QUICKSAND furthers Robert Ashley’s distinct and innovative investigation of the American language in a musical setting. Using his signature blend of speech and song, it tells the story of a composer who has been coerced by a Government Agency (the “Company”) to serve as a low-level “courier” (or spy). Traveling with his wife to an unnamed South Asian country run by a military dictatorship, he becomes involved with plans to overthrow the government through his close friendship with two tour guides. With the assistance of four American mercenaries, the composer participates in the capture and imprisonment of the country’s leaders, and the destruction of the torture operation by which the dictatorship has maintained its power.
The novel QUICKSAND was published by Burning Books in 2011 (burningbooks.org), and in 2012 Robert Ashley asked his friends Steve Paxton, Tom Hamilton and David Moodey to collaborate with him in bringing the “opera-novel” to fruition.
Taking place in The Kitchen theater and gallery spaces throughout the 2015–2016 season, “From Minimalism into Algorithm” sets contemporary and historical painting, sculpture, performance, and musical composition in counterpoint, proposing a new through-line for art-making during the past half century. Organized collaboratively by The Kitchen and participating artists, the exhibition takes up the legacy of Minimalist art and composition during the 1960s and ’70s as a precedent for reconsidering work by a younger generation for whom serial repetition corresponds more directly with digital technology and, moreover, its reconfiguring of our encounters with physical space through networked communication.
The Kitchen gallery space will be open until 7pm on all performance evenings to view the exhibition “From Minimalism into Algorithm” in the second floor gallery. Additionally, in conjunction with Quicksand, Mary Lucier’s video installation The Trial, which uses documentation footage of Robert Ashley’s The Trial of Anne Opie Wehrer and Unknown Accomplices for Crimes Against Humanity will be on view in The Kitchen lobby.
The Kitchen is one of New York City’s most forward-looking nonprofit spaces, showing innovative work by emerging and established artists across disciplines. Our programs range from dance, music, performance, and theater to video, film, and art, in addition to literary events, artists' talks, and lecture series. Since its inception in 1971, The Kitchen has been a powerful force in shaping the cultural landscape of this country, and has helped launch the careers of many artists who have gone on to worldwide prominence.