published 3.27.2018

Announcing "Birds: A Festival Inspired by Aristophanes"

For Immediate Release March 26, 2018

ONASSIS CULTURAL CENTER NEW YORK PRESENTS CITYWIDE FESTIVAL, BIRDS: A FESTIVAL INSPIRED BY ARISTOPHANES, APRIL 22-JULY 8

Third Annual Onassis Festival, Produced by Onassis Cultural Center New York, Surrounds the American Premiere of Greek Director Nikos Karathanos’s Vibrant Restaging of The Birds, Presented by St. Ann’s Warehouse and Onassis Cultural Centre-Athens, May 2-13

Programming Examines and Expands on the Themes of The Birds, Considering the Vast Metaphoric Value of the Winged Creatures in Art, Science, and Literature, and the Play’s Themes of Oppression, Democracy, and Utopia

Festival Highlights (See Below for Full Schedule):

  • Production of The Birds, Plus Artist Talks, Bird Walks, and a Contemporary Art Exhibition—Nature of Justice: On The Birds—at St. Ann’s Warehouse
  • Rachel Kushner in Conversation with Paul Schrader on Kushner’s New Novel, The Mars Room, and Punitive Societies in Aristophanes’ Work and Her Own, at The New York Public Library
  • Screenings of Four Films with Pervasive Bird Metaphors—Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, Jim Jarmusch’s Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, Paul Grimault’s The King and the Mockingbird, and Robert Altman’s Brewster McCloud—at Metrograph
  • David Levine Exhibition Some of the People, All of the Time, Featuring a Monologue Continuously Performed by a Rotating Cast; and a Discussion of Aristophanes and Political Satire Featuring Jennifer Y. Chi, Françoise Mouly, Bruce Norris, and Denis O'Hare at the Brooklyn Museum
  • EarthFest—an Earth Day Celebration Featuring Piano Soloist Taka Kigawa Performing Movements from Olivier Messiaen’s “Catalogue of Birds,” and a Philosophical Discussion of Birds with Professor and Philosopher Simon Critchley and Paul Sweet, Collections Manager, Division of Vertebrate Zoology—Ornithology, at the American Museum of Natural History
  • New-York Historical Society’s DiMenna Children’s History Museum’s 6th Annual Meet the Fledglings, Co-Produced with the Wild Bird Fund

For More Information See https://onassisusa.org/events/...

Onassis Cultural Center New York presents Birds: A Festival Inspired by Aristophanes, comprising a rich array of events that consider the enduring—and, currently, pressing—central themes of Aristophanes’ ancient satire, The Birds, April 22 –July 8, 2018. The festival is produced by Onassis Cultural Center New York for the American premiere of Nikos Karathanos’ uproarious and poetic adaptation ofthe original Aristophanes play, presented by St. Ann’s Warehouse and Onassis Cultural Centre-Athens. Karathanos’ production contemporizes The Birds, in whichhumans seek out the titular creatures to build a new society in the sky, driven by a desire for inclusion and liberation from stagnant mores. The production travels, with its company of 19 actors and its singular utopian vision, to an increasingly splintered America for 12 performances at St. Ann’s Warehouse, May 2-13. The festival, continuing the exploration of the work across artistic disciplines, includes programs co-produced by St. Ann’s Warehouse, American Museum of Natural History, the Brooklyn Museum, Metrograph, New-York Historical Society, The New York Public Library, and Stella Adler Studio of Acting.

The Birds was first produced as part of the Dionysia festival in 414 BC, at the heart of the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta, the nearly-three-decade bloodbath that left Athens depleted. Athens had been a nexus of lofty ideals: the world’s first known democratic society, teeming with intellectual and artistic excellence. But Aristophanes’ The Birds, much like Karathanos’ adaptation, was borne of turmoil and transition—a utopian escapist fantasy replete with raucous humor, dance and music.

Dr. Anthony Papadimitriou, President of the Onassis Foundation, says, “The Onassis Foundation this season invites New York audiences to explore themes ranging from political satire to democracy to social and political awareness, and to revel in what we hope represents the long endurance of the Greek theatrical tradition.”

Afroditi Panagiotakou, Onassis Foundation Director of Culture, says, “Empoweredby Nikos Karathanos' gaze, Aristophanes’ Birds speak of a utopian society, a society-that-cannot-be. They set off our thoughts and emotions about democracy, freedom and equality—a vision that’s always worth fighting for. What they speak of is profoundly human and personal, yet wide-ranging in its social commentary.”

Violaine Huisman, curator of the festival, says The Birds is a “play to reclaim life together in our fraught and divisive political context. To live together with nature; to live together as neighbors and friends and allies; to live together and party and protest together is what I hope for this festival to be about.”

Questions such as what wrongdoing is punished, whose corruption is liable to expulsion, who rules and why, are central to The Birds, and are prescient in the context of mass incarceration in the contemporary United States. At The New York Public Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on May 1, Rachel Kushner, acclaimed bestselling author of The Flamethrowers, will join screenwriter Paul Schrader in a LIVE from the NYPL event. They will discuss how Kushner’s book The Mars Room (out April 15) examines the American prison system and the ethics of punishment. The connection between questions The Birds provokes—as its characters try to make a new society but risk emulating unjust structures they are attempting to undo—and mass incarceration will be explored further with Stella Adler Studio of Acting’s The Birds in Prison,at Rikers Island Correctional Facility. The company will bring members of The Birds castto perform songs from the play as part of the studio’s ongoing program providing the empowering study of theater to inmates (May 7; not open to the public or press).

For thousands of years a basic political endgame has been to avoid tyranny—allegorized beautifully in Aristophanes’ The Birds—yet we continue to bear witness to repeated attacks on democracy. The Brooklyn Museum will present artist David Levine’s conceptual art project, Some of the People, All of the Time—a satirical performance work that addresses issues of human identity, agency, and suspicion through the figure of the actor. Reciting a new dramatic text, a rotating cast of “fake persons” prompts the disturbing realization of the bad-faith forms of trickery that have discredited the will of the people through the ages—May 24-July 8. Prior to opening, the Museum will host a panel discussion on Aristophanes and Political Satire, moderated by Washington Post humor columnist Alexandra Petri and featuring Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Bruce Norris (Clybourne Park, The Low Road), acclaimed actor Denis O’Hare (An Iliad, American Horror Story, True Blood), Brooklyn Museum Deputy Director and Chief Curator Jennifer Y. Chi, and The New Yorker art editor Françoise Mouly,on April 25; on May 23 Levine will give an opening lecture on the history and theory of the fake crowd. World-renowned theater designer, director, and puppet-maker Julian Crouch teams up with Saskia Lane of The Lascivious Biddies to present the delicately beautiful puppet theater piece Birdheart, their first project as duo puppeteers and performers, at the Brooklyn Museum, on May 19. On June 16, the Cool Culture Family Festival will see the Brooklyn Museum becoming a lively interactive space—with the added excitement of a concert from Shine & the Moonbeams—devoted to free expression for children and their families.

As part of the festival, Metrograph will present four films in dialogue with Aristophanes’ work (May 18-20). One is a film that shares the play’s title if certainly not its utopic plot: in terms of its metaphorical usage of birds, Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birdsis antithetical to Aristophanes’ play, evoking violence and horror in its disturbing vision of the flock. The cinema will screen Jim Jarmusch’s Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai—which reveals a spiritual bond to birds in its story of an American hit man/sort-of-Samurai who communicates by carrier pigeon. Metrograph’s programming will also feature Paul Grimault’s family-friendly The King and the Mockingbird (rated PG), the 30-years-in-the-making 1980 animated filmnarrated by a witty bird, as well as Robert Altman’s experimental political satire Brewster McCloud, in all its bird-poop-murder-filled absurdity. Like Aristophanes’ The Birds, Altman’s wild film uses birds as running metaphors in an exploration of various shortcomings in human society.

Birds are used metaphorically in Aristophanes’ play to explore, among other ideas, flight, freedom, and victory; the playwright also references the prosody of bird song through onomatopoetic language. Aristophanes the ornithologist closely links birds to themes and concepts in his play. As part of American Museum of Natural History’s EarthFest, the museum will feature The Bird Zone, reveling in the splendor of birds,with a concert, scientific and philosophical bird walks, arts and crafts, and children’s bird-themed literature (April 22). Festivities will include a full day of drop-in family programs, with the music of French composer and ornithologist Olivier Messiaen’s iconic 1958 work, “Catalogue of Birds,” played in live excerpts by various solo pianists throughout the day in the Hall of North American Forests. That evening in the same hall, solo pianist Taka Kigawa will perform select movements from Messiaen’s nearly-three-hour composition emulating myriad birdsongs. Following the concert, philosopher Simon Critchley and Paul Sweet, the museum’s Collections Manager in the Division of Vertebrate Zoology – Ornithology, will discuss the philosophical implications of flight, noting various winged objects in the museum. On May 12, the New-York Historical Society’s DiMenna Children’s History Museum’s 6th annual Meet the Fledglings will see the Wild Bird Fund visiting the museum—with actual fledglings in their care—to teach children about birds as part of the exhibition Feathers: Fashion and the Fight for Wildlife.

In addition to Karathanos’ production of The Birds, a range of other festival programs will take place at St. Ann’s Warehouse. The exhibition Nature of Justice: On The Birds will be on display in the garden and lobby from May 3-13, 2018. Commissioned by Onassis Cultural Center New York and curated by Protocinema founder Mari Spirito, it will feature works that share themes with The Birds, by Machine Dazzle, Louise Lawler, Sofia Stevi and Theo Triantafyllidis. On May 7, with an introduction by Mari Spirito, Afroditi Panagiotakou will moderate a Visual Artists’ Talk with panelists Andreas Angelidakis, Reem Fadda, and Anne Pasternak. They will unpack themes around corruption and the failure of democracy, and how these concerns are addressed in their own work practices, in the exhibition, and in the play. On May 5, Paul Sweet will lead Bird Walks through Brooklyn Bridge Park. St. Ann’s Warehouse Artistic Director Susan Feldman will speak with director Nikos Karathanos and members of the cast about their production of The Birds, in a post-show discussion on May 10.   

Award-winning design group Beetroot has created a special animation about Aristophanes and The Birds that will appear in April on the festival website: https://onassisusa.org/events/festival/birds.

BIRDS: A FESTIVAL INSPIRED BY ARISTOPHANES - EVENT DESCRIPTIONS AND FULL SCHEDULE

American Museum of Natural History — EarthFest Sun., April 22 Central Park West and 79th Street, New York Free with Museum admission

As part of the Museum’s EarthFest, discover the “Bird Zone”—revel in the splendor of birds with concerts, philosophical bird walks, arts and crafts, scavenger hunts, and children’s bird-themed literature. For more information, please visit amnh.org.

Hands-On Activities 10:00am to 5:45pm Warburg Hall of New York State Environment and Hall of North American Forests

An exciting day of family-friendly games, stories, and crafts inspired by birds, where adults can nest in the museum’s special reading nook with their children. Special activities include origami crafts and scavenger hunts.

Olivier Messiaen’s Catalogue of Birds Hall of North American Forests, 9am—5:15pm

Listen to live excerpts of composer Oliver Messiaen’s iconic piece, in which the songs of 77 distinct birds unfold in a series of 13 movements, totaling nearly three hours of solo piano music. The Hall North American Forests will host a series of mini piano concerts throughout the day of April 22, for an aural journey that highlights the connections between birdsong and music. Performers include Mayumi Tsuchida, Adam Tendler, Jade Conlee, Mikael Darmanie, David Friend, Taka Kigawa, Elizabeth Dorman, Xintong Zang, and more.

Let’s Walk: The Birds Edition Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Hall, at 1pm and 5pm Reservations encouraged

Simon Critchley will take the Onassis Cultural Center New York’s signature peripatetic philosophical series to the American Museum of Natural History, where he will be joined by Paul Sweet, Collections Manager, Division of Vertebrate Zoology – Ornithology, for an ornitho-logical walk.

Catalogue of Birds Concert by Taka Kigawa Followed by To Philosophize is to Learn How to Fly: A Philosophical Bird Talk Concert at 6:30pm, Talk at 7:30pm Hall of North American Forests Reservations encouraged

Renowned solo pianist Taka Kigawa performs books 1 and 7 of Olivier Messiaen’s “Catalogue of Birds,” a re-imagination of 77 French bird species' songs in 13 movements. A lover of nature, Messiaen gathered birdsongs in his travels and incorporated them in this massive oeuvre, so that birds flit in and out of the textures of his music.

Following the concert, Paul Sweet, Collections Manager, Division of Vertebrate Zoology – Ornithology at the American Museum of Natural History (which holds the largest bird collection in the world) and philosopher Simon Critchley will engage in colorful conversation, inspired by the many winged creatures in some of the museum’s most popular galleries.

As the American Museum of Natural History closes at 5:45pm, attendees should use the after-hours entrance at the Central Park West security desk (under the main entrance).

The New York Public Library Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, 476 Fifth Avenue, New York, Entrance on 42nd Street

LIVE from the NYPL with Rachel Kushner: Prison Complex Tues., May 1, 7pm For tickets please visit http://on.nypl.org/prisoncompl...

Democracy implies the participation of the people in a fair political process, a theme highly relevant in Aristophanes’ The Birds. Questions such as what wrongdoing is punished, whose corruption is liable to expulsion, who rules and why, were central to the play, and feel prescient in the context of mass incarceration in the contemporary United States. These deep political and philosophical queries in Aristophanes will be highlighted in a conversation with bestselling author Rachel Kushner on her most recent novel, The Mars Room, which is set in a women’s correctional facility deep within California’s central valley. Romy Hall is at the start of two consecutive life sentences and severed from the San Francisco of her youth and her young son, Jackson. Inside is a new reality: thousands of women hustling for the bare essentials needed to survive; the bluffing and pageantry and casual acts of violence by guards and prisoners alike; and the deadpan absurdities of institutional living, which Kushner evokes with great humor and precision. Kushner will speak with screenwriter and director Paul Schrader.

LIVE from the NYPL with Rachel Kushner and Paul Schrader is presented in partnership with The New York Public Library.

St. Ann’s Warehouse Brooklyn Bridge Park, 45 Water St, Brooklyn

St. Ann's Warehouse and Onassis Cultural Centre-Athens present The Birds By Aristophanes Directed by Nikos Karathanos Adapted by Nikos Karathanos and Giannis Asteris 12 Performances Only American Premiere May 2-13

Nikos Karathanos’ The Birds, a modern, feast-for-the-senses adaptation of Aristophanes’ wild comedy, makes its American Premiere,Following its sold-out World Premiere at the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus and a subsequent popular engagement at the Onassis Cultural Center in Athens, Greece.

This vibrant restaging, with a company of 19 actors, centers on two Athenians, Peisthetaerus and Euelpides, who, fed up with their city and the gods who rule over it, seek out the birds to build a utopia in the clouds. In his production, for which he adapted Aristophanes’ text with Giannis Asteris, Karathanos draws on everything from ancient practices to pop culture, music hall to drag artistry, rites of passage to beach parties. He creates what he calls a “weird and outrageous experience” honoring the original while molding it to reflect on contemporary issues—at a time when the Greek debt crisis continues to put major strains on civilians, and globalization and economic strife spark reactionary, isolationist politics across the world.

The Birds has a wild and subversive energy, that reminded me of the original production of Hair, with its hippie manifesto and mélange of colorful ragtag players and musicians as the birds and the gods, including a paralympian as Zeus. Aggelos Triantafillou’s music and the awesome sound he and the cast create for the birds stuck in my memory long after I saw this production in Athens,” says St. Ann’s Warehouse Artistic Director Susan Feldman.

The performance is in Greek, with English supertitles.

Nature of Justice: On The Birds May 3-13, 2018 Curated by Mari Spirito

Nature of Justice: On The Birds is a contemporary visual and audio art exhibition commissioned by the Onassis Cultural Center New York and accompanying Nikos Karathanos’ production of The Birds at St. Ann’s Warehouse. Machine Dazzle, Louise Lawler, Sofia Stevi and Theo Triantafyllidis present works that share the themes of the play, such as the failure of democracy, corruption, and the nature of beauty. Installed in the garden and lobby of the theater, these artists bring their own, clear, singular voices, from Greece and the United States, offering alternative dimensions to The Birds performance, and broadening the public and cultural dialogue initiated by the production.

Mari Spirito is Founding Director and Curator of Protocinema, realizing site-aware exhibitions in the world, since 2011.

Pigeon Toes: Bird Walks Sat., May 5 8-9:30am 10-10:45am - for young people (6-12) accompanied by adults 11:30am-1pm 2-2:45pm - for young people (6-12) accompanied by adults 3:30-5pm Meeting point: Jane’s Carousel, Empire Fulton Ferry State Park, 1 Water St, Brooklyn

FREE. For reservations visit https://onassisusa.org/events/...

Bird lovers can unite in these walks led by Paul Sweet, Collections Manager, Division of Vertebrate Zoology - Ornithology at the American Museum of Natural History, which has the largest bird collection in the world. These bird-watching tours highlight the many and motley species of birds present right outside our doorstep, in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Attendees are asked to bring binoculars & comfortable shoes. Wheelchair accessible.

Nature of Justice: A Visual Arts Response to The Birds Mon, May 7, at 7pm Andreas Angelidakis, Artist, Athens Reem Fadda, Independent Curator, Ramallah  Anne Pasternak, Shelby White and Leon Levy Director, Brooklyn Museum Moderated by Afroditi Panagiotakou, Director of Culture, Onassis Foundation, Athens Curated by Mari Spirito FREE. Reservations Required. For reservations visit https://onassisusa.org/events/...

In this meeting of the minds from Greece, the Middle East, and the United States, Angelidakis, Fadda, and Pasternak come together to discuss their work in relationship to themes explored in Nature of Justice, the visual art exhibition accompanying The Birds. They will touch upon issues such as corruption and the failure of democracy, which weighed as heavily on Athenian citizens in the 5th century BC as they do on all of us today. Is it natural for people to be corrupt and brutal? Is justice for all an achievable ideal? Given the comedic and corporeal aspects of the play, a lively conversation will unfold, followed by a Q&A with the audience.

Voices on: Post-Show Artist Talk Thurs., May 10, 9:30pm Moderated by St. Ann’s Warehouse Artistic Director Susan Feldman FREE

The Birds director Nikos Karathanos and other members of the cast discuss the original approach to their production and adaptation, a remarkable feast for the senses. 

Stella Adler Studio of Acting

The Birds in Prison Mon., May 7 Rikers Island Correctional Facility Not open to the public

In Aristophanes’ The Birds, when the goddess Iris infiltrates Cloud-cuckoo-land, she is confronted by Peisthetaerus and accused of breaking the law: “In fact, you’re breaking the law right now.  Do you realize that if you go what’s coming to you, you’d deserve more than all other Irises to be captured and put to death?” (Birds 1221-1223, trans. Henderson). As the new “rulers” of the sky, Peisthetaerus and the birds have upended the established hierarchy, demanding obedience of the soon-to-be subjugated gods and threatening them with capture and punishment. The apparent injustice feels prescient in the context of mass incarceration in the contemporary United States.

Through a highly productive relationship with the New York City Department of Correction (DOC), Stella Adler Studio of Acting’s Outreach Division has served over 600 people and multiple detained populations since 2014. Through this partnership with the Onassis Cultural Center New York, members of The Birds cast will visit inmates to perform songs from the play and discuss its themes. Participants will have read selections of The Birds to inspire their own work, which explores what happens when people are estranged from the democratic process. 

New-York Historical Society 170 Central Park West, New York

Meet the Fledglings Sat., May 12, 2 PM, Ages 5+ For more information, visit nyhistory.org.

Onassis Cultural Center New York is partnering with the New-York Historical Society’s DiMenna Children’s History Museum for the 6th annual Meet the Fledglings program, co-produced with the Wild Bird Fund in honor of the special exhibition Feathers: Fashion and the Fight for Wildlife opening in April 2018. The Wild Bird Fund will visit the Museum to teach us all about our neighbors with nests and allow participants to feed the baby birds in their care. Participants will be encouraged to explore the exhibition in the Luman Reed Galleries on the Museum’s second floor. Attendance at the program is recommended for ages 5 and up, and requires Museum Admission plus $5 per child. 

Metrograph 7 Ludlow Street, New York, NY For hours and tickets please visit metrograph.com May 18-20

The Birds, by Alfred Hitchcock

It’s business as usual in the coastal California town of Bodega Bay, when one day our fine feathered friends up and go on the offense. One of Hitchcock’s supreme master-builder achievements plays on our fear of nature’s capricious cruelty, with San Francisco transplants Tippi Hedren and Rod Taylor thrown together to try to survive the avian onslaught. Boasts some of Hitch’s most perfect set pieces, mixing location shoots and extraordinary back-lot artifice, as well as his most punishing.

Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, by Jim Jarmusch Selected by Nikos Karathanos, director of The Birds at St. Ann’s Warehouse

Forest Whitaker’s Ghost Dog isn’t your average Mafia hitman. He’s a devoted bibliophile, follows the samurai code as laid out in Yamamoto Tsnetomo’s Hagakure, and relaxes by tending to his pigeon coop, which you’d be wise not to mess with. While borrowing from Jean-Pierre Melville and spaghetti westerns, this offbeat piece of pulp art is finally pure Jarmusch, with a stirring score by RZA and a rich supporting role for Isaach De Bankolé as our hero’s Francophone “best friend”—who he can’t understand at all. (Karathanos will not be present for the event.)

The King and the Mockingbird, by Paul Grimault (Family friendly, rated PG)

Imagined as France’s first animated feature at the end of the 1940s by Grimault and poetic realist writer Jacques Prévert, The King and the Mockingbird finally came into the world in 1980. Based on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweep, the tale of a cross-eyed king enamored of a painting of a shepherdess who only has eyes for a neighboring painting, the finished product is a brimming banquet of inventive animation admired and adored by the great Hayao Miyazaki, among many others.

Brewster McCloud, by Robert Altman

Reimagining the myth of Icarus, Altman risked imitating it—that is, letting his outsized imagination brush too close to the sun. The resulting comic fantasy, Brewster McCloud, was met with baffled incomprehension on release, but in subsequent years this study of a boy (Bud Cort) living in the Houston Astrodome who aspires to fly away on a pair of self-constructed bird wings has been embraced as an authentic ‘70s one-off. With Shelley Duvall, Michael Murphy, and M*A*S*H’s Sally Kellerman as a kind-of Fairy Godmother.

The Brooklyn Museum 200 Eastern Pkwy, Brooklyn, NY

Aristophanes and Political Satire With Bruce Norris, Denis O’Hare, Jennifer Y. Chi, and Françoise Mouly Moderated by Alexandra Petri April 25, 7pm Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Auditorium, Third Floor Free with registration; check brooklynmuseum.org for tickets

Political satire in the age of social media has had an exponential reach on all people and with it an increased ability to effect change. In antiquity, Aristophanes' plays addressed many political issues of the day, using artistic license to launch bold attacks on contemporary leaders. In this free event, artists and influencers talk about how their work can question and criticize abuses of power, with humor, wit or scathing sarcasm. 

Julian Crouch and Saskia Lane’s Birdheart May 19 Time TBD. For more information see brooklynmuseum.org or https://onassisusa.org/events/...

An egg cracks open. A restless spirit emerges. What will it become?

An intimate and stunning chamber piece of animated theatre created with a sheet of brown paper, found objects, shadows and a box of sand. A show about transformation, loneliness, and the urge to fly, Birdheart holds a mirror up to humanity. Through a series of animated images built in front of the audiences’ eyes, Birdheart creates something achingly beautiful from the humblest of beginnings.

David Levine: Some of the People, All of the Time Exhibition, May 24 –July 8 Wednesdays-Sundays, Times Vary Lobby gallery

Usurpation, extrapolation, exaggeration, flattery – duplicitous tactics deployed in order to gain power – are central to Aristophanes’ The Birds: men pretend to pass as birds, and birds pretend to pass as gods. Peisthetaerus, the protagonist, rises to power not only by making a travesty of consensus, but also by making others pass for what they are not.

Deception and manipulation are also at the core of David Levine’s new conceptual art project, Some of the People, All of the Time, which explores what it means for a democracy to manufacture consent or discord. Some of the People, All of the Time draws on the human instinct to join together—to gather, to watch, to share, to participate, to socialize, even to protest, but prompts a disturbing realization: what if a member of such a gathering is not there for hope or with sincerity, but is there as someone’s agent, surrogate, or catspaw? With alarming frequency, digital and physical fake crowds are being used to influence and discredit the will of the people. For thousands of years a basic political endgame has been to avoid tyranny—allegorized beautifully in Aristophanes’ The Birds—yet we continue to bear witness to repeated attacks by bad-faith players exploiting the democratic process.

Addressing issues of human identity, agency, and labor through the figure of the actor, David Levine’s Some of the People, All of the Time deploys our suspicion of the actor—a professional who gets paid to feel—to examine the political and emotional underpinnings of our present moment. The centerpiece of Some of the People, All of the Time is a new dramatic text materialized by a rotating cast for the duration of the exhibition. Facing a series of “fake persons” drawn from the real world, visitors will wrestle firsthand not only with the crisis of believing what you see, but saying what you mean.

David Levine’s work encompasses performance, theater, video and photography. His performance and exhibition work have been presented by Creative Time, MoMA, REDCAT, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Mass MoCA, PS1, PS122 the Watermill Center, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and has been featured in Artforum, Frieze, Theater, TDR, PAJ, The New Yorker, and The New York Times.

Please check back on brooklynmuseum.org for additional public programs to be confirmed.

Opening Performative Lecture by David Levine Wed., May 23, 7pm Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Auditorium, Third Floor Free with registration; check brooklynmuseum.org for tickets

Artist David Levine opens his exhibition project Some of the People, All of the Time with a lecture on the history and theory of the fake crowd, from Ancient Rome to the present day.

Bring the Cool: Express Yourself! Cool Culture Family Festival Sat., June 16, 12-4pm Free for Cool Culture and P.S. 1 families Free for the general public with Museum admission

This is a free interactive festival for all families, celebrating the true spirit of democracy: freedom to express who you truly are. This festival will be filled with imaginative art-making activities, where young people can make their own feathered friend or puppet version of themselves, create their own activism patches, perform their own stories in the galleries, go on a scavenger hunt, and more. Whether it’s through movement, music, visual art, fashion, or another medium, this family festival is all about celebrating our identities, stories, and dreams, and imagining what the world would look like if children were in charge. A special concert performance with celebrated R&B and soul musicians Shine & The Moonbeams will take place 3pm. Hosted in partnership with Cool Culture and P.S. 1 Elementary School, and co-presented with the Onassis Cultural Center New York as part of Birds: A Festival Inspired by Aristophanes. Drop in any time, or stay for the whole afternoon!

Bilingual volunteers (Spanish, Mandarin, and Cantonese) will be present.

About Onassis Foundation USA

An affiliate of the parent Foundation, the Onassis Foundation USA is dedicated to Greek culture from antiquity to the present. By cooperating with educational and cultural institutions in Greece and throughout the Americas, the Onassis Foundation USA promotes cultural relations. The mission is realized through two major initiatives, one cultural, for the general public through its Onassis Cultural Center New York, and the other, academic, for scholars and students in partnership with institutions of higher learning.

About Onassis Cultural Center New York

Founded in 2000, the Onassis Cultural Center New York explores Greek culture, from antiquity to today, through a rich and diverse program of exhibitions, events, and online engagement, offering experiences that inspire and support interactions between audiences and artists and thinkers in all cultural fields, from the visual arts, dance, film, literature, music, and theater to the humanities.

About Onassis Cultural Center-Athens

The Onassis Cultural Centre-Athens(OCC-Athens) is a creative hub for artists, audiences and ideas, which hosts events and actions across the whole spectrum of the arts from theatre, dance, music, cinema and the visual arts to digital and hybrid art and the written word. It showcases contemporary cultural expression, supports Greek artists, cultivates international collaborations, explores the boundaries between science, art and society, and promotes lifelong learning for people of all ages. A home for innovation in contemporary culture, engaging both Greek and global communities. www.sgt.gr.

About the Co-Presenters

The American Museum of Natural History is one of the world’s preeminent scientific and cultural institutions. Since its founding in 1869, the Museum has advanced its global mission to discover, interpret, and disseminate information about human cultures, the natural world, and the universe through a wide-ranging program of scientific research, education, and exhibition. The Museum is renowned for its exhibitions and scientific collections, which serve as a field guide to the entire planet and present a panorama of the world's cultures.

The Brooklyn Museum presents important art in eye-opening ways, and has long been at the forefront of engagement with underserved and younger audiences, from its widely popular Target First Saturdays program and creative reinstallations of its permanent collection, to its pioneering online presence and inventive use of technology in reimagining the visitor experience. A driving force behind the massive growth and energy of the Borough of Brooklyn and of its diverse cultural community, the Brooklyn Museum annually welcomes more than half a million visitors who represent one of New York’s most diverse museum-going audiences. With roots dating back to 1823, the Brooklyn Museum is one of the oldest and largest museums in the United States, with a collection representing nearly every culture, ranging from some of the most important ancient Egyptian works in the nation; to the arts of the Pacific Islands, Asia, Africa, and the Islamic world; to American and European art; to international contemporary works. The Brooklyn Museum is home to the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, the only facility of its kind in the country. For more information, visit brooklynmuseum.org.

Engage with the brightest at The New York Public Library's premier cultural series! LIVE from the NYPL offers conversations with notable writers, artists, and leaders, hosted by Paul Holdengräber.

Metrograph is a unique experience of seeing prestigious films; of stepping into a special, curated world of cinema, a world of hospitality harkening back to the great New York movie theaters of the 1920s, as well as the Commissaries of the Hollywood Studio back lots, a world inhabited by movie professionals screening their work, taking meetings, watching films. It’s the ultimate place for movie enthusiasts. From exclusive premieres to rare archival print screenings, book signings, special dinners, and events, Metrograph offers experiences for a wide spectrum of audiences, attracting diverse communities all drawn to the excitement of cinema and the magic of having a place to celebrate it. Founded and designed by Alexander Olch, Metrograph projects archive quality 35mm and state of the art digital video, and features the Commissary restaurant, a balcony lounge, a bookstore, and candy shop.

Founded in 1804 as New York's first museum, the New-York Historical Society is dedicated to increasing worldwide understanding of American history through exhibitions, public programs, online outreach, and research that reveal the dynamism of history and its influence on the world of today. Our collections provide the foundation for exploration of the nation’s richly layered past and support New-York Historical's mission to provide a forum for debate and examination of issues surrounding the making and meaning of history.

St. Ann’s Warehouse plays a vital role on the global cultural landscape as an artistic home for international companies of distinction, American avant-garde masters and talented emerging artists ready to work on a grand scale.

Established in 1949, the Stella Adler Studio of Acting was founded upon Stella’s belief in the supreme seriousness of art, both its cultural significance and its power to affect social change. Today the Stella Adler Studio extends the tradition rooted in Stella’s ideals. The Studio uses the power of theater to contribute to positive social transformation, employs craft and art in service to communities and trains highly skilled actors who understand their role as the voice of the people.

Festival Press Contacts

Blake Zidell Blake Zidell & Associates 718.643.9052 blake@blakezidell.com

Eleanor Goldhar Onassis Foundation USA 917.732.7166 egoldhar@onassisusa.org