DALLAS, TX.- The Dallas Center for the Performing Arts
announced today that it has commissioned a curtain designed by renowned Argentine artist Guillermo Kuitca for the Centers new Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House, which will open on October 12, 2009. The Center has also acquired Kuitcas Dallas Opera House (2008), consisting of 16 mixed media works on paper based on the seating plans of the Winspear Opera House. These works will be permanently installed at box level of the Opera House.
Kuitca is internationally acclaimed for work inspired by cartography, architecture and theatre. He represented Argentina at the Venice Biennale in 2007, and a major retrospective of his work will premiere at the Miami Art Museum in October 2009 before embarking on a national tour.
This commission will be Kuitcas first design for a stage curtain, but it continues the artists longtime exploration of theatre as a space and structure. Most recently, this theme was addressed in a series of works-on-paper based on seating charts from renowned performance spaces, such as the Metropolitan Opera House, La Scala and Covent Garden. For this group, Kuitca manipulated printed seating plans, creating surreal and brightly colored abstractions. These works were shown in an exhibition entitled Stage Fright (2007), the first one-person show in the Metropolitan Opera Houses ground-floor exhibition space. Kuitcas design for the Winspear Opera House continues this theme, abstracting the seating plan for the Winspears Margaret McDermott Performance Hall and reproducing this image onto the curtain itself.
After being introduced in 1980 to choreographer Pina Bausch's Tanztheater at a performance in Buenos Aires, Kuitca began to develop an interest in theatre. He went on to write and direct experimental theatre productions in Buenos Aires in the 1980s, and was commissioned to design stage sets for productions of Federico Garcia Lorcas La casa de Bernarda Alba (2002) and Richard Wagners Der Fliegende Holländer (2003). Kuitcas ongoing fascination with the stage remains evident in his paintings and drawings today.
In describing the vision for the Winspear Opera House curtain, Kuitca said, "The theatre curtain marks a physical threshold: the limit where the audience abandons the reality of the outside world and lets itself be transported by the machinery of the theatre. I am interested in physically echoing the beating, expectant moment before the curtain rises."
"In large part, the genesis of this project was the desire to further complement our effort to build a 21st century opera house, while incorporating appropriate classic, 19th century European opera house detail," said John Dayton, member of the Board of Directors of the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts and chair of the Winspear Opera House Facilities Committee. "We wanted a grand, decorative curtainbut sought to avoid the traditional 'red velvet curtain with gold brocade. Commissioning a contemporary artist whose work expressed an appreciation for opera house architecture seemed most appropriate."
In celebration of the Centers opening, the Dallas Museum of Art will present a special exhibition featuring drawings, paintings and studies by Kuitca for the Winspear Opera House curtain. On view from October 10, 2009 through March 21, 2010, the exhibition Performance /Art showcases the work of contemporary artistsincluding David Altmejd, Guillermo Kuitca, and Yinka Shonibare, among otherswho have taken inspiration from the theater and opera in the creation of their painting, sculpture, video, and photography.
Also in October 2009, the Miami Art Museum will open the first Guillermo Kuitca retrospective in the United States in more than 15 years: Guillermo Kuitca: Everything, Paintings and Works on Paper, 1980-2008. The exhibition will travel to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, in Washington, D.C.
The Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House, designed by Foster + Partners under the direction of Pritzker Prize-winning architect Norman Foster, is one of the four venues that comprise the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts.
Based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Guillermo Kuitca (born 1961, Buenos Aires) has garnered international attention since the mid-1980s. His first solo exhibition at age thirteen took place in 1974 at Lirolay Gallery in Buenos Aires. In 1985 he represented Argentina in the XVIII São Paulo Biennal. His work was first seen in the United States in a group exhibition at the Americas Society in New York in 1989, New Image Painting: Argentina in the Eighties.
In 1990 he began to exhibit internationally and had solo museum and gallery shows in the Netherlands and the United States, which included a ―Projects‖ show at The Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1992. Also that year, his installation for Documenta IX of a map painting and a large installation of ―map-on-mattress‖ sculptures brought him significant international attention. Since then Kuitca has had solo exhibitions at the Instituto de Arte Moderno (IVAM) in Valencia, Spain (1993) and Burning Beds: Guillermo Kuitca, A Survey 1982-1994, which was organized by the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio, and the Contemporary Art Foundation, Amsterdam in 1994. In 1999 he exhibited at the Centro Hélio Oiticica and in 2000 at the Foundation Cartier in Paris.
The most recent survey of Kuitcas works, Guillermo Kuitca, Obras 1982 - 2002, was curated and presented by the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, and traveled to MALBA Colección Constantini (Museo de arte latinoamericano de Buenos Aires) in 2003. Kuitca was the chosen representative of Argentina at the Venice Biennale in 2007, where he was one of only three artists with work on view in both a national Pavilion and in the central international Biennale exhibition.