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Danspace Project's Platform 2016: LOST & FOUND to Feature Over 80 Artists

Since their inception in 2009, the Platform series, Danspace Project's signature curatorial initiative, has "given dance presentation a makeover." (The New York Times). Conceived by Danspace Project Executive Director and Chief Curator Judy Hussie-Taylor as exhibitions that unfold over time, Platforms are multi-week series of performances and events, organized by guest curators, that act as deep inquiries into artistic practice and concerns. Ten Platforms have been held to date, each accompanied by a print catalogue.

Platform 2016: Lost & Found, the eleventh and most ambitious edition to date, will examine the impact of AIDS on generations of artists. Running October 6-November 19, Danspace Project will present over 80 artists in 28 events, including world premiere performances, conversations, a zine project, a print catalogue, film screenings, and a vigil. Curated by Ishmael Houston-Jones and Will Rawls, Platform 2016: Lost & Found will look back at the plague years of mass AIDS hysteria, specifically 1981-1996. The series will "try to recover the loss of a generation of mentors, role models, and muses," says Houston-Jones, "and what effect that absence has had on the current generation of artists."

Platform 2016: Lost & Found originated with Houston-Jones's rediscovery of a pamphlet of collected writings remembering the choreographer John Bernd, who died of AIDS in 1988. Bernd was one of the earliest New York choreographers to represent gay sexuality and the disease explicitly in his work. The Platform title is taken from Bernd's trio of dances entitled Lost and Found, first performed at Danspace Project in 1981. Bernd is just one of a generation of artists who died too young and have been all-but forgotten today.

Houston-Jones asks, "How is one able to, or can one, explain the pain, confusion, rage, and fear that HIV/AIDS caused a whole generation? Are there young LGBTQ artists who are making work today unconsciously under the influence of John Bernd and all the others who died before they were born?"

Platform 2016: Lost & Found will place particular emphasis on countering the historical perception around HIV/AIDS as a disease that primarily impacTEd White gay communities. Hussie-Taylor comments, "in Lost & Found, the curators have kept in mind those who have been disproportionately impacted by AIDS in the United States which was, and continues to be, gay, bisexual, transgender, and female African Americans and Latinx."

Bill T. Jones, Neil Greenberg, and Archie Burnett, three artists whose work and personal lives have been deeply impacted by the AIDS epidemic, open Platform 2016: Lost & Found with a series of conversations, presentations, and performances. Their participation, October 13-15, follows the kick-off event on October 6, which celebrates the publication of the Lost & Found catalogue.

Platform 2016: Lost & Found will be bookended by Conversations Without Walls (CWW), another signature Danspace Project initiative that began in 2011. These long-form, Saturday afternoon events bring together artists, scholars, writers, and others to provide context and insight into Lost & Found programming. These editions of Conversations Without Walls will include four commissioned responses, part performance and part presentation, where a living artist tackles the legacy of an artist who died of AIDS. On October 15, Mariana Valencia will respond to the work of Assotto Saint (1957-1994) and Raja Feather Kelly will respond to the work of Ethyl Eichelberger (1945-1990). On November 19, Katy Pyle will respond to the work of Greer Lankton (1958-1996) and Narcissister will respond to the work of Alvin Ailey (1931-1989).

Running over six weeks, the majority of Platform 2016: Lost & Found will take place in Danspace Project's East Village home at St. Mark's Church (131 East 10th Street, Manhattan). Partner venues include Museum of Modern Art, The New Museum, Howl! Happening: An Arturo Vega Project, Arts On Site, and The Graduate Center, CUNY.

Tickets, priced at $20 ($15 members) unless otherwise noted, can be purchased by visiting or by calling (866) 811.4111. Ticket prices and complete programming details can be found below.

Platform 2016: Lost & FoundOpening Week Events:

October 6, 7pm
Readings from Lost & Found: A Preview of Platform 2016
The New Museum (235 Bowery)
Admission: $15 General / $10 New Museum members. Tickets on sale at in September (are they on sale yet?).

An evening in partnership with The New Museum to preview the release of the Lost & Found catalogue: Dance, New York, HIV/AIDS, Then and Now, edited by Ishmael Houston-Jones, Will Rawls, and Jaime Shearn Coan. Contributors Houston-Jones, Theodore Kerr, Linda Simpson, and Julie Tolentino will read selections from the catalogue and engage in a conversation moderated by Judy Hussie-Taylor, Editor-in-Chief of the Danspace Project publication series.

The Lost and Found catalogue is the 11th published by Danspace Project since 2010. Contributors include: niv Acosta, Penny Arcade, Marc Arthur, Tyler Ashley, AUNTS, Arthur Avíles, John Bernd, Archie Burnett, C.Carr, Travis Chamberlain, Jaime Shearn Coan, Peter Cramer, Douglas Crimp, Eduardo C. Corral, DarkMatter, Brenda Dixon Gottschild, Talya Epstein, Karen Finley, Dan Fishback, Nan Goldin, Neil Greenberg, Miguel Gutierrez, Ishmael Houston-Jones, Denise Roberts Hurlin, Bill T. Jones, Niall Noel Jones, Deborah Jowitt, John Kelly, Theodore Kerr, Kia Labeija, Joshua Lubin-Levy, Tim Miller, Eileen Myles, Willi Ninja, Eiko Otake, iele paloumpis, Nicky Paraiso, Marissa Perel, Stephen Petronio, Will Rawls, Joan Retallack, Jen Rosenblit, Sarah Schulman, Lucy Sexton, Linda Simpson, Danez Smith, Pamela Sneed, Sally Sommer, Muna Tseng, David Thomson, Julie Tolentino, Larissa Velez-Jackson, Jack Waters, Jeff Weinstein, Reggie Wilson, and Eva Yaa Asantewaa.

October 13, 8pm
An Evening with Bill T. Jones
Danspace Project (131 East 10th Street)
Admission: $10 General

Bill T. Jones, Artistic Director of New York Live Arts and choreographer/co-founder of Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company, will join Lost & Found curators Ishmael Houston-Jones and Will Rawls in conversation and films of excerpts of early duets performed and choreographed by Jones and the late Arnie Zane, his partner in life and dance who died of AIDS in 1988.

Bill T. Jones, a critically acclaimed dancer/choreographer, is the co-founder and Artistic Director of Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company and Artistic Director of New York Live Arts. Jones has received major honors ranging from a 1994 MacArthur Genius Award to a 2010 Kennedy Center Honor to a 2013 National Medal of Arts named "An Irreplaceable Dance Treasure" by the Dance Heritage Coalition.

October 14, 8pm
An Evening with Neil Greenberg
Danspace Project (131 East 10th Street)
Admission: $10 General

In 1994, Neil Greenberg created Not-About-AIDS-Dance in response to the loss of his brother, AIDS activist Jon Greenberg, and nine other friends to AIDS. Alongside live performance and a conversation with Jaime Shearn Coan, Greenberg will screen excerpts of the work, which features Greenberg and performers Ellen Barnaby, Christopher Batenhorst, Justine Lynch, Jo McKendry, music fragments by Zeena Parkins, and lighting by Michael Stiller.

Neil Greenberg: Merce Cunningham Dance Company 1979-1986; choreographies include Not-About-AIDS-Dance(1994), which employs his use of projected text as a layering strategy that provides doors into "meanings" in the dance, while raising questions about the nature of meaning-making; teaches at Eugene Lang College, The New School.

October 15, 11am
Archie Burnett workshop
Danspace Project (131 East 10th Street)
Admission: $10 Participants / $5 Observers

A major force in the underground dance scene of the past 30 years, Archie Burnett was a close friend of Willi Ninja (1961-2006) and co-originator of freestyle forms Voguing and Waacking. This class is an introduction to Waacking and Voguing. Waacking is a style of dance that was birthed in the early 1970's underground dance scene and surfaced on the ever ground-breaking Soul Train, along with Voguing, a dance popularized in the underground gay scene. This workshop is applicable and accessible to all and will conclude with a conversation between Burnett and choreographer Darrell Jones.

Archie Burnett is a well-respected force in the underground dance world. He has performed and taught his craft in various parts of the world. His bodies of work range from music videos, to features in dance magazines like Dance Ink, and the Village Voice dance section feature, to performance coaching for up-and-coming recording artists.

October 15, 1:30-6pm
Conversation Without Walls: One of Two
Danspace Project (131 East 10th Street)
Admission: $10 Suggested at the door

1:30-2:30pm: "LOST: Curating Absence" an overview of Platform 2016: Lost & Found with Ishmael Houston-Jones and Will Rawls moderated by Judy Hussie-Taylor. Curators will discuss the late John Bernd and his work as the original impetus for the Platform, and they will address the evolving curatorial process of the last three years.

2:45pm: "Life Drawing" Response #1: Mariana Valencia responding to the work of Assotto Saint

3-4pm: "FOUND: Feminism, AIDS, and History" Heidi Dorow, Muna Tseng, Lucy Sexton, Eva Yaa Asantewaa, moderated by Marýa Wethers

In her article "Doing Queer Love," Lisa Deidrich writes about the relationship between feminism and AIDS activism, trying "to think through the ways that the coming together of these two struggles in a particular place and time-New York City in the 1980s-created particular practices that might be effective in other times and places." This conversation brings together four artists who will discuss their relationships to feminism, queer activism and AIDS activism from the 1980s to the present.

4:15pm: "Life Drawing" Response #2: Raja Feather Kelly responding to the work of Ethyl Eichelberger

4:30-5pm: Darrell Jones lecture/performance

5:30-6pm: Wrap-Up with Mariana Valencia, Darrell Jones, Raja Feather Kelly, and all panelists.

"Life Drawing" Responses propose an intergenerational discussion around artistic influence, portraiture, and performed history, Lost and Found has provided four performers with "dossiers" consisting of images, flyers, biographies, documentation, and other ephemera. Responding to these dossiers, Raja Feather Kelly, Mariana Valencia, Narcissister, and Katy Pyle explore the act of reconstructing, or responding to, the life, work, and mythology of Ethyl Eichelberger (1945-1990), Assotto Saint (1957-1994), Alvin Ailey (1931-1989), and Greer Lankton(1958-1996). Considering these live events as a cross between performance and presentation, the Platform encourages these artists to approach the embodiment of widely-known or unsung artists through an exploration of their own artistic questions.

Ishmael Houston-Jones is a curator, author, choreographer, and teacher. He was the curator for Platform 2012: Parallels and curates the DraftWork series, both at Danspace Project. He has received two New York Dance and Performance "Bessie" Awards, as well as Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Doris Duke, and Herb Alpert Awards.

Will Rawls is a choreographer, writer and performer based in Brooklyn. He curated two film programs for Platform 2012: Parallels and continues to write and curate on a freelance basis. He is recipient of the 2015 Foundation for Contemporary Arts Award and a 2017 Robert Rauschenberg Residency.

John Bernd (1953-1988), one of the first persons with AIDS in the Downtown Dance scene, was a "Bessie" Award-winning choreographer, performer, and "ethical guiding light." He performed his work at PS 122, Danspace Project and Dance Theater Workshop. He died in New York on August 28, 1988 of AIDS-related complications, at the age of 35.

Assotto Saint (1957-1994) was a poet, playwright, performer, editor, publisher, and activist, born in Haiti and raised in Queens. He formed Metamorphosis Theater, the band Xotica, along with Galiens Press, publishing two books of his own poetryand three anthologies of poetry by black gay men.

Heidi Dorow lives and works in NYC and tries very hard to love everybody.

Muna Tseng, (born Hong Kong, lives and works in New York), is a choreographer and performer and Founder and Artistic Director of Muna Tseng Dance Projects and serves on the Bessies: New York Dance & Performance Awardcommittee. She has won prestigious awards in contemporary performance and choreography and lectures globally.

Lucy Sexton works in dance, theatre and film. Beginning in the 1980s, she and Anne Iobst created, performed and toured with the seminal dance-performance group DANCENOISE. She also performs as The Factress. She is currently the Executive Director of the NY Dance and Performance Awards, The Bessies.

Eva Yaa Asantewaa's writing has appeared in Dance Magazine, The Village Voice, SoHo Weekly News, Gay City Newsand other venues since 1976. Ms. Yaa Asantewaa writes the popular InfiniteBody arts blog (, founded in 2007, and was a WBAI broadcaster on the arts, LGBTQ issues, and spirituality (1987-89).

Marýa Wethers is a dancer based in NYC since 1997. She is currently dancing with iele paloumpis and has performed with many other incredible artists over the years. She also works as an Independent Manager, Producer, and Curator.

Raja Feather Kelly, recipient of the 2016 Solange MacArthur Award for New Choreography, and 2016 NYFA Fellowship for Choreography, is the first and only choreographer to dedicate the entirety of his company's work to Andy Warhol. In search of the connections between popular culture and humanity, Kelly choreographs, writes, and directs his own work as Artistic Director of the feath3r theory.

Ethyl Eichelberger (1945-1990) was a Downtown drag performer, a musician, playwright, and actor. Ethyl acted for The Ridiculous Theatre Company and Trinity Repertory Company, and his plays were staged at venues including The Pyramid Club, King Tut's Wah Wah Hut, and 8 B.C. He was unable to tolerate AZT and died from AIDS-related suicide.

Darrell Jones has researched with a variety of choreographers and companies such as Urban Bush Women, Ralph Lemon, Min Tanaka, and Bebe Miller. Darrell is presently an Associate Professor at the Columbia College Chicago Dance Center.

October 15, 8pm
An Evening with Archie Burnett: Celebrating the Legacy of Willi NinjaDanspace Project (131 East 10th Street)
Admission: $10 General

Voguing icons Archie Burnett and the late Willi Ninja (1961-2006) were the original fathers of the legendary House of Ninja.

Burnett will discuss Willi's life, movement innovations, and singular contributions to the Voguing form. He will show rare archival footage of their work and will be joined by a younger generation of Ninjas who will perform an homage to Willi, including two works: East of Red and Willi's Dream.

Archie Burnett is a well-respected force in the underground dance world. He has performed and taught his craft in various parts of the world. His bodies of work range from music videos, to features in dance magazines like Dance Ink, and the Village Voice dance section feature, to performance coaching for up-and-coming recording artists.

Willi Ninja (1961-2006) was a dancer and choreographer raised in Queens. A key figure in the New York ball scene, he's often credited with bringing vogueing to international attention, through appearances in music videos and films, touring, and teaching. He died of AIDS-related heart failure in New York City on September 2, 2006.

Danspace Project presents new work in dance, supports a diverse range of choreographers in developing their work, encourages experimentation, and connects artists to audiences. Now in its fourth decade, Danspace Project has supported a vital community of contemporary dance artists in an environment unlike any other in the United States. Located in the historic St. Mark's Church in-the-Bowery, Danspace shares its facility with the Church, The Poetry Project, and New York Theatre Ballet. Danspace Project's Commissioning Initiative has commissioned over 480 new works since its inception in 1994.

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