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Restagings No. 2: Of Serra (to movement) 

Abigail Levine 

June 11-14, 2018 |  4-7pm

Of Serra (to movement) is a new multi-day performance work by choreographer Abigail Levine on view at Fridman Gallery, 287 Spring Street in New York City on June 11-14, 2018, each day from 4-7pm.


Choreographer Abigail Levine’s Restagings No. 2: Of Serra (to movement) begins at the moment of precarious balance enacted by Richard Serra’s Prop pieces. The performance makes a substitution of materials, replacing Serra’s steel forms with human bodies. For three hours each day, dancers perform looping solos and duets, their movements recorded on graphite panels mounted on the walls. Paula Matthusen’s sound design highlights the performance’s departure from sculpture, measuring and reflecting changes in position through shifting sound. 


Richard Serra was a committed watcher of 1960s New York downtown dance, including the storied Judson Dance Theater concerts. “I was faithful; I watched it all,” he reported. “My early work has a lot to do with the body. It has to do with the activities of bodies in relation to other bodies, in relation to counterbalance, in relation to gravity, in relation to cantilever, in relation to bodies holding other bodies. [Judson choreographer] Yvonne Rainer was the biggest influence on my early work.” Of Serra reconsiders the artist’s ideas about gravity and physical resistance, interdependence, artistic labor, and direct, bodily encounter through performance.


Of Serra is the second work in Levine’s Restagings, a multi-work series that reads visual artworks as scores for performance. Restagings work from an iconic cadre of 1960s artists—Sol LeWitt, Robert Morris, Richard Serra, Carl Andre, and Walter de Maria—all of whom were closely associated with dance and performance artists of their era—Yvonne Rainer, Simone Forti, and Carolee Schneemann among them. Restagings mine the choreographic logic and somatic ideas built into visual art works, unearthing bodies and labor implicit in objects, drawings, and texts and incorporating them into our experience of the original works. The first work in the series, Choreographing LeWitt, was performed at Fridman Gallery in July 2017.


Restagings No. 2: Of Serra (to movement) will be performed continuously during special gallery hours, from 4-7pm, on each consecutive day from Monday, June 11 until Thursday, June 14. A closing reception will be held Thursday, June 14 from 7-9pm.


Concurrently, Of Serra (to movement) will be presented at Vox Populi in Philadelphia throughout the month of June in conjunction with the group exhibition “Anticipation,” curated by Tina Plokarz. Performance schedule here


Abigail Levine is a New York-based choreographer whose performances are rooted in dance and draw on visual and performance art. Her works have been presented at venues and festivals including Movement Research Festival, Mount Tremper Arts Festival, Danspace Project, Gibney Dance, Smack Mellon, Kennedy Center, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, and internationally in Brazil, Mexico, Greece, Canada, Cuba, and Taiwan. Levine was a reperformer in Marina Abramovic's retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art and will return to the MoMA this fall to perform Yvonne Rainer’s Talking Solo (1963) and other early works. She has also performed in the work of Carolee Schneemann, Asad Raza, Clarinda Mac Low, Larissa Velez-Jackson, Will Rawls, and Mark Dendy. Levine is a 2017-2018 Mellon Artist in Residence at the Center for Performance Research and a visiting professor in Dance at Wesleyan University.


Paula Matthusen is a composer who writes both electroacoustic and acoustic music and realizes sound installations. She has written for diverse instrumentations, such as “run-on sentence of the pavement” for piano, ping pong balls, and electronics, which Alex Ross of The New Yorker called “entrancing”. Her work often considers discrepancies in musical space—real, imagined, and remembered. Her music has been performed by Dither, Mantra Percussion, the Bang On A Can All-Stars, Alarm Will Sound, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), orchest de ereprijs, The Glass Farm Ensemble, and others at numerous venues and festivals in America and Europe. Awards include the Walter Hinrichsen Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Fulbright Grant, two ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers’ Awards, and the 2014 - 2015 Elliott Carter Rome Prize. Matthusen is currently Associate Professor of Music at Wesleyan University.



Especially in his early Prop pieces, Serra reenacts this drama of primordial tectonics, of rising up and remaining up, as a struggle between verticality and horizontality, structure and gravity… again, with the body as measure.

    - Hal Foster, Richard Serra, Early Work

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Performance schedule


4pm—Of Serra: Square

5pm—Of Serra: Corner

6pm—Of Serra: Square and Corner

7pm—Drawings After

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