Past Exhibition
Hirschfeld on the Move
Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival
» Becket, MA
June 6, 2016 to August 8, 2016

Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival is presenting a special installation inside their Doris Duke Theater this season celebrating the dance work of Hirschfeld entitled, Hirschfeld on the Move, featuring dancers of all kinds from 1937 to 2002. The Al Hirschfeld Foundation is delighted to partner with the "Pillow" to present this unique installation. From Norton Owen's, Director of Preservation at Jacob's Pillow introduction:

"The astonishingly prolific Al Hirschfeld (1903-2003) produced more than 10,000 drawings over his lifetime, immortalizing performers of all kinds in an unmistakable style.  A documentary on his career was entitled The Line King in tribute to his uncanny ability to capture the essence of an individual on paper, often using just a few brushstrokes.  In his 99th year, Jacob’s Pillow commissioned Hirschfeld to honor its founder, Ted Shawn, in tribute to the Pillow’s 70th anniversary season.  He fulfilled all the requirements of the commission with customary economy, depicting Shawn, the Pillow Rock, and the idea of nature—all captured with imagination and wit, suggesting that even the trees seem to dance at Jacob’s Pillow.

"Hirschfeld’s eye for movement was as remarkable as his sense of line, and the drawings on view here encompass performers from the late 1930s to his final year.  These are among thousands of images now available on the comprehensive website of the Al Hirschfeld Foundation, which has generously shared its resources for the purposes of this exclusive new exhibit.  This celebrates a new partnership between the Foundation and the Pillow, making the Shawn image and many others more widely seen than ever before.

"In an appreciation written just after Hirschfeld’s death, New York Times art critic Michael Kimmelman wrote, 'Line as movement—prancing, skipping, twisting and dancing, was the vehicle through which Hirschfeld conveyed the adrenaline rush of live theater and his absorption in the here and now, resulting in art that looks eternally, uncannily fresh.'  Indeed, we are left to marvel that Hirschfeld’s artistry continues to dance on."

On August 13th, the Foundation will present a one-day show and sale of Hirschfeld dance prints and original draiwngs to support Jacob's Pillow, the “hub and mecca of dancing” according to Time magazine; “one of America’s most precious cultural assets,” claims Mikhail Baryshnikov; and “the dance center of the nation” is how the New York Times describes the Festival. 

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Past Exhibition
Now Showing at the Library for the Performing Arts: Hirschfeld Draws Shakespeare
Unique look at the Bard
» New York, New York
February 2, 2016 to June 6, 2016

Since 2011, Hirschfeld’s barber chair and drawing table, on which he created virtually all of his legendary drawings, have stood at the entrance of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center. You can go there day or night and see the chair and table and a rotating exhibition of full size vintage reproductions of Hirschfeld drawings. For anyone interested in the performing arts, the Library is a must-stop for research, reading or taking in their remarkable series of exhibitions (including a great Hirschfeld show in 2013).

Now through the end of May, there will be a curated series of drawings on the table to coincide with the Library’s latest hit show, Shakespeare's Star Turn in America, a celebration of the enduring inspiration of William Shakespeare’s plays. Every other week different Hirschfeld drawings of Shakespeare productions will appear on his drawing board covering many of the Bard’s plays, and featuring a wide range of performers including Al Pacino, Raul Julia, Morgan Freeman, Tracey Ullman, Christopher Walken, Alec Baldwin, and Angela Bassett.

The first presents a unique view of a New York institution. Joe Papp had been producing Shakespeare since 1954, creating The New York Shakespeare Festival whose original aim was to make Shakespeare's works accessible to the public. In 1957, he was granted the use of the Turtle Pond in Central Park for free productions of Shakespeare's plays. By 1961 construction had began on the Delacorte Theatre in the park to present the performances. While that space was being built, and the Turtle Pond was being renovated, Papp used Wollman Rink to stage a summer season of Shakespeare.

Hirschfeld visited a rehearsal of the Festival’s new production of Much Ado About Nothing in June 1961, and the Sunday before the show opened (in a performance cut short by a rainstorm), Hirschfeld’s drawing of the work-in-progress in graced the front page of the New York Times Drama section. Hirschfeld has been bringing readers backstage since the 1930s, and he would continue to do so throughout the remainder of the 1960s. He was such a frequent presence at rehearsals that he did not disturb the process, but captured it first in pencil and later in ink for posterity.

Look to our Twitter and Facebook accounts to learn of the next drawing to be on view at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center.