Friday, November 6, 2009

Living by Chance With Rachel Rosenthal

IF laurie anderson was a parisian-born octo-genarian theater pioneer she might be rachel rosenthal. for rosenthal -- to whom many figures of the american avant-garde are indebted -- john cage's "indeterminacy" proved as influential as the velvet underground's dazed strum was on anderson's generation. (okay, that's enough metaphors for one paragraph.)

here is my profile of rosenthal, who extols the importance of "chance" in art and life and recalls new york in the 50s with cage/ cunningham/ rauschenberg/ johns.

she also talks about saturday's birthday party at Track 16 Gallery, her new book ("the dbd experience") and the improvisational theater troupe she launches early next year.

meeting rosenthal was a real trip -- a major iconoclast, associated with radical feminism, animal rights and her own shaved head, who is also into a courtly woman with a gertrude stein haircut and a soft, pan-european accent. (she calls herself a gay man inside a woman's body.)

my favorite quote that didnt make the article: "much of what's called performance art is not interesting to me. i'm not interested in shock -- there's enough shock in everyday living, every time you turn on the tv."

Photo credit: Michael Childers

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