Wendy Shalen drawing her self-portrait, which she titles “Remembering Babs.”
APRIL 24, 2014 Our Town 13
FOR THE WEEK BY GABRIELLE ALFIERO
DANCE DANCE THEATER OF HARLEM 45TH ANNIVERSARY SEASON As part of the company’s 45th anniversary season, Dance Theater of Harlem will present three new works during its upcoming run at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Founded in 1969 by Arthur Mitchell, the ﬁrst African-American dancer in New York City Ballet, Dance Theater of Harlem will premiere past-carry-forward, a study of the Great Migration of African-Americans from the Southern United States to the north during the early 20th century. Dance Theater of Harlem also presents Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven, which will show for the ﬁrst time in New York City since its debut in 1993, as well as the New York premiere of Pas de Dix from Raymonda, along with other new and revived pieces. Lincoln Center Frederick P. Rose Hall 3 Columbus Circle Wednesday, April 23-Sunday, April 27 Assorted show times Tickets $30-$90
The discovery of the photo album, coupled with her mother’s decline, inspired her latest show, “Family Matters,” a collection of 46 family portraits and images that opened at Prince Street Gallery on April 22. Incorporating a range of mediums, including charcoal, watercolor, dry point etchings and handmade paper, Shalen’s exhibit features graphite portraits of her mother and father, drawn from the photographs she found in the album, alongside “Mom at 101,” the portrait of her mother in bed at her home in Bridgeport. While the show contemplates the process of aging, it also nods at generational continuum. Portraits of Shalen’s twin children, Samantha and Luke, now 33, are also central to the show. A watercolor of Luke as a young boy is paired with a graphite drawing of him as an adult, dressed in a jacket and tie, and smiling. “He’s so handsome now,” said Shalen. Samantha recently gave birth to a little girl, Mia, whom Shalen draws while she’s sleeping, just as she did with her own children. Watercolors and etchings of Samantha cradling Mia suggest a deliberate symmetry with a silverpoint
drawing of Mia as an infant, sleeping on her father’s chest. Though she’s always done ﬁgurative work, some of Shalen’s recent shows had a more political bent. In 2010 she exhibited portraits of homeless people, and her 2012 mixed media show “Washed Ashore” in Pound Ridge, New York, incorporated trash she found on beaches into watercolor and pastel seascapes. A few pieces directly responded to the BP oil spill. Shalen has also taught art since she graduated from Brandeis University in 1973. While a teacher at Birch Wathen Lenox School on the Upper East Side in the 1970s, she took courses at the Art Students League, where she now teaches. “In the summer I teach in the same room where I took classes,” Shalen said. “Which is really kind of crazy cool. I want to pinch myself.” The oldest piece in “Family Matters” was done in 1980, the year her grandmother died, at the age of 90, and the year Shalen’s twins were born. Her strongest memories of her grandmother Sophie are of her knotted, arthritic hands constantly in motion as she knitted, crocheted and
sewed cloth napkins, lace and beaded collars. Shortly before Sophie’s death, Shalen drew a charcoal portrait of her grandmother wearing a shawl she’d knitted herself. “Much of the show is dedicated to her creative spirit,” Shalen said. “My mother was never happy about me remembering [Sophie] that way, unfortunately. It’s difficult to look at.” In a nod to her grandmother’s own artistic expression, Shalen, who also makes paper from her own recycled watercolor paintings, created a series of thick, stark white paper for the show, imprinted with pieces of her grandmother’s lace and crocheted linen. “You know, you’re getting older and you really do have a certain perspective on what is important here,” said Shalen. “And really, your family is important. Especially as an obsessed artist. Most of us, we do this, we think about it all the time, and I think it’s important to have the perspective that your family is really important and maybe ﬁgure out a way to do the work that you do but also show your love for your family.”
NAI-NI CHEN DANCE COMPANY 25TH ANNIVERSARY SEASON
Choreographer and dancer Nai-Ni Chen inaugurates her modern dance company’s 25th anniversary with a weekend of dance performed to live music. The weekend is highlighted by the premiere of “Not Alone,” a new piece choreographed by Chen that explores personal identity and independence. “Not Alone” was inspired by Li Bai’s Tang Dynasty-era poetry, and is performed to a score by Chinese composer Chen Yi, played live by PRISM saxophone quartet. Additional collaborators include the classical piano and string group Ahn Trio, hand-drum master Glen Velez and singer and composer Joan La Barbara. Salvatore Capezio Theater at Peridance 126 East 13 St. Saturday, April 26 at 8:00 p.m. Sunday, April 27 at 3:00 p.m. Tickets $25
DIRECTED BY ROB REINER
GALLERIES CARTER BURDEN GALLERY PRESENTS SENIOR ARTISTS The nonproﬁt Carter Burden Gallery opens its spring season with two exhibitions by professional artists Gerson Leiber and Arnold Wechsler. Leiber, who’s married to handbag designer Judith Leiber (with whom he opened the Leiber Collection gallery near their home in East Hampton to house their own works) presents “Rites of Spring: A Modernist View of Nature,” a series of recent drawings and bright, expressionistic paintings. Wechsler has exhibited extensively in New York and internationally for more than 30 years. Carter Burden Gallery 548 West 28 St. April 24 through May 15 Opening reception Thursday, April 24 6:008:00 p.m. Gallery hours: Tuesday-Friday 11:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Saturday 11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
As the Film Society gears up to honor actor and director Rob Reiner with the 41st-annual Chaplin Award (previous recipient Martin Scorsese will present Reiner with the award at a gala on April 28), Film Society Lincoln Center will present four of his classic ﬁlms, including two adaptations of Stephen King stories: the suspense-thriller “Misery,” starring Kathy Bates and James Caan, and the coming-of-age tale “Stand By Me,” featuring a young River Phoenix. Reiner’s comedy “The Princess Bride” is also presented during a kid-friendly matinee on Sunday, April 28. “A Few Good Men” rounds out the mini-retrospective of Reiner’s work. Film Society Lincoln Center Francesca Beale Theater 144 West 65th St. Sunday, April 27 and Monday, April 28 Assorted show times Tickets $10
BOOKS MONA SIMPSON, NORMAN RUSH AND ANN CLOSE Mona Simpson reads from her new novel, “Casebook,” which explores a failing marriage and buried secrets, as discovered by a young boy who starts investigating his parents’ private lives during their separation. She’s joined by National Book Award winner Norman Rush, whose latest novel, “Subtle Bodies” delves into the complexities of marriage and friendship through relationships between old college friends. Both authors will join in conversation with their Knopf editor, Ann Close. McNally Jackson 52 Prince Street Monday, April 28 7:00 p.m. FREE
The April 24th, 2014 issue of Our Town Downtown.