IN RESPONSE:
Leonard Cohen
Sunday, May 5, 2019
6:30 pm EST

Columbia University Visual Arts MFA candidates and recent alumni presented new video, performance, and installation-based artworks in response to Leonard Cohen: A Crack in Everything. The first exhibition entirely devoted to the imagination and legacy of the influential singer/songwriter, man of letters, and global icon from Montréal, Canada the presentation included commissioned works by a range of international artists who have been inspired by Cohen’s style and recurring themes in his work, a video projection showcasing Cohen’s own drawings, and a multimedia gallery where visitors can hear covers of Cohen songs.

Participating Artists:
Roni Aviv
Fontaine Capel
Julian Day
Vikram Divecha
Clare Koury
Saskia Krafft and Noah Rott
Katharine Marais
James McCracken Jr.
Bradley Pitts
Bat-Ami Rivlin


See the program brochure︎

Roni Aviv
10 New Photographs
Installation

A photographic series of ten double sided postcards in a limited edition of 100. The project was inspired by Leonard Cohen’s album Ten New Songs. 10 New Photographs is an intimate entry point into the artist’s life, at non-thrill moments of play, pondering, longing, long sighs and long stares.

Fontaine Capel
La única turista en La Habana vuelve sus pensamientos hacia la patria
Performance

This performance centers around a new translation of Leonard Cohen’s poem “The Only Tourist in Havana Turns His Thoughts Homeward,” written in Havana during the Bay of Pigs invasion. It responds to his song “Take This Waltz,” which is a sung translation of the poem “Pequeño Vals Vienés” by Federico García Lorca. A daughter of Cuban migration, Capel considers the island’s role as artistic haven and muse for these young, well-to-do artists, as well as the censorship under which Cuban artists work today. Citing the visual conventions of karaoke—a democratized performance space— La única turista... asks what artists owe each other in their dialogue, translation, and homage.

Julian Day
International House
Performance

How does it feel to remain a constant visitor? In 1956 Leonard Cohen arrived in New York to spend a year at Columbia University. Exactly sixty years later, Day arrived in the city, studying at the same institution, and now operates in their own student limbo. Here Day conflates their experiences through the intermediaries of visas, student housing and the specter of Day’s father, an aspiring singer-songwriter who died at around the age Cohen’s musical career took off.

Vikram Divecha
Gallery 354
Sound

Gallery 354 houses many objects from Melanesia at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Taking the subdued lighting in Gallery 354 as a departure point, this work is a meditation on exposure, failure, time, loss and darkness.

Clare Koury
New Skin
Performance

A performance using sound processing machines to manipulate and distort a preexisting audio recording in real time. A track from Leonard Cohen’s New Skin for the Old Ceremony is the source material from which new textures and variations are derived.

Saskia Krafft and Noah Rott
Famous Blue Poetry Machine
Performance

This piece investigates relationships between the impulse-giver who plays a keyboard, the machine, the word, materiality of a sculpture, and sonic poetry. Digitally altered excerpts of Leonard Cohen’s song “Famous Blue Raincoat” and the movements of a wearable sculpture make reference to The Poetry Machine by Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller, on view in the second-floor exhibition galleries.

Katharine Marais
Altar of Flowers 
Performance

This piece is a collaboration between Marais, Brandon Graham of Dream Phases (music), John Rockwell (reading of the poem), and Mark Anthony Gieringer (costume design), about Laila, a melancholic spinster botanical illustrator, who muses on the visions of desperate femininity and fading fertility that she sees in flowers.

James McCracken Jr.
The King of Greenwich Village
Video

Super 8 video accompanied by a conversation over coffee, while on a Bleecker Street bench.

Bradley Pitts
Chord
Installation

1. An emotional response, especially one of sympathy

2. A group of notes sounded together, as a basis of harmony

3. The line segment between two points on a given curve

4. An anatomical structure resembling a length of cord

5. Homophone of cord: a thin, flexible string or rope made from several twisted strands; any influence that binds or restrains; a moral, spiritual, or emotional bond

Bat-Ami Rivlin
Untitled
Performance

Through the simple act of trace, a projected performance exhibits the relationship between material and memory. Centered on stage, a chair and small table hold a mirror. The performer, sitting with her back to the audience, drafts a self-portrait that is projected onto the screen. As the only access the audience has to the performance, this projection acts as a window into the thought process of the figure on stage, allowing the audience to peek into this impossible, intimate act of bridging the fluctuating space created when the body looks at itself.

Installation views of the exhibition Leonard Cohen: A Crack in Everything. The Jewish Museum, New York. April 12 - September 8, 2019. Photo: Frederick Charles. Event photography by Will Ragozzino/SocialShutterbug.com 


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