Clockwise from top: Yvonne Rainer, After Many a Summer Dies the Swan: Hybrid, 2002, still from a color video, 30 minutes. Mikhail Baryshnikov. Yvonne Rainer, Kristina Talking Pictures, 1976, still from a black-and-white and color film in 16mm, 90 minutes. Blondell Cummings. Yvonne Rainer, Privilege, 1990, still from a black-and-white and color film in 16mm, 100 minutes. Gabriella Farrar.

Yvonne Rainer

Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions

In its Los Angeles incarnation, Yvonne Rainer’s traveling retrospective lived up to its name by virtue of its very location: Audiences experienced the “radical juxtaposition” of a nonprofit space situated on Hollywood Boulevard. Dimmed and functionally outfitted with video monitors playing footage of Rainer’s choreography and films, and interspersed with vitrines containing performance-related ephemera, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE) seemed worlds apart from the hype and glare of the street outside. And yet the disjuncture fortuitously reminded us that mass culture vividly shaped the imaginative possibilities of Rainer’s practice. As art historian Carrie Lambert convincingly argues in a catalogue essay, the landscape of media is one that Rainer has both opposed and very fruitfully engaged. “No to spectacle no to virtuosity no to transformations and magic and make-believe,”

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