Dancer, choreographer, performer, filmmaker, and writer Yvonne Rainer is a key figure of the American avant-garde. From the beginning of her career, she inspired audiences to think about what they saw, interweaving the real and fictional, the personal and political, the concrete and abstract in imaginative, unpredictable ways. Rainer’s film Lives of Performers blurs the boundary between fiction and nonfiction as the dancers working for Rainer play themselves in a story about backstage romance. The melodrama features a man who can’t choose between two women and makes them both suffer. With Lives of Performers, Rainer expressed her ideas on performance, politics, and gender, among many other concerns, and became influential thereafter as a filmmaker.
This lecture is presented in collaboration with the Conversations at the Edge series at the School of the Art Institute, which will screen Rainer’s Lives of Performers at the Gene Siskel Film Center on April 12.