The Museum of Modern Art has commissioned artist/musician Antony to conceive, produce, and perform a large-scale concert and performance event, Swanlights, with Antony and the Johnsons, on Thursday, January 26, 2012, at 8:00 p.m. at Radio City Music Hall. Featuring a 60-piece orchestra, the performance piece is conceived as a new commission especially developed for the January 26 performance, and an evolution of the highly acclaimed The Crying Light, which was presented at the Manchester Opera House for the 2009 Manchester International Festival. Envisioned as a meditation on light, nature, and femininity, Swanlightsincludes songs from all four of Antony and the Johnsons’ albums (self-titled, I am a Bird Now,The Crying Light, and Swanlights), set to symphonic arrangements by Nico Muhly, Rob Moose, and Maxim Moston. It is produced in collaboration with light artist Chris Levine, lighting designer Paul Normandale, and set designer Carl Robertshaw. Antony and the Johnsons: Swanlights is organized by Klaus Biesenbach, Chief Curator at Large of The Museum of Modern Art and Director of MoMA PS1, with the assistance of Eliza Ryan, Curatorial Assistant, MoMA PS1.
This month also sees a work-in-progress screening of TURNING, a film by Charles Atlas and Antony on November 11th at Copenhagen’s Documentary Film Festival CPH:DOX. In 2006 Antony and the Johnsons and Charles Atlas toured Europe with a concert and live video portrait of 13 women from New York City. The Guardian called their presentation at The Barbican, "fragile, life affirming, and truly wonderful (five stars)." Le Monde in Paris hailed the performance at the Olympia as "Concert-manifeste transsexuel." The film TURNING explores the heart of that performance. Through its synthesis of Antony´s songs and unfurling video portraiture of the beauties who performed on stage, TURNING creates an intimate and cinematic experience exploring the themes of identity, transcendence and the revelation of essence.
Since being awarded the UK’s prestigious Mercury Prize in 2005, Antony has collaborated with musicians including Björk, Yoko Ono, Laurie Anderson, Boy George, CocoRosie, and Lou Reed, and recently he has performed with symphonies around the world. Reed has said, "When I first heard him I knew I was in the presence of an angel.” Anderson adds, “Two words and he has broken your heart. When he sings it is the most exquisite thing you will hear in your life.”
Following its acclaimed presentation at the 2009 Manchester International Festival, the group’s performance of Antony and the Johnsons The Crying Light was included in the exhibition 100 Years (version #2, ps1, nov 2009) at MoMA PS1, which was organized by Klaus Biesenbach and RoseLee Goldberg, Performa Director and Curator.
Last summer, Antony was the musical director and a performer in the critically lauded The Life and Death of Marina Abramović, directed by Robert Wilson. This piece will tour Madrid, Amsterdam, Basel and Antwerp in Spring 2012.
As a visual artist, Antony has exhibited drawings at Palais Des Beaux Arts in Belgium, Isis Gallery in London, Accademia Albertina in Turin and the Triennale in Milan. Antony’s premier exhibit of drawings in the US will be held at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles in January 2012, curated by James Elaine.
Tickets to Antony and the Johnsons: Swanlights will go on-sale to the public on Saturday, November 12, at 10:00 a.m. via Ticketmaster phone charge at 1-866-858-0008, and online atwww.radiocity.com and www.ticketmaster..com.
Antony and the Johnsons: Swanlights was made possible by the generous support of MoMA’s Wallis Annenberg Fund for Innovation in Contemporary Art through the Annenberg Foundation.