On September 9, 2010, Deville Cohen will begin one month of work in the storefront window at Recess. Cohen will transform this liminal space between inside and out into a puppet show, orienting the construction so that the back of the stage faces the street. Cohen will create a series of rotating sets, each with a variety of props. The storefront backstage will fold into the event, Be Black Baby: a House Party Presents Michael Jackson 2004, taking place on September 10 from 5pm-midnight. Curated by Uri McMillan and organized by Simone Leigh, the event will present the b-side of a conference on Michael Jackson. This evening of performance and live tableaux will reinterpret the inaugural Michael Jackson academic conference McMillan organized for Yale University in 2004. Turning the staid academic conference inside-out, participants of the updated conference will present a b-side performance. Deville Cohen’s window installation will serve as an introduction to the unpredictable environment.
Throughout the course of Deville Cohen’s month-long tenure at Recess, he will arrange and film several short scenes in his storefront set. In between performances, Deville will prepare the stage for the next iteration, exposing the backstage elements of the production to the street. As a result, the illusion of the theater is rendered transparent, with the nine-foot square stage exposing each step of the director’s process.
Investigating the economy of the static versus the mobile, Cohen’s arrangements will depict spaces of transport: highways, parking lots, and gas stations, within which characters and props navigate the sparse resources of production. Each scene will emphasize the playful elements of presentation. Complicating size and scale, Cohen will explore performance as sculpture; in the context of Be Black Baby’s focus on Michael Jackson, characters in Cohen’s final scenes appear larger-than-life as the physical becomes a distorted and unreliable indication of reality.
About the Artist
Deville Cohen was born in Tel Aviv in 1977. He received his KHB in 2007 from Weiseensee Kunsthochschule in Berlin, Germany and his MFA from Bard Collage in 2010. He has exhibited internationally, including solo shows at Nowhere Gallery in Milan, Italy and tor111 in Berlin, Germany. In 2010, his work was featured in Greater New York at MoMA PS1, The Company in Los Angeles, California, and Lesley Heller Workspace in New York City. He currently lives and works in New York City.
To read more about Be Black Baby: a House Party, click here.
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