New York

John Kelly

The Kitchen

Despite its somewhat lighthearted title, John Kelly’s newest work, Maybe It’s Cold Outside, 1991, was blacker than black. Consisting of an almost funerary series of dreamlike tableaux, the work constituted a sustained meditation on the terror of approaching death. That longtime company member John Beal died shortly before the opening of this production added to the poignancy of the evening.

Kelly’s five-member ensemble unraveled a series of childhood memories in mime and slow-motion dance. In one vignette two boys mimed the familiar initiation ritual of pressing cut fingers together to become blood brothers. Today, this right of passage reads as an ominous exchange of body fluids, suggesting that even playground antics have lost their innocence in the current health crisis. In another section, black and white films that begin as dream sequences soon turn into nightmares. In one grim nocturne,

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the April 1991 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.