New year, new New York City Ballet Art Series. Following the success of last year’s offering (featuring FAILE), NYCB has enlisted the talents of renowned artist and self-proclaimed “photograffeur,” JR. An annual offering that aims at introducing a new generation to the entertainment of ballet, the Art Series has established itself as one of the cities’ must-see attractions and offers a new way to experience a night at the ballet. Other than that, why else should you be interested in attending? Every audience member receives a take-away specially created by the artist.
The NYCB Art Series commissions contemporary artists to create pieces of art based on the creativity of the cities’ ballet enterprise. “The idea of working with young artists came up as a great way to honor that tradition and also reach out to new people who might be connected with those artists,” said NYCB Executive Director Katherine Brown. The company has a history of working with luminaries like Keith Harring, Andy Warhol, and more.
Last year, the series took shape as advertising agency, DDB NY, developed a campaign to feature the NYC based duo, FAILE. To spur inspiration, artists are given access to the ballet’s illustrious archives. One half of FAILE, Patrick McNeil, remarked that the archives “allowed us to expand our visual ideas. Not just being locked into this classical idea of what you might expect ballet is, because some of these dances are very abstract.” As a result, FAILE created a 40-foot monolith made of more than 2,000 wood blocks, decorated with text and images inspired by the company’s dance repertoire, pieced together with creative flair.
The take-aways took form from the tower; each guest received a wooded-cube, that when pieced together with others, created a larger piece of FAILE’s trademark art. 2013’s Art Series sold out in mere minutes and drew a distinctly different large crowd, establishing itself as of the NYCB’s most successful (and might I add, creatively unique) offerings.
Considering what FAILE managed to accomplish, JR’s involvement should be up-to-par, if not exceeding. The 30 year-old artist is a superstar, exhibiting freely in the world’s streets, bringing art to the attention of those who are not your typical museum-goers. JR won the TED prize in 2011 and called for the creation of a global art project (INSIDE OUT) with the potential to change the world. Transforming messages of personal identity into street art, more than 172,000 people have taken part in nearly 8,600 locations around the world.
Considering JR’s widespread appeal and aptitude to reflect identity, a collaboration to draw new crowds to the ballet is a no-brainer. The NYCB has begun the campaign advertising 2014’s Art Series, slowly teasing what JR has been cooked up, and so far, it looks promising.
The Art Series Pre-Sale ended this past weekend, but be sure to keep your eyes on the NYCB site, as tickets have gone on public sale this week for the dates listed below. Another charm of NYCB’s Art Series is the price, at $29 a pop it’s a steal. See you at the ballet.