Nick Mauss at Whitney Museum of American Art

Artist: Nick Mauss

Exhibition title: Transmissions

Venue: Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, US

Date: March 16 – May 14, 2018

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist, ©Whitney Museum of American Art and their respective copyright holders

Note: Full press release can be found here

For this exhibition, Nick Mauss (b. 1980, New York, NY) explores the history of American modernist ballet, continuing a hybrid mode of working he has pursued for a decade in which the roles of curator, artist, choreographer, scholar, and performer converge. New works by Mauss—ranging from scores for a ballet to scenic design, décor elements, and live performance—will appear alongside pieces from the Whitney’s collection and those of other institutions, including the Kinsey Institute for Sex, Gender, and Reproduction and the Jerome Robbins Dance Division of the New York Public Library. Central to the exhibition is a ballet conceived by Mauss in close collaboration with dancers, in response to archival material and the constellation of objects in the show.

In the current vogue for contemporary dance in museums, the legacy of ballet remains relatively unexamined. This exhibition will consider the intersections of ballet with the visual arts, theater, fashion, and new representations of the body. Focusing on New York’s role in a transatlantic exchange of ballet and surrealist aesthetics, the show presents a vision of American modernist ballet as an artistic catalyst, filter, and vibrant, shared vocabulary. Through the intertwined languages of ballet, painting, photography, and sculpture, Mauss also mines a pre-queer history within the realm of supposedly straight cultural production of the 1930s and 1940s. The exhibition itself is a hybrid of a historical presentation and an unfolding artistic proposition that forges new modes of attention, viewing, and an engagement with history in the present.

This exhibition is organized by Scott Rothkopf, Deputy Director for Programs and Nancy and Steve Crown Family Chief Curator, and Elisabeth Sussman, Sondra Gilman Curator of Photography, with Greta Hartenstein, senior curatorial assistant, and Allie Tepper, curatorial project assistant.

Installation view of Nick Mauss: Transmissions (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, March 16-May 14, 2018). Wall installation: Nick Mauss, Images in Mind, 2018. Left to right: Documentation of George Balachine chorerography in rehearsals, 1951-58; Pavel Tchelitchew, Interior Landscape Skull, 1949; John Storrs, Forms in Space #1, c. 1924; Elie Nadelman, Two Circus Women, c. 1928-29; Gustav Natorp figure (formerly owned by Lincoln Kirstein), 1898; Sturtevant, Relâche, 1967; Ilse Bing, Untitled (Skyscrapers, night, NY), 1936; Isle Bing, Dead End II, 1936.   Photograph by Ron Amstutz. Digital image © Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

Installation view of Nick Mauss: Transmissions (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, March 16-May 14, 2018). Left to right: Carl Van Vechten, Al Bledger of the Von Grona (American) Negro Ballet, 1938; Carl Van Vechten, Al Bledger of the Von Grona (American) Negro Ballet, 1938; Carl Van Vechten, Carl Van Vechten slideshow, 1940-64; New York City Ballet souvenir program from the company’s second European Tour through Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, England, Scotland, and Germany, 1952; Charles Henri Ford, ‘Ballet for Tamara Toumanova”, in View (2nd series, no. 4, January 1943, “AMERICANA FANTASTICA”), 1943; Ballet Theatre program for the 1951-52 Season, 1951; Ruth Page photographed by Maurice Seymore in costume designed by Pawel Tchelitchew for Page’s ‘Variations on Euclid’, in the publication Ruth Page and Harald Kreutzberg, with poem and introduction by Mark Turbyfill, c. 1936; George Platt Lynes, Dancer Jacques D’Amboise in a costume designed by Paul Cadmus for Filling Station, choreographed by Lew Christensen for Ballet Caravan, 1938; George Platt Lynes, Cabaret performer James Leslie Daniels, c. 1937; Pavel Tchelitchew, Anatomical Painting, 1946. Photograph by Ron Amstutz. Digital image © Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

Installation view of Nick Mauss: Transmissions (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, March 16-May 14, 2018). Clockwise, from bottom left: Elie Nadelman, Untitled, c. 1938-46; Elie Nadelman, Untitled, c. 1938-46; Elie Nadelman, Untitled, c. 1938-46; John Storrs, Forms in Space, c. 1924; Man Ray, New York, 1917/1966; Gaston Lachaise, Man Walking, 1933;  Dorthea Tanning, Aux environs de Paris (Paris and Vicinity), 1962; Nick Mauss, Images in Mind, 2018; Pavel Tchelitchew, Interior Landscape Skull, 1949; John Storrs, Forms in Space #1, c. 1924; Elie Nadelman, Two Circus Women, c. 1928-29; Gustav Natorp figure (formerly owned by Lincoln Kirstein), 1898; Sturtevant, Relâche, 1967; Ilse Bing, Untitled (Skyscrapers, night, NY), 1936; Isle Bing, Dead End II, 1936.; Ilse Bing, Three Birds in the Sky, Paris, 1936; Ilse Bing, Between France and U.S.A. (Seascapes), 1936; Elie Nadleman, Untitled, c. 1938-46; Elie Nadelman, Untitled, c. 1938-46; Elie Nadelman, Untitled, c. 1938-46; Elie Nadelman, Untitled, c. 1938-46; Carl Van Vechten, Al Bledger of the Von Grona (American) Negro Ballet, 1938; Carl Van Vechten, Al Bledger of the Von Grona (American) Negro Ballet, 1938; Carl Van Vechten, Carl Van Vechten slideshow, 1940-64. Photograph by Ron Amstutz. Digital image © Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

Installation view of Nick Mauss: Transmissions (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, March 16-May 14, 2018). Left to right: Carl Van Vechten, Al Bledger of the Von Grona (American) Negro Ballet, 1938; Carl Van Vechten, Al Bledger of the Von Grona (American) Negro Ballet, 1938; Carl Van Vechten, Carl Van Vechten slideshow, 1940-64; Martha Swope, Dancers Arthur Mitchell, Diana Adams, George Balachine, and Igor Stravinsky during rehearsals for Agon, choreographed by George Balachine for New York City Ballet, 1957; New York City Ballet souvenir program from the company’s second European Tour through Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, England, Scotland, and Germany, 1952; Charles Henri Ford, ‘Ballet for Tamara Toumanova”, in View (2nd series, no. 4, January 1943, “AMERICANA FANTASTICA”), 1943; Ballet Theatre program for the 1951-52 Season, 1951; Ruth Page photographed by Maurice Seymore in costume designed by Pawel Tchelitchew for Page’s ‘Variations on Euclid’, in the publication Ruth Page and Harald Kreutzberg, with poem and introduction by Mark Turbyfill, c. 1936; George Platt Lynes, Dancer Jacques D’Amboise in a costume designed by Paul Cadmus for Filling Station, choreographed by Lew Christensen for Ballet Caravan, 1938; George Platt Lynes, Carbaret performer James Leslie Daniels, c. 1937; Pavel Tchelitchew, Costume designs for Errante, choreographed by George Balachine for Les Ballets 1933, c. 1933; Pavel Tchelitchew, Set design by Pavel Tchelitchew for Nobilissima Visione (also known as St. Francis), choreographed by Leonide Massine for Ballets Russe de Monte Carlo, c. 1938; Pavel Tchelitchew, Window display for shoes after set design by Pavel Tchelitchew for Nobilissima Visione (also known as St. Francis), c. 1938. Photograph by Ron Amstutz. Digital image © Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

Installation view of Nick Mauss: Transmissions (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, March 16-May 14, 2018). Left to right: George Platt Lynes, Paul Cadmus and Jared French (artists), 1937; George Platt Lynes, Laurie Douglas Harvach (model), 1944; George Platt Lynes, Nicholas Magallanes (dancer), c. 1938; George Platt Lynes, Diana Adams (dancer), 1951; Ann Barzel, 1936-52; George Platt Lynes, Maria Tallchief (dancer), 1953; George Platt Lynes, John Van Sikken, c. 1940; George Platt Lynes, John Leaphart and Bill Blizzard, 1953. Photograph by Ron Amstutz. Digital image © Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

Installation view of Nick Mauss: Transmissions (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, March 16-May 14, 2018). Left to right, front: George Platt Lynes, Tex Smutney, 1941; George Platt Lynes, Paul Cadmus and Jared French (artists), 1937; George Platt Lynes, Laurie Douglas Harvach (model), 1944; George Platt Lynes, Nicholas Magallanes (dancer), c. 1938; George Platt Lynes, Diana Adams (dancer), 1951. Left to right, back (dancers): Kristina Bermudez; Brandon Collwes; Matilda Sakamoto; Quenton Stuckey. Photograph by Ron Amstutz. Digital image © Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

Installation view of Nick Mauss: Transmissions (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, March 16-May 14, 2018). Left to right: Elie Nadleman, Untitled, c. 1938-46; Elie Nadelman, Untitled, c. 1938-46; Elie Nadleman, Untitled, c. 1938-46; Elie Nadelman, Untitled, c. 1938-46; Elie Nadelman, Untitled, c. 1938-46. Photograph by Ron Amstutz. Digital image © Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

Nick Mauss (b. 1980), are you being, 2015. Ink, marker, pastel, gouache, and cut paper, 23 1/2 x 18 in. (59.7 x 45.7 cm). Collection of the artist, image courtesy the artist and 303 Gallery

Nick Mauss, Replace, 2017, 9 panels with reverse glass painting, mirrored, 87 1/8 x 63 1/8 inches (221.3 x 160.3 cm). Collection of the artist, image courtesy the artist and 303 Gallery

Carl Van Vechten slides, photographed by Nick Mauss. Courtesy The Carl Van Vechten Trust and The Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations

George Platt Lynes, Tex Smutney, 1941. Gelatin silver print, 8 x 10 in. (20.3 x 25.4 cm). Collection of the Kinsey Institute, Indiana University; courtesy the George Platt Lynes Estate

George Platt Lynes, Ralph McWilliams, 1952, 1941. Gelatin silver print, 8 x 10 in. (20.3 x 25.4 cm). Collection of the Kinsey Institute, Indiana University; courtesy the George Platt Lynes Estate

Nick Mauss (b. 1980), Transmissions, March 16–May 14, 2018. Whitney Museum of American Art. Performer pictured: Anna Witenberg, March 13, 2018. Photograph © Paula Court

Nick Mauss (b. 1980), Transmissions, March 16–May 14, 2018. Whitney Museum of American Art. Performers pictured: Jasmine Hearn and Anna Witenberg, March 13, 2018. Photograph © Paula Court

Nick Mauss (b. 1980), Transmissions, March 16–May 14, 2018. Whitney Museum of American Art. Performers pictured: Jasmine Hearn and Anna Witenberg, March 13, 2018. Photograph © Paula Court

Nick Mauss (b. 1980), Transmissions, March 16–May 14, 2018. Whitney Museum of American Art. Performers pictured: Ahmaud Culver, Jasmine Hearn, and Anna Witenberg, March 13, 2018. Photograph © Paula Court

Nick Mauss (b. 1980), Transmissions, March 16–May 14, 2018. Whitney Museum of American Art. Performers pictured: Ahmaud Culver, Jasmine Hearn, and Anna Witenberg, March 13, 2018. Photograph © Paula Court

Nick Mauss (b. 1980), Transmissions, March 16–May 14, 2018. Whitney Museum of American Art. Performers pictured: Ahmaud Culver and Anna Witenberg, March 13, 2018. Photograph © Paula Court

Nick Mauss (b. 1980), Transmissions, March 16–May 14, 2018. Whitney Museum of American Art. Performers pictured: Ahmaud Culver, Alexandra Albrecht, Burr Johnson, and Matilda Sakamoto, March 13, 2018. Photograph © Paula Court

Nick Mauss (b. 1980), Transmissions, March 16–May 14, 2018. Whitney Museum of American Art. Performers pictured: Ahmaud Culver, Alexandra Albrecht, and Burr Johnson, March 13, 2018. Photograph © Paula Court

Nick Mauss (b. 1980), Transmissions, March 16–May 14, 2018. Whitney Museum of American Art. Performers pictured: Ahmaud Culver, Alexandra Albrecht, Burr Johnson, and Matilda Sakamoto, March 13, 2018. Photograph © Paula Court

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