October 11, 2016 - Japan Society - Simon Starling: At Twilight (After W. B. Yeats’ Noh Reincarnation)
October 11, 2016

Japan Society

Left to right: Simon Starling, At Twilight / Mask of W.B. Yeats, At Twilight / Mask of Nancy Cunard, and At Twilight / Mask of Ezra Pound (After Henri Gaudier-Brzeska), 2016. Masks by Yasuo Miichi. Courtesy of the artist and The Modern Institute/Toby Webster Ltd., Glasgow.

Simon Starling
At Twilight (After W. B. Yeats’ Noh Reincarnation)
October 14, 2016–January 15, 2017

Japan Society
333 E 47th Street
New York, New York 10017
United States
Hours: Tuesday–Thursday 11am–6pm,
Friday 11am–9pm,
Saturday–Sunday 11am–5pm

T +1 212 832 1155


On Friday, October 14, Japan Society Gallery opens Simon Starling: At Twilight (After W. B. Yeats’ Noh Reincarnation), the debut solo exhibition of the Turner Prize winner’s work at a New York City institution. On view through January 15, 2017, this ambitious new multimedia project by Starling explores how Japanese traditional culture—particularly noh, Japan’s masked drama tradition—has inspired new forms of creativity from the early 20th century Western avant garde to the contemporary age.

The anchor for Starling’s project is Irish poet and playwright W. B. Yeats’ noh-inspired dance play At the Hawk’s Well, which premiered at a London salon in 1916, at the height of World War I. That staging was realized with members of the international art community, including American poet Ezra Pound, British heiress and activist Lady Nancy Cunard, and Japanese dancer Michio Ito, who played the signature role of the Hawk and who had escaped the devastation on the European continent.

Modernism’s innovative spirit and the transnational movements of people and ideas that have shaped cultural history have long been a source of interest for Starling. With At Twilight, he probes how links forged between distant historical eras and disparate cultural traditions can yield “creative misinterpretation.”

To commemorate the centennial of At the Hawk’s Well—a landmark in the history of East-West cultural exchange—Starling re-imagines the scantily documented original production in an immersive installation that transforms Japan Society’s gallery spaces. Newly created masks, costumes and a dance on video are juxtaposed with examples of classical Japanese art and masterpieces of Western modernism that inspired the new works, including key loans from the Museum of Modern Art and the Brancusi Estate. The exhibition reveals art’s ability to continuously evolve in ways that defy geographic borders.

The exhibition is complemented by a host of exciting related events at Japan Society throughout the fall and winter, including:

Friday, October 14, 6:30pm: Simon Starling opens the exhibition with an artist’s lecture. This is followed by an exclusive cocktail reception with the artist.

Friday, December 16, 6:30pm: Japan Society Gallery delves deeper into the connections linking poetry and performance across different cultures, with National Poetry Slam Champion George Masao (“G”) Yamazawa leading a discussion of his creative process, a guided poetry exercise, and an electrifying slam performance.

Thursday, January 5, 6:30pm: Acclaimed multimedia artist Joan Jonas hosts an artist’s talk in the style of a book club, discussing The Classic Noh Theater of Japan, Ezra Pound and Ernest Fenollosa’s English translations of select noh plays, which inspired W. B. Yeats’ At the Hawk’s Well as well as Jonas’ own movement-based practices with masks since the 1970s.

Ticket holders to these related events gain free admission to the exhibition on the day of.

Please visit japansociety.org to purchase tickets in advance and for a full schedule of exhibition-related events.

At Twilight is commissioned in collaboration with The Common Guild, Glasgow, UK, where a related performance and reduced version of the exhibition opened in the summer of 2016.

Docent tours are available free with admission Tuesday–Sunday at 2:30pm (English), and Fridays at 6pm (Japanese) and 7pm (English); reservations only necessary for group tours. Tours are approximately one hour in duration. To arrange private group tours please call T (212) 715 1224. Two weeks advance request recommended.

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At Twilight (After W. B. Yeats’ Noh Reincarnation)
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