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Miguel Gutierrez “Age & Beauty Part 1” Research in 2014

By Lee Slinger

This summer, Theatre Replacement of Vancouver presents the fourth edition of its New Aesthetics Performance Intensive. The two-week summer workshop pairs two established artists from different disciplines to lead a creative program that provides participants with experiences and tools to question their own work and their relationship to larger societal issues.

For 2017, the workshop leaders are Vivianna Telles, an Argentinian artist with a text-based practice, and American artist Miguel Gutierrez, who is featured in this video, “Age & Beauty Part 1” Research in 2014. Gutierrez’s process-based, multidisciplinary work frequently engages with questions of meaning and identity. In more than two decades as a creator, and longer as a performer, Gutierrez has received numerous recognitions and awards including being a 2016 Doris Duke Artist and having his Variations on a Theme from Lost and Found, a reconstruction and reimagining of pieces by John Bernd co-directed with Ishmael Houston-Jones, selected as one of the New York Times top dance events of 2016.

This video captures Gutierrez creating the first part of a trilogy, Age & Beauty Part 1: Mid-Career Artist/Suicide Note or &:-/, first presented at the Whitney Biennial in 2014. In Age & Beauty Part 1, Gutierrez considers the relationship between aging and queerness, performing with Mickey Mahar, who is about half Gutierrez’s age. They combine club gestural movements with Gutierrez’s own musical compositions and vocal performances. The juxtaposition of the two bodies, their sometimes-isolation and sometimes-erotic entwining, highlights the themes of aging and sexuality.

“For me, Gutierrez encapsulates so much of what we envisioned with New Aesthetics,” says James Long, co-artistic director of Theatre Replacement. “He is so much ‘of the studio,’ meaning that the work, the theory and even the attitude arise from his deep commitment to a studio practice - exactly what we envisioned for the program.”

Gutierrez’s teaching statement for the workshop addresses his desire to make work that is relevant to politicized world in which we live. “I am thinking about how to make live performance that is vital right now,” writes Gutierrez. “I am thinking about the intersection of aesthetics and social justice and liveness and vibrancy. I am thinking about how we are products of an economic and artistic exchange system that we have to resist, co-opt, reject, re-form and destroy and I am wondering if that is actually possible. I am watching a lot of YouTube videos online and wondering whose art belongs to whom. I am thinking about how we are all geniuses maybe and I am wondering what it means to be “good” at something.”

Applications for New Aesthetics are due by February 15.

Learn more >> newaesthetics.ca 

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