Artist Yvonne Rainer joins Rail editors Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper and Amanda Gluibizzi for a conversation. We conclude with a poetry reading from Jayson Smith.
Dancer, choreographer, filmmaker, and writer Yvonne Rainer (American, b. 1934) is one of the most influential artistic figures of the last 50 years. Her work has been foundational across multiple disciplines and movements: dance, cinema, feminism, minimalism, conceptual art, and postmodernism. Rainer first came to prominence as a leading figure in the Judson Dance Theater movement, a loose collection of dancers and artists whose performances (often held at the Judson Memorial Church in New York City) crossed fluidly between the fields of dance and visual art, creating a striking and intellectualized form of performance that denied the theatricality and emotionalism of modern dance in favor of movements that seemed casual, spare, and cool. Over time, Rainer’s works became increasingly personal and political, and by the early 1970s she had begun to focus on producing experimental feature films. Over the next 25 years, Rainer produced an extraordinary series of films that engaged with the most advanced theoretical thinking of the time while also grappling with issues of power, privilege, and inequality. In 2000, Rainer returned to choreography and has continued to produce provocative and surprising new works to the present day.
Senior Minister of Judson Memorial Church since January of 2006. She was formerly at Coral Gables Congregational Church in Miami and before that at Yale University, and teaches leadership at the Hartford Seminary. As an elder, she is passionately concerned about leaving the next generation well-prepared for all they have to face. She has written over 35 books including Approaching End of Life: A Practical and Spiritual Guide (2015), Grace at Table: Small Spiritual Solutions to Large Material Problems, Solving Everything (2013), to her most recent book I Heart Francis: Letters to the Pope from an Unlikely Admirer (2016), among many others. She is Editor-at-Large at the Brooklyn Rail.
The Rail has a tradition of ending our conversations with a poem, and
we’re fortunate to have
Jayson P. Smith
Jayson P. Smith
Interdisciplinary artist, writer, & curator. Their work is interested in Black performance, collaboration, & somatic practice. J has received support from New York Foundation for the Arts (2017, Poetry) & The Poetry Project, among others. They currently live in Brooklyn.