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Just over 30 years after the artist’s death, Robert Mapplethorpe’s photography still has the capacity to intrigue, seduce, shock, and scare us—sometimes all at once. In Triptych (Eyes of One on Another), a piece co-commissioned by the Wexner Center, an amazing collaborative team asks the audience to experience these reactions collectively.
Through original music by The National’s Bryce Dessner, libretto by korde arrington tuttle, direction by Kaneza Schaal, poetry by Essex Hemphill and Patti Smith, and vocals by Roomful of Teeth, this evening-length work puts the audience inside Mapplethorpe’s viewfinder and his beautiful, bold vision of how we see, feel, hurt, and love one another.
In April 1990, Cincinnati’s Contemporary Arts Center was indicted for exhibiting the Mapplethorpe retrospective The Perfect Moment during a critical moment in that decade’s “culture wars.” Growing up in Cincinnati, Dessner was exposed to the protests surrounding this galvanizing artist, sparking a lifelong kinship with his body of work. Mapplethorpe’s pictures continue to both unite and divide, and this provocative, interdisciplinary work offers the perfect opportunity to consider the perceived opposites the artist sought to challenge: black/white, male/female, gay/straight, art/porn, classical/contemporary.
Composed by Bryce Dessner
Libretto by korde arrington tuttle
Featuring words by Essex Hemphill and Patti Smith
Directed by Kaneza Schaal
Featuring Roomful of Teeth with Alicia Hall Moran and Isaiah Robinson
Contributing choreography and performance by Martell Ruffin
Music direction and conducting by Brad Wells
Produced by ArKtype / Thomas O. Kriegsmann
in cooperation with The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation
Associate Direction/Touring by Jennifer Harrison Newman
Associate Direction/Production by Lilleth Glimcher
Set and costume design by Carlos Soto
Lighting design by Yuki Nakase
Video by Simon Harding
Production Management by William Knapp
Music by Bryce Dessner is used with permission of Chester Music Ltd.
Please note: this performance contains mature content.
Triptych (Eyes of One on Another), photo: Maria Baranova
An ArKtype Production, produced in residency with and commissioned by the University Musical Society, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Coproduced by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Gustavo Dudamel, Music and Artistic Director.
Triptych was co-commissioned by Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM); Luminato Festival, Toronto, Canada; Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, Athens, Greece; Cincinnati Opera, Ohio; Cal Performances, UC Berkeley, California; Stanford Live, Stanford University, California; Adelaide Festival, Australia; John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington DC, as part of Direct Current 2019; ArtsEmerson: World on Stage, Emerson College, Boston; Texas Performing Arts, University of Texas at Austin; Holland Festival, Amsterdam; Wexner Center for the Arts, The Ohio State University; The Momentary, Bentonville, Arkansas; Celebrity Series of Boston; and residency development through MassMOCA, North Adams, Massachusetts.
THIS PRESENTATION MADE POSSIBLE BY
Greater Columbus Arts Council
Ohio Arts Council
American Electric Power Foundation
The Columbus Foundation
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
Cardinal Health Foundation
Triptych (Eyes of One on Another)