Jeanine Durning is an Alpert Award winning choreographer, performer and teacher, whose work has been described by The New Yorker as having both “the potential for philosophical revelation and theatrical disaster.” Her research is often motivated by fundamental questions around how our basic desire for connection and communication aligns, and often misaligns, with how our thinking and feeling come to form and action.
Since 1998, Durning has created both solo and group works that have been presented nationally and internationally. Her most recent projects are centered around a procedural practice she calls nonstopping. In 2010, Durning premiered her critically acclaimed solo inging (based on nonstop speaking) in Amsterdam, and has since then been performed over 45 times in studios, theaters, galleries, rooms and festivals across Europe (Stockholm, Berlin, Zagreb, Kristiansand/Norway, Poznan/Poland and Leuven/Belgium), the US (NYC, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Milwaukee, Williams College, UMBC), in Toronto, Canada. The arts journalist, Camille LeFevre of Minneapolis wrote: “Jeanine Durning’s inging is the cri de coeur of a dancer, choreographer and actor struggling, with every cell of her being, to smash any distinctions between those three identities while, more importantly, refuting any notions that body and mind, spirit and sensation, voice and physicality, emotion and intellect are separate.”
Durning’s work has been supported and awarded by two New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships in Choreography (2016, 2006), the Alpert Award for Choreography (2007), the Movement Research Artist in Residence (2013-2015), Gibney Dance Center’s Dance in Process Residency (2015), Brooklyn Arts Exchange Space Grant (2013), Viola Farber Residency through Sarah Lawrence College (2007), Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Space Grant (2005), Dance Theater Workshop Choreographic Lab (2005), Dance Space Center Residency (2004), The Yard Choreographic Residency (2002), The Bossak Heilbron Charitable Foundation grant (2002), and a Meet The Composer grant (2002).
In support of her new project dark matter, selfish portrait, Durning has received residencies at Seoul Dance Center, Korea through Movement Research Exchange and Asian Cultural Council (September 2017), the Rauschenberg Foundation Residency (November/December 2017), and several MANCC residencies (2018-19), made possible through the Mellon Foundation.
Durning is a sought-out performer, having collaborated with many choreographers, including David Dorfman (with whom she worked from 1995-2003), Susan Rethorst, Bebe Miller, Martha Clarke, Chris Yon and Richard Siegal. Since 2005, Durning has worked on and off with post-modern dance pioneer and choreographer Deborah Hay in the capacities of performer, choreographic assistant and most recently, from 2011-2013, as consultant to the Motion Bank (Frankfurt) on Ms. Hay’s choreographic and scoring practices.
Durning has had an ongoing teaching practice since 2000, facilitating classes/workshops/ateliers in movement and choreographic practices. She is dedicated to the transfer, transmission and translation of embodied knowledge to a future generation of performers and makers. She sees her teaching practice as a natural extension of her research of dance, focusing on how action, affect, content and context are in shared dialogue with choreographer, performer and audience alike. Durning has taught at numerous institutions across the US, including most recently at UCLA/WAC, and in Europe, including The School for New Dance Development (SNDO) in Amsterdam and with The Inter-University Centre for Dance (HZT) in Berlin.
Durning is often invited to advise the work of other choreographers as mentor and/or dramaturge. She has worked in this capacity with many choreographers including Ame Henderson (Toronto), Lito Walkey (Berlin), Tian Rooteveel (Berlin), Christina Ciupke (Berlin), Alma Soderberg (Brussels), Simon Tanguy (Rennes), Sam Kim (NYC), Julian Barnett (NYC), Quim Bassart (Stockholm), Meg Foley (Philadelphia), and Michelle Boule (NYC).
Malik Gaines is a writer and performer interested in representation. His book Black Performance on the Outskirts of the Left: A History of the Impossible (2017, NYU Press) traces a transnational circulation of political ideas through performances of the sixties and beyond and was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award. His articles include “The Quadruple-Consciousness of Nina Simone” in Women & Performance, “City After 50 Years’ Living: LA’s Differences in Relation” in Art Journal, and many essays and interviews about for journals, magazines, museum publications, and monographs for artists such as Andrea Bowers, Mark Bradford, Meleko Mokgosi, Charles Gaines, Sharon Hayes, and Glenn Ligon. Recent writing has discussed Julius Eastman in Artforum and The Judson Dance Theater in the Museum of Modern Art’s exhibition catalogue. His research for a second book is concerned with performances and artworks at the limits of the U.S. American state.
Since 2000, Gaines has performed and exhibited with collaborators Jade Gordon and Alexandro Segade as the group My Barbarian. Their work uses musical/theatrical and critical techniques to playfully act out social difficulties. The trio has presented work at MoMA, The Kitchen, New Museum, Studio Museum in Harlem (New York), LACMA, REDCAT, MOCA (Los Angeles), SFMoMA (San Francisco), ICA (Philadelphia), Power Plant, (Toronto), ICA (London), De Appel (Amsterdam), El Matadero (Madrid), Peres Projects (Berlin), Torpedo (Oslo), Galleria Civica (Trento), Townhouse Gallery (Cairo), and many others. My Barbarian has had solo exhibitions at the New Museum, New York (2016); Gallery 400, University of Illinois, Chicago (2014); Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects (2013); Yaffo 23, Jerusalem, Israel (2013); Transformer Gallery, Washington DC (2012); Human Resources, Los Angeles (2012); Museo El Eco, Mexico City (2010); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2010); and Participant Inc., New York (2009). The group was included in the Whitney Biennial (2014), Baltic Triennial (2009), Montreal Biennial (2007), California Biennial (2008, 2006), and Performa Biennial (2007, 2005). My Barbarian has received grants and awards from United States Artists (2018), the Foundation for Contemporary Art (2013), Creative Capital (2012), City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs (2010), and Art Matters (2008). Their work has been discussed in the New Yorker, New York Times, LA Times, Artforum, Art in America, Frieze, Texte zur Kunst, Bomb and various international newspapers, and by scholars including Shannon Jackson in The Drama Review, Tavia Nyong’o in Social Text, and José Muñoz in his book Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity. Gaines works in other collaborative groups as well, and also makes solo music performance.
Gaines has curated exhibitions and performance programs independently, including “Fade: African American Artists in LA” for the City of Los Angeles (2004) and “Quadruple-Consciousness” at Vox Populi, Philadelphia (2010); and for LAXART, where he was a curator from 2005-2012, with solo shows by Anna Sew Hoy, Kalup Linzy and Colter Jacobsen and performances by Eleanor Antin and The Bodacious Buggerrilla, and as co-curator of the Hammer Museum’s biennial exhibition Made in LA (2012).