William Kentridge: Peter Gelb, The Metropolitan Opera

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In celebration of Art21’s forthcoming feature film William Kentridge: Anything is Possiblepremiering October 21, 2010 at 10:00 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings) — the Exclusive series is devoting the month of October to telling stories about Kentridge’s numerous artistic collaborators whom we’ve had the distinct privilege of meeting these past few years. This is the first of six episodes.

Episode #122: Peter Gelb, General Manager of the Metropolitan Opera in New York, discusses the historical context and artistic sensibility of William Kentridge’s 2010 production of Dmitri Shostakovich’s The Nose (1928), based on the short story by Nikolai Gogol (1836). Featuring behind-the-scenes technical and dress rehearsals, as well as performances from the production’s opening night.

Having witnessed first-hand one of the twentieth century’s most contentious struggles—the dissolution of apartheid—William Kentridge brings the ambiguity and subtlety of personal experience to public subjects most often framed in narrowly defined terms. Using film, drawing, sculpture, animation, and performance, he transmutes sobering political events into powerful poetic allegories. Aware of myriad ways in which we construct the world by looking, Kentridge often uses optical illusions to extend his drawings-in-time into three dimensions.

William Kentridge is featured in the Season 5 (2009) episode Compassion of the Art in the Twenty-First Century television series on PBS. Watch full episodes online via PBS Video, Hulu, or iTunes (link opens application).

VIDEO | Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview: Susan Sollins. Camera: Joel Shapiro. Sound: Tom Bergin. Editor: Mary Ann Toman. Artwork Courtesy: William Kentridge. Special Thanks: Peter Gelb & The Metropolitan Opera, New York. © 2010 Art21, Inc.

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Contributor
Wesley Miller is the associate curator at ART21. Miller co-curates the television series Art in the Twenty-First Century. He is also co-creator of the series New York Close Up.

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