Michael Novak and Robert Storr are in conversation about Alex Katz’s long-standing fascination with dance and collaborations with renowned playwrights and choreographers. Get your ticket from Eventbrite. Can’t attend? Preorder a copy of the catalogue signed by Alex Katz.
Since Alex Katz first painted the Paul Taylor in 1959, he has invited dancers to model for him. Dance, according to the artist, belongs to the same “long tradition of gestures” as painting. This publication is the first to examine the many decades of Katz’s work for the stage, including the ways that he introduced tenets of postwar painting into theater and dance aesthetics.
“I’d never seen anything like it,” Katz recalls of his first encounter with the work of dancer and choreographer Paul Taylor. The two partnered on fifteen productions for which Katz innovated with flat lighting, humorous obstacles, and framing mechanisms. His involvement with Paul Taylor led to collaborations with other companies including Yoshiko Chuma, Laura Dean, William Dunas, and Parsons.
Among Katz’s most celebrated sets is the ensemble of cutouts he created for Kenneth Koch’s 1961 production, George Washington Crossing the Delaware. Katz heightened the absurdity of the Revolutionary War-inspired play with Pop-adjacent figures and props. This publication brings together paintings, sketches, costumes, photographs, film stills, and ephemera. Newly-commissioned essays, unpublished materials, and major paintings will provide an overview of Katz’s working relationships with individual choreographers and shed new light on avant-garde collaborations in New York between the 1960s and 80s.
Robert Storr is a curator, critic, painter, and writer. He served as curator, Department of Paintings and Sculpture, at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, from 1990-2002 and Dean of the School of Art at Yale University, from 2006-2016. Among his many honors are a Penny McCall Foundation Grant for painting, a Norton Family Foundation Curator Grant, and honorary doctorates from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Maine College of Art. He also has received awards from the American Chapter of the International Association of Art Critics, a special AICA award for Distinguished Contribution to the Field of Art Criticism, an ICI Agnes Gund Curatorial Award, and the Lawrence A. Fleischman Award for Scholarly Excellence in the Field of American Art History from the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Art. In 2000 the French Ministry of Culture presented Storr with the medal of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres, and he was the commissioner of the 2007 Venice Biennale, the first American invited to assume that position.
Michael Novak, a critically acclaimed Paul Taylor dancer from 2010 to 2019, became the second Artistic Director in the history of the Paul Taylor Dance Foundation in September 2018, having been chosen by Mr. Taylor to succeed him upon his death. Under Novak’s direction, the Paul Taylor Dance Company continues to be one of the world’s premier dance companies, with robust domestic and international touring; an ever-expanding repertory that includes the Taylor canon, historical masterpieces, and works he commissions; an annual engagement at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts; and several education programs to inspire the next generation of dancers and dance advocates.