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Charles Atlas: Dance! Dance! Dance!
March 14, 2015 7:30 pm
“Ex-Romance”, 1987 (48 min)
“Hail the New Puritan”, 1985 (84 min)
As part of the ATLAS IN LA festival, a nine-day festival of film screenings, which will occur March 10th-19th at eight venues around Los Angeles, Human Resources presents a night of Charles Atlas’ two most well known dance-narratives. In Ex-Romance, Atlas’ fascination with “narrative, psychology, dance, and flights of fantasy,” is manifested in this dynamic videodance musical. Here the postmodern choreography of Karole Armitage is performed by Armitage, Michael Clark and others to American pop and Latin music. Framed and interrupted by the ironic observations of two parodic “public television” commentators, the dancers play fictionalized versions of themselves in a wry tale of contemporary romance, in which the dance literally and metaphorically advances the narrative. Hail the New Puritan is a simulated day-in-the-life of British dance celebrity/choreographer Michael Clark. Atlas’ fictive portrait of the charismatic choreographer serves as a vivid invocation of the studied decadence of the 1980s post-punk London subculture. Contriving a faux cinema-verite format in which to stage his stylized fiction, Atlas seamlessly integrates Clark’s extraordinary dance performances into the docu-narrative flow. Focusing on Clark’s flamboyantly postured eroticism and the artifice of his provocative balletic performances, Atlas posits the dance as a physical manifestation of Clark’s psychology.
Atlas’ practice is firmly rooted in the moving image, and he is most famous for works that blur the line between experimental dance documentation and performance for the camera. In his 40-year career, he has produced dance films, experimental videos and documentary features. Atlas has collaborated extensively with other artists, dancers and choreographers, including Marina Abramovic, Antony and the Johnsons, Leigh Bowery, Michael Clark, Merce Cunningham, and Yvonne Rainer. Atlas has exhibited internationally at Tate Modern, Centre Pompidou, De Hallen, South London Gallery, SALT Istanbul, Walker Art Center, and he has been included in four Whitney Biennials including 2012, but his work has rarely screened in Los Angeles. ATLAS IN LA, is an opportunity to expose the city of Los Angeles to many more of Atlas’ films and videos.
Charles Atlas was born in St. Louis, MO in 1949; he has lived and worked in New York City since the early 1970s. His work has been exhibited and is in the permanent collections of such institutions as Tate Modern, London; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston; Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and the New Museum, New York, among many others.
ATLAS IN LA is organized by Paul Pescador. Images and content courtesy of the artist, Electronic Arts Intermix and Luhring Augustine.
Media partner: ForYourArt. For full festival details and more information about Charles Atlas, please visit: atlasinla.tumblr.com.