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Tour Without End

Twenty-One Portraits and a Protest

On View Friday, September 13, 2019–Sunday, January 5, 2020

The exhibition of this installation is presented in collaboration with UB Arts Collaboratory and UB Art Galleries.

Tour Without End is made possible with funds from The John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, Creative Capital and the New York State Council on the Arts in Partnership with Wave Farm: Media Arts Assistance Fund, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts, Electronic Media and Film Program, with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. 

Artist Laura Parness created the multi-platform project, Tour Without End (2014-2019), as an installation exhibition that casts real-life musicians, artists and actors as bands on tour, and expands into a cross-generational, Trump–era commentary on contemporary culture and politics.  It features members of Gang Gang Dance, LeTigre, The Julie Ruin, MEN, Eartheater, MGMT, Light Asylum, and more.

Shot in real environments and situations, the core group of players improvised based on semi-scripted scenes. Because many of these performers are legends themselves in the New York City downtown scene, they are archetypes playing archetypes.  The work revels in the sometimes hilarious — but always complex — band dynamics that the characters endure while touring, collaborating, and aging in a youth-driven music industry. As the players move in and out of character, blending fiction and real life, the film moves in and out of non-linear narrative and historical document.  Shot from 2014–2018 at over 15 DIY music spaces in and around New York City—many of which have since shuttered their doors—the film acts as an urgent time capsule for the rapidly gentrifying city. 

The installation version highlights the extensive and growing archive of live performance in NYC shot during the four-year production schedule and the raw footage from the improvised scenes. These include more than thirty musicians and ten underground music venues. The archive expands as the project is shown. Portraits of performers taken By Justine Kurland are central to the installation.  The feature film (92 min) will screen everyday at 11, 12:45, 2:00, and 3:45

The film’s multitude of characters include:  Wooster Group founder Kate Valk, Jim Fletcher (The NYC Players), musicians Lizzi Bougatsos, (Gang Gang Dance), Kathleen Hanna (The Julie Ruin), Brontez Purnell (The Younger Lovers), Eileen Myles, Alexandra Drewchin (Eartheater), Nicole Eisenman, K8 Hardy, Johanna Fateman (Le Tigre) Shannon Funchess (Light Asylum), JD Samson (MEN), Gary Indiana, Kembra Pfahler, (Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black), Rachel Mason, Tom McGrath, Matthew Asti (MGMT), Becca Blackwell, Christen Clifford, Alessandra Genovese (Crush), Rogelio Ramos (Love Pig), Kenya Robinson (Cheeky LaShae) and Neon Music (Youth Quake).