Rachel Rosenthal

Rachel Rosenthal’s Birthday Bash 83

photo by Michael ChildersPioneering Interdisciplinary Artist Rachel Rosenthal Celebrates Her 83rd Birthday, A New Book, And Announces New Performance Ensemble At Track 16 Gallery’s Cultural Event of the Year

“Rachel Rosenthal’s Birthday Bash 83”

LOS ANGELES, CA – Los Angeles’ own living legend Rachel Rosenthal has a lot to celebrate this November! The interdisciplinary performer, animal activist, master teacher, and iconic artist will be honored on Saturday, November 7, 2009, with the cultural event of the year – “Rachel Rosenthal’s Birthday Bash 83.” From 7:00 to 11:00 p.m., Track 16 Gallery at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica, California will host the occasion, which will celebrate Rosenthal’s 83rd birthday, the release of her upcoming book The DbD Experience: Chance Knows What it’s Doing!, and will announce her Company’s new performance troupe, TOHUBOHU! Extreme Theater Ensemble.


In honor of the 83 years Rosenthal has spent on the planet, the event will feature an exhibit and silent art auction of the highest caliber. The auction will include 83 abstract, conceptual, and representational “portraits” of Rosenthal in a diverse range of media by exceptional established and emerging artists including a number of art world legends such as John BaldessariMike Kelley and Robert Rauschenberg*. Admission will cost $25. Tickets will be available online through Rosenthal’s site and at the door on the night of the event. Track 16 Gallery is located at 2525 Michigan Ave. Building C1, Santa Monica, CA 90404. For more information on the venue, please call 310-264-4678 or visit http://www.track16.com. For more information on Rosenthal and this event, please call 310-839-0661 or visit http://www.rachelrosenthal.org.


The 83 artist works being donated for the event’s exhibit and silent auction are from a mind-blowing array of artists. In addition to Baldessari, Kelley and Rauschenberg, art world luminaries such as Lita AlbuquerqueEleanor AntinJudy BacaLlyn FoulkesGeorge HermsMartin KerselsEd MosesLee MullicanBetye SaarMasami TeraokaPatssi Valdez, and June Wayne have confirmed their involvement. For a full list of participating artists to date please visit: www.rachelrosenthal.org/rr/party.html. Auction proceeds will support Rachel Rosenthal Company’s TOHUBOHU! Extreme Theater Ensemble performances, student scholarships, and visiting artist stipends. This special evening will also include a Champagne toast, an outrageous cake created by Joan Spitler and Leigh Grode of the world-renowned Cake Divas, and live music by Amy Knoles from the California E.A.R. Unit as well as Jean Paul Monsché of the Mad Alsacians.


In the past 25 years, Rosenthal has presented over 35 of her own original performance pieces – thought provoking works centered on humanity’s place on the planet. According to Artweek Magazine, “Rosenthal defines what differentiates quality performance art from mundane theatrical exercise…she took us into her reality, and for that brief and precious moment, she altered our vision of the world. This is what great art can and should do.”


Rosenthal’s long-awaited book, The DbD Experience: Chance Knows What it’s Doing!, a mix of memoir, philosophical musing, manifesto and teaching manual, will be published this fall by Routledge. DbD (Doing by Doing) is Rosenthal’s signature brand of improvisational theater. This is the first time she has written about her teaching methods. In the 168-page book, she explores improvisational theater and its relationship to life, offering a blow-by-blow account of what happens in Rosenthal’s 32-hour DbD weekend intensive workshops. Throughout the book, she describes the processes and exercises she invented and developed over the last fifty years. Routledge, a global publisher of academic books, journals and online resources in the humanities and social sciences, will release the book in the UK this October, and in the US in December 2009.


Rosenthal opened her studio, Espace DbD, on Robertson Boulevard in Los Angeles in 1980. From 1980 to 1983, Rosenthal presented performances by many emerging and established performance artists including Barbara SmithEleanor AntinCheri GaulkeAlan KaprowJohn WhiteJoyce Cutler ShawTom Jenkins, and many others. Rosenthal founded The Rachel Rosenthal Company as an educational non-profit arts organization in 1989.


Rosenthal’s teaching methods were inspired by Jean-Louis Barrault‘s concept of “Total Theatre” and Antonin Artaud‘s “Le Theatre et Son Double.” What emerged is a zen-inspired performance aesthetic that integrates text, movement, voice, choreography, improvisation, costuming, lighting, and sets into seismic experiences. She has been nurturing a new troupe of performers that she will introduce to the world as her TOHUBOHU! Extreme Theater Ensemble in January 2010.


Rosenthal has performed in over 100 venues around the world including documenta 8 in Kassel, Germany, The Helsinki Festival, ICA London, The Performance Space in Sydney, The Whitney Museum in New York City, and Museum of Contemporary Art here in Los Angeles. The Pompidou Centre recently included her in its 2006 show Los Angeles 1955-1985. Her pioneering performances have earned Obie, Rockefeller, Getty, NEA and CAA awards, among others.


Born into an affluent Russian-Jewish family in Paris, Rosenthal’s father, Léonard Rosenthal, was a gem merchant widely known as The King of Pearls. During World War II, her family escaped France, moving to Rio de Janeiro by way of Portugal. After losing his material wealth to the Nazi’s, her father had to start over at age 65. In 1941, the family left Brazil to settle in New York where Rosenthal graduated from the High School of Music and Art and became a U.S. citizen. She studied art, theater and dance in Paris and New York after the war with such teachers as Hans HoffmannMerce CunninghamErwin Piscator, and Jean-Louis Barrault.


Rosenthal began her theatrical career in Los Angeles in the mid-1950s as artistic director and performer in her totally improvised “Instant Theater” for its ten-year run. A leading figure in the Southern California Arts movement of the 1960s and 1970s, Rosenthal was a pioneer in addressing feminist and animal rights issues, and was a founder of “Womanspace,” a hotbed of feminism.


In 1999, Rosenthal received an Honorary Doctorate from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; and in 2000 she was honored by the City of Los Angeles as a “Living Cultural Treasure of Los Angeles.” Critics have called her “a monument and a marvel” and Richard Schechner, editor of The Drama Review (TDR), put Rosenthal into the same category as Robert Wilson, Ping Chong, Richard Foreman, Meredith Monk, and Laurie Anderson.


* Thanks to the Estate of Robert Rauschenberg, one of the 83 donated works for the auction is of particular interest. Among the silent auction items is a 1994 Rauschenberg print honoring Rosenthal. This piece is from Rauschenberg’s “Tribute 21” suite of prints – a portfolio that pays tribute to inspirational leaders – 21 artworks, celebrating 21 humans, all impacting themes in the 21st century such as peace, social justice, and a sustainable environment. In the portfolio, Rachel Rosenthal shares company with illustrious world figures such as Nelson Mandela, Toni Morrison, Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Carl Sagan, Buckminster Fuller, and the Dalai Lama, among others.

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For more information, photos, or to request an interview, please contact Green Galactic’s Lynn Hasty at 213-840-1201 or lynn@greengalactic.com.

event details

Saturday, November 7, 2009

“Rachel Rosenthal’s Birthday Bash 83”

Track 16 Gallery
Bergamot Station
2525 Michigan Ave. Building C1, Santa Monica, CA 90404
310-264-4678 \\\\ http://www.track16.com

7:00 – 11:00pm
Admission $25

– An outrageous cake created by Joan Spitler and Leigh Grode of the world-renowned Cake Divas
– Live music by Amy Knoles from the California E.A.R. Unit as well as Jean Paul Monsché of the Mad Alsacians

Event info:
310-839-0661 \\\\ www.rachelrosenthal.org/rr/party.html

“There is nothing quite like a Rachel Rosenthal artistic materialization. Seeing (her) and experiencing her after-show discussion session firsthand is like sitting for a few minutes with Plato, listening to Rousseau or Jung or Thoreau speak in person. An evening with Rachel Rosenthal will stay with you a lifetime; do it for your future.” – Entertainment Today

“Rachel Rosenthal — bills herself simply as a performance artist. That’s about as accurate as calling the Taj Majal a house. The woman is a monument and a marvel. She is a force of nature…She is timeless, ageless, gutsy, quirky, exotic, potentially poignant.” – Los Angeles Times

“Rosenthal defines what differentiates quality performance art from mundane theatrical exercise…she took us into her reality, and for that brief and precious moment, she altered our vision of the world. This is what great art can and should do.” – ARTWEEK

Rachel Rosenthal Teaches The DbD Experience Workshop

The DbD Experience is a 32-hour intensive weekend created and taught by interdisciplinary artist Rachel Rosenthal.  Ms. Rosenthal developed the method applied to the DbDX during the 12 years of training people for her Instant Theatre Company active between the 50’s and 70’s in Los Angeles.  “Doing by Doing” is the underlying philosophy of the workshop, providing participants with a thorough hands-on experience covering all aspects of theatrical performance (body, voice, sound, music, movement, lights, sets and costumes), approached through exercises, processes and improvisations of solos, duets and group work.  The nuts and bolts aspect of the work is technical and professional. All levels of experience welcome.
 
Beginning Friday July 10th 6 pm to Midnight 
Saturday and Sunday July 11th and 12th from 10 am to  Midnight
 
Enrollment is limited to 14 participants.
 
Fee: $500.00
 
For more information call 310.839.0661
 

Earth Matters On Stage: Rachel Rosenthal

“One of the first things people ask me, is, did I know Arteaud?”

This is how Rachel Rosenthal begins her keynote.  Here at EMOS, it’s perfect. Artistic Director Theresa May has just given her a fantastic introduction. She is in a room full of full-out EcoDrama nerds, folks who don’t need an explanation of the guttaral relationship between earth and body, who know her and her work, or who at the very least don’t need a speech about earth-saving. They know Arteaud wrote “The Theatre and its Double,” and chuckle. She knows her audience.

Rosenthal junkies at EMOS got a major fix: a presentation which included her first performance in almost 10 years, an opportunity to buy Moira Roth’s Rosenthal anthology and have it signed by the artist, and the next morning, an analysis of her work by a panel of her former students and devoted independent scholars. Heady.

Rosenthal did not, in fact, know Arteaud, but he did “save her life:” his writing gave her a logical basis to begin creating her own unique brand of performance: eco-feminist, deeply personal, and dramatically sharp. Clips shown over the weekend included L.O.W. in Gaia, in which she writes her age on her bald head in lipstick and drags bags of trash behind her on the stage, and The Others, which included 42 “non-human animal” performers.

In a presentation days later given by Deke Weaver, an interesting conversation arose. What is the line between sharpened meduim and effective message? How do you articulate an important issue without pandering, how do you push the form without driving away your audience? Rosenthal is famous for creating a body of work that is made of her own body, stories and trembling articulations. Whether or not watching Gaia rise from a pile of garbage is your idea of an endurance test, it is deeply rooted in a sobbing, grappling love for the earth. Rosenthal was saddend to learn that Arteaud never saw his idea of theater realized onstage. But of her own methods, she decries: “I will not die without having seen it, because it’s MINE.”

Go to the Green Museum

Earth Matters On Stage: Blood and Bodies

That’s a shark signing his chummy painting above, proving once and for all that eco-art is not for the faint of heart.

It’s an image used by Una Chaudhuri in her keynote address  “Animal (and) Planet: Zooesis and Ecological Extremity”  at this year’s EMOS. Chaudhuri is responsible for major contributions to the written EcoDrama field, and so wields terms like “gynesis,” and “anthropological machine” expertly (even while folks like Mike Lawler and I are squinting to catch up).

It was a look at performance and animals– or performance and non-human animals, if you prefer.  The bookends of the speech were a piece called “Helena”, in which artist Marco Evaristti  gave the public the option of pulverizing live goldfish in blenders–  and the work of Olly and Suzi, who go out into the wilderness and make collaborative paintings with animals ( not just your alley cat or field mouse: see above).

So here I am, at a conference intended to examine the relationship between our planet and our performance art, and I have to confess that I feel silly using the term “non-human animal.” But that’s the essence of what Una Chaudhuri is addressing: at what point do we stop looking at “the others” as something we manipulate and use, and start acknowledging them as collaborators in our community– ecologically, and in this case, artistically?

These same themes come up again and powerfully in EMOS during a panel on Rachel Rosenthal’s work, and in the context of the artist’s own flesh and blood. There’s also much more: green theater practices, Boal, space, giraffes, rituals and rollings on the grass– I’ll be posting more frequently in the next week as the eco-nerddery swells my brain . . .

Go to the Green Museum

Una Chaudhuri’s Keynote at Earth Matters on Stage

una-wspark1Una Chaudhuri is Collegiate Professor and Professor of English and Drama at New York University. She is the author of No Man’s Stage: A Semiotic Study of Jean Genet’s Plays, and Staging Place: The Geography of Modern Drama, editor of Rachel’s Brain and Other Storms: The Performance Scripts of Rachel Rosenthal, and co-editor, with Elinor Fuchs, of Land/Scape/Theater. She is Guest Editor of a special issue of Yale’s Theater journal on “Ecology and Performance,” and of TDR: The Journal of Performance Studies on “Animals and Performance.” Her current research and publications explore “zooësis,” the representation of animals in contemporary media, culture and performance.