Robert Walser at the Elizabeth Street Garden

Pencil_lying_in_grassIt’s no secret that Robert Walser loved nature: parks and gardens, woods for walking through, rolling landscapes and stretches of countryside that could be surveyed from the crests of hills. And starting next weekend, the Elizabeth Street Garden in Manhattan’s Nolita neighborhood (on Elizabeth between Prince and Spring) will be putting on an exhibition of art inspired by his writings. The curator is Serra Sabuncuoglu, and the list of participating artists is so long I’ll be curious to see how that much art even fits in the garden!

William Anastasi, Robert Barry, Lisa Blas, Dove Bradshaw, Emmy Catedral, Greg Colson, Peter Downsbrough, Satoru Eguchi, Joy Episalla, Thomas Evans, David Fenn, Alec Finlay, Aileen Frankel, Elana Herzog, Corinne Jones, Alison Knowles, Ruth Liberman, Tim Maul, Jeremy Millar, Kazuko Miyamoto,  Jill O’Bryan, J Pasila, Janet Passehl, Michele Quan, Andrea Robbins and Max Becher, Michelle Rosenberg, Martin Roth, Antonio Rovaldi, Ethan Ryman, Kazumi Sakurai, Carol Szymanski, Elizabeth Tubergen, Merrill Wagner, Carrie Yamaoka.

Sabuncuoglu has also arranged an ambitious program of events (music, film, dance, readings) to accompany the show. I’ll be participating at the opening on Sunday, May 11, reading some stories and talking about what the intersection of nature and city life looks like in Walser’s work with Walser-obsessed poet Mina Pam Dick. Two days later, on Tuesday, May 13, I’ll be introducing All This Can Happen, a fascinating film by Siobhan Davies and David Hinton based on Walser’s story “The Walk.”

Here’s the complete program as it currently stands. All events take place in the garden unless otherwise specified; in case of rain, events will be relocated to the gallery next door at 209 Elizabeth Street.

The Mound Speaks, confessional musical performance by a mound of dirt, with Alexandra Tatarsky: Sunday, May 11 at 5:00 pm

Robert Walser: Nature and the City reading and commentary with Susan Bernofsky and Mina Pam Dick: Sunday, May 11 at 6:00 pm

All This Can Happen, a film by Siobhan Davies and David Hinton, courtesy of the filmmakers and presented by Susan Bernofsky: Tuesday, May 13 at 6:30 pm, Cinema Studies, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, 721 Broadway at Waverley Place, Room 670

Litany, a film projection by Raha Raissnia with musical accompaniment by Panagiotis Mavridis: Thursday, May 22 at sundown

Last Minutes of the Robert Walser Society of Western Massachusetts with Jane Carver and others: Monday, May 26 at 7:00 pm

Dance Performances:

  • Elke Rindfleisch: Sunday, May 11 and Saturday, May 17 at 4:30 pm
  • Ariane Anthony and Jeffrey Bauer: Saturday, May 17 at 5:30 pm
  • Caroline Copeland and Friends: Saturday, May 24 at 3:00 and 4:00 pm
  • Tamara Riewe and Friends, from Trisha Brown Dance Company, with Walser translations by Damion Searls, June 1, time TBA

Musical Performances:

  • Ben Russell: Thursday, May 15, 22 & 29 at 5:00 pm
  • Deviant by Panagiotis Mavridis, Sebastian Mekas and Dalius Naujokaitis: Thursday May 15 & 29 at sundown
  • Rock ‘n’ Roll Therapist and original songs by Paul McMahon: Sunday, May 18 at 2:00 pm
  • Jane Carver: Monday, May 26 at 7:00 pm

Additional Readings and Performances by Wayne Adams, Serra Sabuncuoglu, and others.

Since the program/schedule is still in flux, make sure to check the exhibition website for the latest on times and places, and contact the curator with any questions. Hope to see you at the opening for art and Walser in the garden.

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