PS122 Awards Mike Iveson 2013 Ethyl Eichelberger Award
Performance Space 122 (PS122) has announced that multi-talented performance artist Mike Iveson is the winner of the 2013 Ethyl Eichelberger Award. Since 1995, PS122 has given this commissioning award annually to an artist or group that exemplifies Eichelberger's larger-than-life style and generosity of spirit; that embodies his multi-talented artistic virtuosity, bridging worlds and inspiring those around them. Iveson will receive an initial $5,000 commission to create a new work along with full production support when the work premieres during an upcoming PS122 season. The Ethyl Eichelberger award is made possible by the generosity of the Gesso Foundation.
PS122 Artist Director Vallejo Gantner said, "As an actor, writer, composer and performance artist, Mike Iveson has been an essential collaborator with great dance and theater artists. His generosity and goodwill is well known. It's high time for Mike to make his own work. The Ethyl Eichelberger award has a history of encouraging artists to commit to their unique creative vision for the first time."
Standing 6'2" before donning his trademark stiletto heels and skyscraper wigs, Ethyl Eichelberger (1945-1990) was a seminal performer, a landmark and a legend. His work inspired his contemporaries and those who came after him. His spirit and artistic adventurousness was an intrinsic component of what came to be viewed as the PS122 aesthetic. The institution created the Ethyl Eichelberger Award was created to honor Eichelberger's memory and to create a bridge between PS122's past and future.
Eichelberger was an imposing figure and a great influence on the East Village performance scene in the 1980s. A classically trained actor, he worked with Charles Ludlam's Ridiculous Theatrical Company before breaking out to do his own work. He wrote nearly 40 plays portraying women of history and myth, including Jocasta, Medea, Nefertiti, Clytemnestra, and Lucrezia Borgia, for which he won an Obie. Eichelberger mixed classical references with pop culture and political rants. His shows included accordion playing, fire eating, and high-heeled cartwheels. Singing his trademark song "We are women who survive," Eichelberger was generous in spirit, fearless on stage, and an inspiration to experience. Eichelberger lived with HIV for several years before taking his own life in 1990.