She attended the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture (2008) and the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program (2009). Most recently, her work was the subject of solo exhibitions at Paula Cooper Gallery, New York (2013) the Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster, Germany (2013); DiverseWorks, Houston, Texas (2013) and Mälmo Konsthall, Mälmo, Sweden (2012). Her work has also been exhibited at Lisson Gallery, London (2013); the Moscow Museum of Modern Art (2012); Various Small Fires, Los Angeles (2012); the Performa 11 Biennial, New York (2011); The Pace Gallery, New York (2011); the Biennial of Graphic Arts, Ljubljana, Slovenia (2011); and MoMA PS 1, New York (2010). Laser is the recipient of grants from Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation Grant (2013), the Southern Exposure Off-Site Graue Award (2013), New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship (2012) and the Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance Art (2010). She was the 2013 Armory Show Commissioned Artist and has been in residency at the Marie Walsh Sharpe Foundation Space Program, New York (2012), Forever & Today, Inc.’s Studio On The Street artist-in-residence program, New York (2012), Smack Mellon, Brooklyn (2011) and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, New York (2009).

Bystander will be developed with Actors: Audrey Crabtree, Annie Fox and Michael Wiener; Critical Writing Fellow: Sofia Pontén; Technical Director: Irwin Seow; Production Managers: Brian Mcelroy and Rachel Zaretsky; Costume Stylist Felicia Garcia-Rivera; and Research Assistants Laura Cooper and Lucia Hinojosa who will also present artwork and events during the Recess Session.

Performances at The Kitchen will feature television journalists and actors Lynn Berg, Roger Clark (NY1 Reporter), Audrey Crabtree, Annie Fox, Maria Trice (former WWOR-TV Reporter), Michael Wiener and Jon Wright (former KEYT-TV and WLBT-TV Weather and News Anchor).

Liz Magic Laser’s Bystander is produced in collaboration with The Kitchen.


This program is supported, in part, by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. This project is also supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Art Works.

Special thanks to the Foundation for Contemporary Arts for their generous support of this project.

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The Living Newspaper: On Location, Liz Magic Laser, 2013, performance and single-channel video, 42 minutes, video still, Plays and Players Theatre, Philadelphia, PA. Featuring collaborators and performers Audrey Crabtree, Annie Fox and Michael Wiener.

Download the press release.