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Avant-garde visionary Robert Wilson to present Leslie-Lohman Queer Arts Lecture

Wilson has collaborated with artists from Lady Gaga to William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg and Tom Waits

Release Date: September 30, 2014

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Robert Wilson is one of the most influential, far-reaching and transformative theater artists in America for the past 50 years.

“(Wilson's) close ties and collaborations with leading artists, writers and musicians continue to fascinate — and occasionally infuriate — audiences worldwide.”
Jonathan Katz, director, doctoral program in visual studies
University at Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. — One of the most influential, far-reaching and transformative theater artists in America and perhaps the world for the past 50 years will be in Buffalo next month to present the biannual Leslie-Lohman Queer Arts Lecture.

Director and playwright Robert Wilson will deliver a free, public and illustrated presentation titled, “1 Have You Been Here Before / 2 No This is The First Time” / An Evening With Robert Wilson.”

It will take place Thursday, Oct. 9, from 6:30-9 p.m. in the auditorium of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, 1285 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo.

This event is sponsored by the University at Buffalo Department of Art, the UB Technē Institute of Arts and Technology, the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, the UB College of Arts and Sciences, the UB Humanities Institute, the UB Department of Media Study, Center for 21st Century Music at UB, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center.

Wilson has worked as a playwright, theater director, choreographer, performer, painter, sculptor, video artist and sound and lighting director.

He is perhaps best known for his work with Philip Glass on the composer’s landmark 1976 production of “Einstein on the Beach,” which he directed, but he has collaborated with many of the country’s most provocative music, film and literary artists as well. A short list includes William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Lou Reed, Tom Waits, Rufus Wainwright, performance artist Marina Abramovic and Lady Gaga. Wilson also has worked with major American and European opera houses and theaters.

Free screenings of a brief documentary film, “Robert Wilson,” will be held before his visit at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 30, at Hallwalls, 341 Delaware Ave., Buffalo, and at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 8, in 112 Center for the Arts, UB North Campus.

The film highlights Wilson’s long and remarkable career, and is full of dramatic moments and rare footage of his performances across the globe, including a look at the 1972 Shiraz Arts Festival in pre-revolutionary Iran.

Jonathan Katz is director of the UB doctoral program in visual studies, president of the Leslie-Lohman Museum and curator of the lecture series. He says, “This will be a rare opportunity for the public to hear this outstanding, prolific and internationally regarded theater artist talk about poignant moments of his career, the arc of his still developing aesthetic and some of his key projects.”

Since the late 1960s, Wilson’s productions have decisively shaped the look of contemporary theater and opera, Katz says.

“Through his signature use of light, his investigations into the structure of a simple movement, and the classical rigor of his scenic and furniture design, Wilson has continuously articulated the force and originality of his vision,” he says. “His close ties and collaborations with leading artists, writers and musicians continue to fascinate — and occasionally infuriate — audiences worldwide.”

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