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A scene from Tadeusz Kantor's Dead Class. Photo: Wojciech Sperl

La MaMa E.T.C. and Polish Cultural Institute

Tadeusz Kantor

Monday, November 10, 2008 - Sunday, November 16, 2008

La MaMa E.T.C., The Annex
74 East 4th Street, New York, NY
Tickets: $10, $8 students, All Kantor Pass $40, Tel: 212.475.7710 icon of experimentalist drama - Mel Gussow, New York Times

Kantor is to Polish art what Joseph Beuys was to German art, what Andy Warhol was to American art. - Jaroslaw Suchan, director of Museum of Art in Lodz

The Art and Theater of Tadeusz Kantor is the first comprehensive presentation in the U.S. of the work and life of this world-famous "total artist" who is known here primarily as a theater director. It aims to present Kantor (1915-1990) in the full context of his creativity, as one of the 20th century's greatest artists, in both the theater and the visual arts.

The series presents screenings of filmed records of Tadeusz Kantor's performances from his Theatre of Death phase. These will be projected in the Annex theater at La MaMa - the same space where between 1979 and 1991 each of the works was first presented to an American audience by La MaMa founder and director Ellen Stewart. Kantor, as a rule, appeared in his performances, on stage along with the actors, and his work is almost inconceivable without his presence, which makes their revival problematic and unlikely. This series of screenings is thus a unique occasion to view original performances of Kantor's work in an original space. It is likewise our homage to Stewart and her vision in bringing Kantor to America. All films will be shown in Polish with English subtitles and introduced by specialists on Kantor's work. Documents related to Kantor from the La MaMa archives will also be on view.

The Art and Theater of Tadeusz Kantor opens with a presentation of Kantor's sculpture, The Desk (1975) - which was created in connection with The Dead Class performance - one of the major works in the Jewish Museum's exhibition Theaters of Memory: Art and the Holocaust (November 9, 2008 - February 1, 2009). Recently purchased by The Jewish Museum, it is the first of Kantor's works to enter a major American museum collection. The series will continue on January 26, 2009, with a one-day International Conference at the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center, CUNY Graduate Center, where Kantor's work as both theater and visual artist will be discussed by specialists.

Tadeusz Kantor (1915-1990) was undoubtedly one of the greatest artists of the 20th century - a "total artist," as he used to say, and with good reason, so great was his versatility. It is thus very risky to divide his output into individual disciplines. A painter, stage designer, poet, actor, and happener, he made a name for himself as a man of theater, but even in this domain he remained first and foremost a painter who thought with images and used actors and props instead of paints. His Cricot 2 Theatre performances, beginning with Dead Class (1975), were hailed as true masterpieces.

Special thanks to the Centre for the Documentation of the Art of Tadeusz Kantor CRICOTEKA in Krakow, and to Polish Television - TVP S.A. for additional support.

Kantor at La MaMa - schedule and descriptions

Kantor at The Jewish Museum

International Kantor Conference at MESTC, CUNY

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