80 Greenwich St.
New York, NY 10006
Edgar Arceneaux’s first live work, Until, Until, Until…, investigates the infamous 1981 performance of Broadway legend Ben Vereen, televised nationally as part of Ronald Reagan's inaugural celebration.
Intended as an homage to vaudevillian Bert Williams—America’s first mainstream black entertainer—the final 5 minutes of the performance were censored for the television audience, causing Vereen’s biting commentary on the history of segregation and racist stereotypes in performance to be lost on viewers at home. Until, Until, Until… is based on the footage that never aired that night. Arceneaux’s commission, a mise-en-scène of the inaugural party, foregrounds the past, illuminating the enduring presence and impact of history in the present. The piece questions the truth of past narratives, and creates an opportunity to reconsider our collective understanding of historic events. The performance immerses the audience in the scenery of the presidential celebration, where the relationships between past and present, experience and memory, and fantasy and reality are blurred as they are filtered through time and the television screen.
Curated by Adrienne Edwards.
Image credit: Edgar Arceneaux, Until, Until, Until…, 2015. A Performa Commission. Performance views. Photo by Paula Court
Co-commissioned with MIT List Visual Arts Center. Co-presented with 3LD Art & Technology Center. Supported by Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, and Bernard I. Lumpkin and Carmine D. Boccuzzi.