The Lab

The Lab is a nonprofit experimental art and performance space located in the Mission District of San Francisco.

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Keith Hennessy: Crotch


Thursday, June 7, 2018; 7:30pm Doors / 8pm Performance
Friday, June 8, 2018; 7:30pm Doors / 8pm Performance
Saturday, June 9, 2018; 7:30pm Doors / 8pm Performance

Advanced tickets for all performances: $15 Guests / Free for members 
Door tickets: $10–20 sliding scale

Crotch (all the Joseph Beuys references in the world cannot heal the pain, confusion, regret, cruelty, betrayal or trauma...) references the images and actions of artist Joseph Beuys. On the surface the work is about art, its histories and heroes. Deeper, a sadness grows, a queer melancholy. A song, a dance, a lecture, talking to the dead. All labor is creative. This is the tenth anniversary performance of Hennessy’s Bessie Award winning solo.

Moving across a stage full of sculpture, Hennessy cannibalizes the work of the legendary and problematic Beuys, embodying his shamanic beliefs and channeling this mythic figure. Using chocolate, fat, felt, steel, signs, texts, and threads of alchemical connection Crotch re-stages Beuys’ work from the gallery to the body, from the sculptor to the dancer, adapting abstract forms to express grief and loss. The male artist at mid-life, following his gay divorce, attempts a virtuosic lecture on 1000 years of European philosophy and art history, which collapses spectacularly. The work concludes in a quietly unsettling ritual of connection and absence, testing the limits of the theater and the potential for community.

Performance & Installation: Keith Hennessy
This performance is made possible with support from The Zellerbach Family Foundation

“an outré, charged solo” New York Times

“gorgeously smart” Artforum

“Crotch is ultimately about ritual and healing through daringly intimate human connection." Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Hennessy is that rare artist who succeeds in translating fierce social concerns into artistically satisfying creations that enlighten and entertain. Against all odds he believes in art's power to  reassume its ritualistic and healing function.” Rita Felciano

“Hennessy is among those artists whose contributions have helped form the size, shape, and feel of art and life in the Bay Area. He’s brutally honest, passionate, sometimes overbearing and worth seeing for all those reasons.” J. H. Tompkins

Crotch was developed at Ponderosa (Stolzenhagen Germany) in 2007 and was commissioned/presented at L’Arsenic (Lausanne Switz) in 2008. It has also been presented in Vienna (Impulstanz), San Francisco (Dance Mission), Minneapolis (The Southern Theater), New York (Dance Theater Workshop), Zagreb (Queer Zagreb), Liverpool UK (Bluecoat Performance Space), Berlin (Tanzfabrik), Berkeley (Shotgun’s Ashby Stage), American Realness Festival NY (Abrons Art Center), Helsinki (Sidestep Festival, Zodiac), Geneva (Grütli), Poznan Poland (Stary Browar Nowy Taniec), Kelowna (UBC), Copenhagen (Dansens Hus), Chicago (Storefront), Bern (BONE Festival), Roanoke (Hollins University).

Keith Hennessy, MFA, PhD, is a dancer, writer, choreographer, activist, and ritualist. Raised in Canada, living in San Francisco since 1982, he tours internationally. Keith’s 2016-17 collaborators include Peaches, Meg Stuart, Scott Wells, Jassem Hindi, J Jha, Annie Danger, Gerald Casel, Blank Map and Turbulence. Awards include Guggenheim, USArtist, Bessie, Sui Generis, and a few Izzies. Hennessy directs Circo Zero and was a member of Sara Shelton Mann's Contraband, 1985-1994. Recent gigs include New Tretyakov / VAC Foundation (Moscow), Impulstanz (Vienna), Ponderosa (German), Warsaw Flow, TBA Festival (Portland), Movement Research (NY), American Realness (NY), and the colleges San Diego State, Mills, St Mary's, and Hollins. circozero.org