Curators (like critics) are a dime a dozen in the arts world— they produce lots of chatter, most of which slides quickly to the background.
The Philip Bithers of this world, on the other hand, are few and far between. He’s one of the first people I call when I need a smart opinion about something happening in the performing arts. I don’t always agree with what he says, but I always respect it.
Like most high-profile curators these days, Philip has a ridiculously packed travel schedule. He’s zooming into Portland for three days, for a multitasking trip that includes the Contemporary Art Centers Network’s fall meeting (the Walker is one of the network’s founding sites). He’ll also be attending Sunday’s public session on a new curatorial performance institute that he’s involved with.
And, of course, he’s coming to see some art. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the festival choices, you could do a lot worse than follow his itinerary. Here’s what he sent me:
Of particular interest are Jerome Bêl’s new work (we helped introduce his work to the States six years ago with “The Show Must Go On,” which also went to DTW and Wexner that tour), Wooster Group’s installation piece, Charles Atlas portrait With Merce and his other pieces (Atlas travels from Portland straight to the Walker to premiere his film of our production of Merce’s OCEAN next week) and Dayna Hanson (who I have commissioned/presented as part of 33 Fainting Spells, but I am now very interested in seeing her new solo, experimental music-theater work). I am also going to check out while I am there new work by Mike Daisey, Portland- and Vegas-based movement artists Danielle Kelly and Noelle Stiles, Ireland’s Gare St. Lazare doing Beckett, a (rare) public chat by Liz LeCompte, and some of the late night performances at The Works. Jamming all of this in three days(!)
Phew. If you see Philip napping in a corner during intermission, please don’t disturb him…