Dallas Contemporary Announces Fall Performances

by Jessica Fuentes September 17, 2023

As other North Texas museums announce upcoming fall exhibitions, the Dallas Contemporary (DC) recently released its forthcoming performance art programs as an expansion of its time-based media program, DC EMPTY. 

In December 2022, DC launched the DC EMPTY program, to activate unused gallery spaces between exhibitions and feature time-based works by regional artists. In a press release, Deputy Director Lucia Simek noted, “After launching the series DC EMPTY last year… we are proud to expand our performance programming to the national stage with this season of remarkably brave artists and collectives that wrestle with a range of global concerns facing our climate and our human rights.”

The fall events include a dance performance by New York-based artists Matty Davis and Ben Gould, a concert by Austin-based punk drag artist CHRISTEENE, and a series of experimental choral concerts presented in partnership with the Dallas-based Verdigris Ensemble. Learn more about each of the upcoming performances below, via descriptions provided by DC.

A photograph of performance artists Ben Gould and Matty Davis.

Ben Gould and Matty Davis performing Carriage Bearance Severance. Photo by Colin Delfosse.

Matty Davis + Ben Gould: Carriage Bearance Severance
October 20, 7 p.m. at Dallas Contemporary
Tickets $10

Called “an extraordinary, riveting performance that viscerally explores the limits of physical endurance and mutual cooperation” by curator and critic Dan Cameron, Carriage Bearance Severance constitutes a trilogy of extremely physical, provocative performances by Matty Davis and Ben Gould created between 2015 and the present, and marks the trajectory of a relationship forged by shifting need, desire, and growth. 

This will be the US museum premiere of Carriage Bearance Severance. The work was previously performed at Palais de Tokyo, Bozar, Carnegie Mellon’s Miller ICA, Human Resources, The Chicago Cultural Center, Open Spaces, Creative Growth, Queenslab, as well as at a former military battery, in a limestone cave network, and aboard a moving vessel on the Chicago River.

Carriage Bearance Severance is made possible with the generous support of Michael Keller + Dr. Rodger Kobes.

A photograph of drag performer CHRISTEENE.

CHRISTEENE. Photo by Brett Lindell.

November 4, 8 p.m. at Dallas Contemporary
Tickets $25

As an ancillary program with the DC exhibition Chloe Chiasson: Keep Left at the Fork, which depicts queer figures in Texan landscapes, and in light of the state of Texas’s recent legislations against the LGBTQI+ community, Dallas Contemporary presents CHRISTEENE. CHRISTEENE, the stage name and alter ego of Paul Soileau, is an American drag queen, performance artist, singer-songwriter and rapper. CHRISTEENE is noted for untraditional, “terrorist drag,” which features her wearing torn-up clothing, stringy matted black wigs, and heavy and smeared makeup with aims to expose hypocrisy and intolerance.

The artist has gathered tremendous critical acclaim for her high-octane, radical creative vision that continues to destroy all notions of normality. Spin magazine has called CHRISTEENE “a manic combination of Alice Cooper and Hedwig (of the Angry Inch),” and Interview called her “…a feral, sexualized creature that takes a blowtorch to every norm society has to offer.” 

A photograph of a choral performance.

Verdigris Ensemble The Nation Anthems. Photo by Richard Hill Photography

Verdigris Ensemble: ‘The Endangered’ and ‘Beautification’
Tickets starting at $17

Dallas Contemporary and artistic choral group Verdigris Ensemble are pleased to announce their partnership for the 2023 Verdigris Ensemble fall season, which will include two productions presented at Dallas Contemporary and dedicated to themes of ecological justice and the environment. 

The Endangered
October 27 – 29, 7:30 p.m. 

The Endangered highlights cultural efforts to preserve the planet and showcases stunning images of plants and animals, along with music and poetry created by local artists. Composer Sarah Kirkland Snider’s Mass For The Endangered, which celebrates and mourns the natural world, centers the series. The Mass urges people to be more aware of environmental issues and take action, and draws on musical styles that encourage contemplation of non-human life. The Mass is accompanied by six commissioned compositions featuring the work of five Dallas poets and five regional poets, which are intertwined with each movement.

December 1 – 2, 7:30 p.m.

Verdigris Ensemble unites with the Dallas Contemporary for this co-commission, bringing a memorable collaboration inspired by the museum’s site-specific fall exhibition A Preservation Method by visual artist Bianca Bondi. Taking cues from Ladybird Johnson’s Highway Beautification Act, which aimed to protect native plants from billboards along stretches of Texas highway, Bondi presents a monumental artificial landscape representing the struggle between the natural and commercial world. Using the exhibition as inspiration, Verdigris Ensemble is commissioning a group of women composers to weave together a narrative about Lady Bird Johnson’s efforts, comparing her actions to the resilient native flowers of Texas. The production will feature innovative lighting and projections to mimic the experience of highway driving alongside archive audio of Ladybird’s speeches.

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