Share this project

Done

Share this project

Done
3 operas. 30 artists. 3 weeks. Alex Waterman directs Robert Ashley's groundbreaking works, new and reimagined for the Whitney Biennial.
3 operas. 30 artists. 3 weeks. Alex Waterman directs Robert Ashley's groundbreaking works, new and reimagined for the Whitney Biennial.
248 backers pledged $55,569 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

3 OPERAS BY ROBERT ASHLEY AT THE 2014 WHITNEY BIENNIAL project video thumbnail
Replay with sound
Play with
sound

$55,569

248

We're deeply saddened by Robert Ashley's passing on March 3rd. The production of these operas has taken on a new meaning: to honor Bob and his singular voice. 
We will celebrate his life and genius at the Whitney Biennial. 

____________________________________________________________________

This April, an extraordinary group of multi-disciplinary artists will stage three operas by avant-garde composer Robert Ashley, directed by Alex Waterman at the 2014 Whitney Biennial in NYC: 

  • The World Premiere of Crash (2014), a new autobiographical opera for six voices
  • A live television production of all 7 episodes of Vidas Perfectas, the Spanish version of Ashley’s monumental television-opera Perfect Lives (1983)
  • A recreation of his early “speaking opera” The Trial of Anne Opie Wehrer and Unknown Accomplices for Crimes Against Humanity (1968).

Over 30 artists and technicians are involved in these productions, which will include the building of a TV studio inside the Whitney Museum of Art for the recording and live mixing of Vidas Perfectas in front of a live studio audience. 

The Whitney Biennial project is an exciting culmination of a decade of research, writing, performances, and productions of Ashley's work by Alex Waterman. 

To make this ambitious project a reality, and to compensate all of the incredible collaborators involved, we’re reaching out to you, the Kickstarter community, for your support.

*** Special Benefit Concert at ISSUE Project Room March 24 ***

We are excited to offer a special benefit concert hosted by Issue Project Room on Monday, March 24, 2014 to our Kickstarter supporters who pledge $50 or more. Pledges at $125 or more include a +1.

Featuring solo performances by Vidas Perfectas collaborators Peter Gordon, Elio Villafranca, Ned Sublette, and Alex Waterman, followed by a dance party.

Sponsored by The New York Distilling Company.

Seating at this event is limited. We suggest making your pledges early to secure your tickets.

An RSVP confirmation will be sent through Kickstarter following your pledge of $50 or more.

***ABOUT THE OPERAS***

Crash

Note: Funds from Kickstarter will go toward paying production costs of Crash, however performance fees for the singers and sound designer are being generously paid by Mimi Johnson / Performing Artservices, Inc. The production costs we need to cover include sound and light rentals, technicians, and recording and filming.

Crash is Robert Ashley’s final work, a new opera written specifically for the occasion of the Whitney Biennial, where it will have its world premiere. An autobiographical account of Ashley’s life, from year one to year 84 (March 28 would be his 84th birthday), it is an opera for six voices performed in six 15-minute long acts. Throughout the opera, there will be projections of photographs of vast landscapes by Philip Makanna, which will create an ideal space for listening and for meditation.

Performance Schedule
(running time: 90 minutes)

Thursday, April 10 at 4pm
Friday, April 11 at 6:30pm
Saturday, April 12 at 4pm
Sunday, April 13 at 4pm

VIDAS PERFECTAS

Vidas Perfectas juxtaposes characters as all-American as the Captain of the Football Team and the Homecoming Queen with a shout out to Giordano Bruno, The Monk, Mystic and Mnemonist...But above all what struck me was that the collision of these elements resulted in something far more affecting than the sum of its parts. - Augusta Palmer

Vidas Perfectas is a Spanish-language version of Ashley's groundbreaking “television opera” Perfect Lives (1983), in a translation by Javier Sainz de Robles. In Vidas Perfectas, we witness an America where Spanish and English are mutually understood through the transformative and magical act of singing. Originally set on “The Corn Belt,” Vidas Perfectas transports us to the border towns of Texas – a vision of a new America. 

The 2014 Whitney Biennial marks the beginning of the filming and recording of the complete opera (all 7 episodes) in full theatrical staging. All episodes will be filmed in front of a live audience, in collaboration with Scott Kiernan and Victoria Keddie of E.S.P. TV, on the 2nd floor of the Whitney Museum. 


Footage shot on-location in Marfa, Texas in February 2014 will be mixed with live camera feeds as part of the live television experience. Between the performances, Waterman and E.S.P. TV will use the room as their workspace to rehearse, edit, and prepare footage for live television; a living installation of the artist at work. Vidas Perfectas will have subsequent performances in El Paso, TX; Ciudad Juárez, Mexico; and Marfa, TX in July 2014.

Performance Schedule(running time: 30 minutes per episode plus 15-minute set change)Thursday, April 17 at 1:30pm (El Parque, La Iglesia) & 4:30pm (La Iglesia, El Parque) Friday, April 18 at 1:30pm (El Banco, El Salon) & 6:30pm (El Banco, El Salon, El Bar) Saturday, April 19 at 12pm (El Supermercado, El Banco) & 4:30pm (El Bar, El Patio de Atras) Sunday, April 20 at 12pm (El Supermercado, El Bar) & 4:30pm (El Parque, El Patio de Atras)

THE TRIAL OF ANNE OPIE WEHRER

The Trial of Anne Opie Wehrer and Unknown Accomplices for Crimes Against Humanity is a “speaking opera” from 1968, in which the main speaker (Anne Opie Wehrer in the original) is asked to publicly answer one hundred questions about her life (by an interrogator offstage). A series of improvised interruptions, diversions, and cross-examinations by two pairs of men and women creates a cacophonous score, with sounds of evasions, sarcastic questions and answers, laughter, and a huge, complex “story” about life as they all have lived it. 

At the Biennial Anne Opie Wehrer will be replaced by four contemporary art-world personalities – artist Amy Sillman (also exhibiting in the Biennial), poet and cultural critic Wayne Koestenbaum, artist, actress, and forensic therapist Mary Farley, and visual artist Barbara Bloom.

The new version of the piece will realize Anne Opie Wehrer’s dream of being at The Whitney, almost 40 years to the day after she wrote a letter to Marcia Tucker in 1974, “Proposed for the Whitney – in its museum form as a living sculpture.”

Performance Schedule
(running time: approximately 2 ½ hours)
Wednesday, April 23 at 2pm
Thursday, April 24 at 2pm
Saturday, April 26 at 2pm
Sunday, April 27 at 2pm

From the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU for your support.

Location Scouting in Marfa, TX February 2014
Location Scouting in Marfa, TX February 2014

CREDITS

Operas by Robert Ashley

Directed by Alex Waterman

Performances at The Whitney Biennial Co-Produced by Alexandra Rosenberg and Mimi Johnson / Performing Artservices, Inc. in association with ArKtype / Thomas O. Kriegsmann, and Vidas Perfectas Co-Produced by Ballroom Marfa and El Paso Opera

Vidas Perfectas Music Produced by Peter Gordon
Production Design by Sean Daly
Vidas Perfectas
Sets and Backdrops by Sarah Crowner
Lighting by David Moodey
Live Video Composition by Scott Kiernan and Victoria Keddie of E.S.P. TV
Crash Sound Engineered by Tom Hamilton
Vidas Perfectas
Sound Engineered by Adam Bach
Vidas Perfectas
Costumes by Elisa Santiago with Twan Meijerink
Crash
 Slide Projections by Phil MakannaCRASH Projection Score Controlled by Nikolai Antonie, David Gutkin and Andrea Springer
Fundraising and Events Coordinator: Alisa Besher

Vidas Perfectas performed by Ned Sublette, Elio Villafranca, Raul de Nieves, and Elisa Santiago

Crash performed by Amirtha Kidambi, Aliza Simons, Gelsey Bell, Brian McCorkle, Paul Pinto, and Dave Ruder

The Trial of Annie Opie Wehrer performed by Amy Sillman, Wayne Koestenbaum,  Mary Farley, and Barbara Bloom.
Proxies performed by Kendra Sullivan and Alisa Besher.

Kickstarter video by Josephine Sedgwick 
Taping of Alex Waterman by Ines Portugal

Special Thanks: Issue Project Room

KICKSTARTER REWARDS

We're so grateful for your support and are happy to show our gratitude by offering some great gifts at various pledge levels. 

Here's a look at some of what we're offering:

All pledge levels will receive password protected sneak-peak videos of performance footage.
___________________________________________________________________

With a pledge of $25 you'll receive this commemorative print, designed by David Reinfurt, reinterpreting Robert Ashley's graphic template for Perfect Lives with the cast and crew of the original performances of Vidas Perfectas in 2011. 7 color offset print, 8.5x11 inches.

____________________________________________________________________

A pledge of $50 or more gets you a ticket to our benefit concert at ISSUE Project Room on March 24, 2014. 

____________________________________________________________________

For pledges of $500 or more, we're giving these gorgeous, limited edition Vidas Perfectas posters designed by Will Holder for the premiere performance of Vidas Perfectas at the Irondale Center in Brooklyn. 2-color offset print, 18x24 inches- in 3 twilight colors.

____________________________________________________________________

At $2500 we're offering a limited edition of the beautiful White on White Score Print (valued at $500): Robert Ashley's 1963 score for "Trios II" (White on White) realized by artist Will Holder with Alex Waterman. Three matrices of numbers are superimposed in matte white ink, gloss white ink, and embossing. 8.5x11 inches.

Risks and challenges

This ambitious project has taken up the better part of our lives for the past year (or years, depending on who you're talking to!)

Producing three operas at once, performing at the Whitney, filming in Marfa, honoring the work of Robert Ashley, such a seminal and important figure to the art world who continues to inspire and alter our understanding of opera, music, and performance … it's no small feat.

But this project is so of the moment, so vitally important to the field, to Bob, to all of us … we have no choice but to take it on with every ounce of our creative beings.

To move forward guided solely by our passion is - we admit - quite terrifying. And that's why we need your help:

Without these funds, we cannot pay the performers, designers, producers, engineers, and technicians for their extraordinary work and collaboration. And that would be a hard truth to bear.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

FAQ

Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

Ask a question

Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $12 or more About $12

    FLUTED GLASS//
    In Marfa, TX a restaurant called Cochineal is serving a Vidas Perfectas cocktail in honor of the opera. Buy us a hypothetical round and we'll send you the recipe to make your very own Vidas Perfectas, a delicious take on a tequila old fashioned.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    4 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    BUDDY//
    +Vidas Perfectas Commemorative Print
    Designed by David Reinfurt. 7 color offset print, 8.5x11 inches.
    +Special Thanks in printed program and Vidas Perfectas website
    +Password Protected Sneak-Peak Video of Production

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 69 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    LINDA // +Vidas Perfectas Audio Recording (from Alex Waterman/E.S.P. TV) (Fall 2014) +Invitation to benefit party & concert at Issue Project Room in NYC on March 24, 2014 // PLUS:
    +Special Thanks in printed program, Vidas Perfectas website and recording +Password Protected Sneak-Peak Video of Production

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 73 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    NOW ELEANOR // Vidas Perfectas DVD (released Fall 2014) // PLUS:
    +Vidas Perfectas Audio Recording (from Alex Waterman/E.S.P. TV) (Fall 2014)
    +Invitation with +1 to benefit party & concert at Issue Project Room in NYC on March 24, 2014
    +Special Thanks in printed program, Vidas Perfectas website and recording
    +Password Protected Sneak-Peak Video of Production

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 20 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    WILL AND IDA // Signed copy of Alex Waterman’s upcoming publication "Robert Ashley: Yes, But is it Edible?" (released April 2014) // PLUS:
    +Vidas Perfectas DVD (Fall 2014)
    +Vidas Perfectas Audio Recording (from Alex Waterman/E.S.P. TV) (Fall 2014)
    +Invitation with +1 to benefit party & concert at Issue Project Room in NYC on March 24, 2014
    +Special Thanks in printed program, Vidas Perfectas website and recording
    +Password Protected Sneak-Peak Video of Production

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 8 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    ISOLDE // 3 Poster Set for Vidas Perfectas, Designed by Will Holder for the workshop premiere performance of Vidas Perfectas at the Irondale Center in Brooklyn. 2-color offset print, 18x24 inches // PLUS:
    +Signed copy of Alex Waterman’s upcoming publication "Robert Ashley: Yes, But is it Edible?" (April 2014)
    +Vidas Perfectas DVD (Fall 2014)
    +Vidas Perfectas Audio Recording (from Alex Waterman/E.S.P. TV) (Fall 2014)
    +Invitation with +1 to benefit party & concert at Issue Project Room in NYC on March 24, 2014
    +Special Thanks in printed program, Vidas Perfectas website and recording
    +Password Protected Sneak-Peak Video of Production

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 3 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    THE ACCOMPLICE // Collection of DVDs, LPs and CDs from Alex Waterman’s record label D.S. al Coda // PLUS:
    +3 Poster Set for Vidas Perfectas, Designed by Will Holder for the workshop premiere performance of Vidas Perfectas at the Irondale Center in Brooklyn.
    2-color offset print, 18x24 inches
    +Signed copy of Alex Waterman’s upcoming publication "Robert Ashley: Yes, But is it Edible?" (April 2014)
    +Vidas Perfectas DVD (Fall 2014)
    +Vidas Perfectas Audio Recording (from Alex Waterman/E.S.P. TV) (Fall 2014)
    +Invitation with +1 to benefit party & concert at Issue Project Room in NYC on March 24, 2014
    +Special Thanks in printed program, Vidas Perfectas website and recording
    +Password Protected Sneak-Peak Video of Production

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 1 backer
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500

    THE WORLD'S GREATEST PIANO PLAYER // Collection of 3 signed publications by Alex Waterman and Will Holder ("Agape," "Between Thought and Sound: Graphic Notation In Contemporary Music," "Yes, But is it Edible?") [ONLY AT THIS PLEDGE LEVEL] // PLUS:
    +Collection of DVDs, LPs and CDs from Alex Waterman’s record label D.S. al Coda
    +3 Poster Set for Vidas Perfectas, Designed by Will Holder for the workshop premiere performance of Vidas Perfectas at the Irondale Center in Brooklyn.
    2-color offset print, 18x24 inches
    +Vidas Perfectas DVD (Fall 2014)
    +Vidas Perfectas Audio Recording (from Alex Waterman/E.S.P. TV) (Fall 2014)
    +Invitation with +1 to benefit party & concert at Issue Project Room in NYC on March 24, 2014
    +Special Thanks in printed program, Vidas Perfectas website and recording
    +Password Protected Sneak-Peak Video of Production

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 2 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    CAPTAIN OF THE FOOTBALL TEAM // Limited edition of White on White Score Print (valued at $500), Ashley's 1963 score for "Trios II" (White on White) realized by artist Will Holder with Alex Waterman. Three matrices of numbers are superimposed in matte white ink, gloss white ink, and embossing. 8.5x11 inches. // PLUS: +Collection of DVDs, LPs and CDs from Alex Waterman’s record label D.S. al Coda
    +3 Poster Set for Vidas Perfectas, Designed by Will Holder for the workshop premiere performance of Vidas Perfectas at the Irondale Center in Brooklyn.
    2-color offset print, 18x24 inches
    +Vidas Perfectas DVD (Fall 2014)
    +Vidas Perfectas Audio Recording (from Alex Waterman/E.S.P. TV) (Fall 2014)
    +Invitation with +1 to benefit party & concert at Issue Project Room in NYC on March 24, 2014
    +Special Thanks in printed program, Vidas Perfectas website and recording
    +Password Protected Sneak-Peak Video of Production

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    RAOUL DE NOGET // Invitation to Vidas Perfectas dress rehearsal
    +Invitation to reception post performance
    +When possible, a private performance with Alex Waterman and cast of Vidas Perfectas // PLUS:
    +Limited edition of White on White Score Print (valued at $500) Ashley's 1963 score for "Trios II" (White on White) realized by artist Will Holder with Alex Waterman. Three matrices of numbers are superimposed in matte white ink, gloss white ink, and embossing. 8.5x11 inches.
    +Collection of DVDs, LPs and CDs from Alex Waterman’s record label D.S. al Coda
    +3 Poster Set for Vidas Perfectas, Designed by Will Holder for the workshop premiere performance of Vidas Perfectas at the Irondale Center in Brooklyn.
    2-color offset print, 18x24 inches
    +Vidas Perfectas DVD (Fall 2014)
    +Vidas Perfectas Audio Recording (from Alex Waterman/E.S.P. TV) (Fall 2014)
    +Invitation with +1 to benefit party & concert at Issue Project Room in NYC on March 24, 2014
    +Credit in printed program, website and recording
    +Password Protected Sneak-Peak Video of Production

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 2 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    THE SHERIFF // Limited edition archival copy of the Vidas Perfectas television episodes
    +Co-Producer credit on all productions and final television episodes +When possible, a private performance with Alex Waterman and Peter Gordon // PLUS:
    +Invitation to Vidas Perfectas dress rehearsal
    +Invitation to reception post performance
    +Limited edition of White on White Score Print (valued at $1500) Ashley's 1963 score for "Trios II" (White on White) realized by artist Will Holder with Alex Waterman. Three matrices of numbers are superimposed in matte white ink, gloss white ink, and embossing. 8.5x11 inches.
    +Collection of DVDs, LPs and CDs from Alex Waterman’s record label D.S. al Coda
    +3 Poster Set for Vidas Perfectas, Designed by Will Holder for the workshop premiere performance of Vidas Perfectas at the Irondale Center in Brooklyn. 2-color offset print, 18x24 inches +Vidas Perfectas DVD (Fall 2014) +Vidas Perfectas Audio Recording (from Alex Waterman/E.S.P. TV) (Fall 2014) +Invitation with +1 to benefit party & concert at Issue Project Room in NYC on March 24, 2014 +Credit in printed program, website and recording +Password Protected Sneak-Peak Video of Production

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.

Funding period

- (30 days)