News & Stories

Creative Capital Newsletter Summer 2011

May 10, 2011

Welcome from Ruby
Coming Soon
Artists at Work
Chain of Opportunity
Creative News
Arts Writers & MAP Fund
Professional Development Program
Project Updates
More from Our Artists

Summer is almost upon us, and what a summer it will be! Earlier this month, we kicked the season off with our second annual Benefit & Auction at the beautiful home of Paige West here in New York. We had much to celebrate: our grantees’ amazing projects, our newest grant application round, and the wonderful news that five of our grantees were awarded 2011 Guggenheim Fellowships—Stephen Vitiello, Young Jean Lee, Jennifer & Kevin McCoy and Marina Zurkow.

This summer will be a busy time for our artists, many of whom, as you can read below, will premiere their Creative Capital projects and other exciting works. Just this month, we’ve had project premieres from Futurefarmers and Trimpin (on opposite sides of the country!), and in June, we’re excited to see premieres from Lynn Hershman Leeson, Billy Luther, PearlDamour, Kenseth Armstead and Anayansi Prado—quite the lineup!

Read on to learn more about these and other grantee projects and institutional news, and have a sunny, safe and wonderful summer!

Ruby Lerner

June 1: Lynn Hershman Leeson’s !Women Art Revolution premieres at IFC Center in New York
June 16–26: PearlDamour’s How to Build a Forest premieres at The Kitchen in New York
June 16, 18: Billy Luther’s GRAB premieres at the National Museum of the American Indian in New York
June 18, 20, 22
: Anayansi Prado’s Paraíso for Sale premieres at the Los Angeles Film Festival
June 23–August 1: Kenseth Armstead’s Spook™: INVOCATION premieres at LMAK Gallery in New York
September 2–17: Steve Cuiffo, Trey Lyford and Geoffrey Sobelle premiere Elephant Room at Philly Live Arts Festival
September: Pablo Helguera’s
School of PanAmerican Unrest Anthology is published by Jorge Pinto Books
September: Secos & Mojados
premiere Border Trip[tych] in San Jose

Last week at Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA, 2008 Visual Arts grantee Trimpin premiered The Gurs Zyklus, a performance combining instrumental and vocal music, sculpture and spoken word. The Gurs Zyklus (“Gurs Cycle”) was in some ways a culmination of many aspects of Trimpin’s career and personal biography, drawing together elements of his childhood in Germany, his artistic practice as an instrument-maker and the history of the internment camp at Gurs, near the Spanish-French border.

Trimpin’s road to Stanford began at the Creative Capital Artist Retreat, where he met Jenny Bilfield, Artistic and Executive Director of Stanford Lively Arts. Their meeting grew into a partnership between the University and the artist that has lasted throughout the current academic year, leading up to last week’s performance of The Gurs Zyklus. Trimpin is a Visiting Professor at the University's Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics, where he has been working with students to create the work. A number of special events throughout the spring set the stage for The Gurs Zyklus, including a DIY Musical Instrument Tailgate led by Trimpin and a public conversation between Trimpin and Paul DeMarinis on “Coincidence, Music, Memory and Meaning.”

Born in Istein, Germany in 1951, Trimpin was haunted by the camp at Gurs, where Jews from Istein were interned during World War II. As an adult, he worked with composer Conlon Nancarrow, who revealed that he had been held at Gurs during the Spanish Civil War. After mentioning Gurs in a 2006 profile in The New Yorker, Trimpin was contacted by Victor Rosenberg, who offered Trimpin more than 200 of his family’s letters mailed from the camp to use in his artistic practice.

These letters and other elements—united by history, profound coincidence and the power of Trimpin’s imagination—weave together The Gurs Zyklus: vocalists sing and recite texts drawn from the Rosenberg letters into “fire organs” of Trimpin’s invention. The work also features a water harp and “musical teeter-totter” by Trimpin. Projections of images from Gurs meld with film from Trimpin’s own retracing of the journey by train to the camp. Nancarrow’s compositions meet sounds Trimpin derived from bark patterns of the trees near Gurs—among the last living “witnesses” to the camp’s dark history.

Trimpin’s sound sculptures, installations and set designs have been commissioned by artists as diverse as Merce Cunningham, Samuel Beckett and the Kronos Quartet. These works have been exhibited and performed nationally and internationally. Trimpin’s awards include the MacArthur Foundation’s “Genius Award” and a Guggenheim Fellowship, as well as residencies at numerous art centers, universities and colonies. The Gurs Zyklus offers a new perspective on an important story now at the edges of living memory, as well as a stage experience that is immersive and deeply moving.

2009 Emerging Fields grantees Futurefarmers premiered their Shoemaker’s Dialogues in the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum’s Intervals series earlier this month. For ten days, Futurefarmers’ Amy Franceschini and Michael Swaine facilitated and hosted talks, readings, participatory art events and creations inside and outside the museum, all modeled on the series of dialogues that were said to have taken place outside of the Agora between Socrates and Simon the Shoemaker. Visitors to the Museum and the Church of the Ascension heard “Sole/Soul Sermons” by 2009 Innovative Literature grantees Bernadette Mayer and Rebecca Solnit, and participated in the “Pedestrian Press,” printing materials using a pair of shoes with stamps in the soles. At other sites in Brooklyn and Manhattan, attendees listened to a series of Dialogues on art, culture and shoes by professors of anthropology and sociology.

After initial screenings at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, 2008 Film/Video grantee Billy Luther’s GRAB will premiere next month at the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) in lower Manhattan as part of their At the Movies screenings series, June 16 and 18. The film’s accompanying photography exhibition, of the same title, has been on display at NMAI since late March and will continue to be open to the public through July 31. GRAB is an intimate portrait of the little-documented Grab Day festival in the villages of the Laguna Pueblo tribe, who annually throw water, food and household items from the rooftops of homes to people standing below—a community-wide prayer of abundance, thanks and renewal. Luther’s film, which is narrated by Parker Posey, follows three families as they prepare for the annual event, chronicling their lives for the year leading up to this day.

2009 Performing Arts grantees PearlDamour (Katie Pearl and Lisa D’Amour), bring their incredible How to Build a Forest to premiere next month at New York’s The Kitchen. How to Build a Forest is a site-specific, immersive performance experiment. The artists and their team will assemble and disassemble a simulated forest over the course of an eight-hour work shift on June 17, 18, 29, 24, 25 and 26. Audience members/visitors can enter the evolving installation or opt to simply linger and witness moments of performance, the way you might glimpse a rare bird or a flash of lightening in a real forest. The installation is created from found materials: metal pipes and fittings, ski poles, street debris, branches, and broom handles. The performance begins and ends with a bare stage and includes theatrical episodes, movement, and repeated, isolated interactions among performers, objects and viewers. PearlDamour and their team have been hard at work on their Forest in recent months at residencies from New Orleans to Appalachian State University in Boone, NC.

2008 Film/Video grantee Kenseth Armstead’s Spook™: INVOCATION will premiere next month at LMAK Projects in New York. Spook™: INVOCATION is the culmination of Armstead’s years of research on the life of historical figure James Armistead Lafayette, a slave-turned-spy who provided intelligence to help end the American Revolutionary War. The exhibition specifically focuses on the year 1781, when Lafayette was successfully working as a double agent for America’s first Director of Central Intelligence, George Washington. Spook™: INVOCATION is comprised of hand-drawn images that force the viewer to examine whether all of our history has been told. Lafayette, a lost hero, is drawn in context, for the first time, as a fully realized character. The drawings range from detailed close-ups, based on historical 18th-century portraiture of the main characters, to the use of the likeness of Jamie Foxx as Lafayette, to large scale, rough hewn battle scenes that viscerally channel the brutality of war.

Young Jean Lee, Jennifer & Kevin McCoy,
Stephen Vitiello and Marina Zurkow were awarded 2011 Guggenheim Fellowships… Marshall Curry and Sam Cullman’s If A Tree Falls won the Documentary Channel Grand Prize in the Documentary Competition at the Nashville Film Festival and a special jury prize at the Miami International Film Festival… Braden King’s HERE won the International Confederation of Art House Cinemas Prize at the 2011 Berlin Film Festival… Aaron Jafferis and Byron Au Yong’s Stuck Elevator was part of a three-week developmental retreat at the Sundance Institute Theatre Lab in Alberta, Canada… Banker White’s WeOwnTV received a $25,000 grant from the Bertha Foundation… Lisa D’Amour’s play Detroit was a finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and will open on Broadway this fall… Natalia Almada’s El Velador screened at the Cannes Film Festival… Rebecca Solnit’s Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas is the winner of the Northern California Book Award for Creative Nonfiction… David Neumann received a 2011 Foundation for Contemporary Arts grant… Deke Weaver presented The Unreliable Bestiary at the recent TEDX conference at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign… Pablo Helguera won the first International Award for Participatory Art from the Legislative Assembly of the Region Emilia-Romagna in Italy… Jae Rhim Lee is in residence at MAK Schindler Center for Art + Architecture in Los Angeles through September...

Creative Capital is working hard to prepare for our newest classes of grantees. The more than 3,200 Letters of Inquiry received in March have been read by our evaluators nationwide, and in June, selected artists will advance to the application phase. We are also looking ahead to February 2012, when our Letter of Inquiry will reopen for Performing Arts, Innovative Literature and Emerging Fields projects.

In other institutional news, President & Executive Director Ruby Lerner was honored by ArtTable, New York’s leadership organization for women in the visual arts, as part of their 30th Anniversary Celebration, April 15­­­–17. ArtTable hosted a conference on Advancing Leadership and Professional Development in the Arts with speakers from every corner of the arts community, and the weekend was capped with a gala, where Ruby and 29 other leading women in the arts were honored. “I am humbled and thrilled to be among ArtTable’s honorees,” said Lerner. “The organization is an important resource for women in the arts, and this weekend’s events and attendance are a testament to how valuable women’s voices are in our field!”

The Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant Program opened its 2011 application in late April. The application deadline is June 8, 2011. The Program provides grants to writers whose work addresses contemporary visual art through articles, blogs, books, new and alternative media, and short-form writing. Visit to learn more.

Just last month, The MAP Fund announced its 2011 grantees. MAP received 813 letters of inquiry in this round, which opened in January 2011. Of those, 500 were invited to make a full proposal, 213 went to panel and 40 projects were selected by the panel. Selections include 11 music-based performance works, 12 dance-based performance works and 17 theater-based performance works. Seattle-based KT Niehoff; New Orleanians Mondo Bizarro, Louis Michot and Millicent Johnnie; and Maine’s Jennie Hahn and Cory Tamler are among the new grantees, who represent a range of artistic disciplines and themes in their work. Visit for more information.

The Professional Development Program (PDP) is gearing up for a busy summer! Just last week, the online application opened for the 2011 Artists Summer Institute on Governors Island, which PDP will present in partnership with the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council for the second time. The Institute, which will be held July 27–31, is open to New York-based artists of all disciplines. Click here for more information.

PDP will also close its 2011 Workshop Subsidy Application on June 17. Workshop Subsidy Grants, made possible by The Kresge Foundation, are available to organizations nationwide wishing to bring PDP workshops to their artist communities. PDP workshops have had an incredible impact on the lives and practices of artists and communities around the country. In the months and years following workshop participation, individual participants have credited PDP with professional success on many levels, from achieving financial sustainability to an increased comfort with pitching one’s work to better negotiation skills. Artists from Nevada to Alaska, from Baton Rouge to Portland, Maine, from Raleigh to Oklahoma City have experienced PDP workshops with the help of Workshop Subsidy Grants provided to arts councils, organizations and presenters across the country. Visit for more information on the application.

Richard Pell
opens the permanent home of the Center for PostNatural History in Pittsburgh this summer
Eve Sussman
exhibits elements of whiteonwhite in Space. About a Dream at the Kunsthalle Wien in Vienna, Austria, through August 15
Heidi Latsky Dance
tours GIMP to the Crossings Dance Festival in Dusseldorf, Germany, June 10; La MaMa in New York, June 16–18; and the ICA in Boston, July 15-16
Catherine Herdlick
presents Cowgirl Way Society at LMCC's River to River Fest meets Come Out 'N' Play on Governor’s Island, New York City, June 24–25
presents State of Incarceration and Rude Mechs present The Method Gun at the RADAR LA Festival in June
Steve Cuiffo, Trey Lyford
and Geoffrey Sobelle develop Elephant Room in residency at Hunter College in New York in June
Laura Poitras
's The Oath airs anew on PBS's P.O.V., August 16

Cory Arcangel
’s solo exhibition Pro Tools at the Whitney Museum of Art in New York, May 26 – September 11
's Interland at M29 in Cologne, Germany, through May 28
Sanford Biggers
in Stargazers: Elizabeth Catlett in Conversation with 21 Contemporary Artists at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, through May 29
Kerry Skarbakka
’s Constructed Visions at Hagedorn Foundation Gallery in Atlanta, through May 30
Laura Carton
and Chris Doyle in The Bank & Trust Show at Arts Exchange in White Plains, NY, through June 4
Nick Cave
’s Meet Me at the Center of the Earth at the Seattle Art Museum, through June 5
Robert Karimi
presents Travels with Whitey & Other Stories at La Peña Cultural Center in Berkeley, CA, June 16
Wayne Hodge
and Jennie C. Jones in the 2010 Artists-in-Residence Workspace Program Exhibition at the Center for Book Arts in New York, through June 25
Caroline Lathan-Stiefel
at Diana Lowenstein Fine Arts in Miami, through June 30
Meredith Monk
's Education of the Girlchild Revisited at 3LD Art and Technology Center in New York, June 7–11
Jane Comfort
’s Beauty at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival in Becket, MA, June 29 – July 3

Visit our Grantee Events Calender for more ongoing and upcoming events!

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