NEW YORK, N.Y.-
Rebecca Robertson, President and Executive Producer of Park Avenue Armory
, announced that Alex Poots has been appointed Artistic Director, and will start work in early 2012 on the development of the Armorys 2013 season. Mr. Poots is the Festival Director of the biennial Manchester International Festival in England, a position he will continue to hold. Park Avenue Armory is a new cultural institution that works with artists in the creation of works that are catalyzed by the scale and character of the Armorys spaces and the immersive engagement of audiences.
Building upon the artistic foundation established during the past four years, the Armorys next phase will include an expanded program of commissioning of new works by leading visual and performing artists that need a non-traditional setting to realize their ambitions. Towards this goal, the Armory has been exploring commissioning partnerships with other organizations with similar artistic visions and spaces, including MIF and the Ruhrtriennale. The appointment of Mr. Poots will facilitate the development of a co-commissioning partnership, thus advancing the artistic goals of both the Armory and MIF. In addition, the Armory will continue to present a vibrant mix of existing productions that are brought to life by its non-traditional setting.
Our vision is to create opportunities for artists to realize their most expansive and free-wheeling dreams, and for audiences to have experiences that open up new artistic frontiers. The most effective way to achieve this goal is by engaging an artistic director with a proven track record in this area, and by creating commissioning partnerships with other organizations with shared ambitions and spaces, stated Ms. Robertson. Alex has distinguished himself at the Manchester International Festival with bold and brilliant commissions, and he has developed groundbreaking productions in unconventional spaces. With his artistic vision and sensibility, he is the perfect person to help the Armory realize its vision. We are also looking forward to developing collaborative projects with the highly acclaimed Manchester International Festival.
The Armory offers an extraordinary opportunity to work closely with leading international artists to create bold and adventurous work that is not confined by traditional performance or exhibition spaces work that is tailor-made for the Armory. As at Manchester International Festival, the programming will be artist-led and will aim to be at the highest levels of excellence, reflecting the high ambition of those who originally built the Armory. I am thrilled to be working with Rebecca and her team to meet this exciting challenge, said Mr. Poots.
Since its launch in 2007, the Armory has developed a program encompassing major works in the visual and performing arts that could not be realized in traditional concert halls or museum galleries, filling a critical void in the cultural ecology of New York. These have included commissions, such as the upcoming Kaddish with Hal Willner, Ralph Steadman and Bill Frisell, and monumental installations by Ernesto Neto, Christian Boltanski, and Ryoji Ikeda; co-productions, including Ariane Mnouchkins Les Éphémères and Whitney Museums 2008 Biennial; and works that push the limits of both imagination and production, such as Bernd Zimmermanns Die Soldaten, John Luther Adams Inuksuit, and the presentation of the Royal Shakespeare Company in a full-scale replica of its Stratford-upon-Avon theatre, erected in the Armorys soaring drill hall.
Mr. Poots is the founding Festival Director of Manchester International Festival and has led the organization through its first three seasons (2007, 2009 and 2011) which included the commissioning of such critically acclaimed productions as: Monkey: Journey to the West by Chen Shi-Zheng, Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett; The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic, directed by Robert Wilson, with Willem Dafoe, Antony Hegarty, and Marina Abramovic; Björks Biophilia; Rufus Wainwrights Prima Donna; and for children, Punchdrunks Crash of the Elysium and Oily Carts Something in the Air. Under his leadership, MIF commissioned the J.S. Bach mobile chamber music hall from Zaha Hadid, and produced a number of group shows including Il Tempo del Postino, curated by Hans-Ulrich Obrist of the Serpentine Gallery with artists Matthew Barney, Olafur Eliasson and Carsten Höller; and 11 Rooms curated by Klaus Biesenbach of MOMAs P.S. 1 and Mr. Obrist, featuring such artists as Tino Sehgal, Lucy Raven, and John Baldessari.
Previous to his position at MIF, Mr. Poots served as Director of Contemporary Arts at English National Opera. As an independent producer, he worked at the Tate Modern and the Tate Britians first live events series featuring new work from such artists such as Anish Kapoor with Arvo Part and Peter Sellars; and Steve McQueen with Jessye Norman and PJ Harvey. He also created several festivals with the Barbican in London with such artists as William Orbit, Marianne Faithfull and Karlheinz Stockhausen. He currently serves as an Artistic Advisor on the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.
Park Avenue Armory is currently undergoing a $200-million transformation designed by Herzog & de Meuron. In 2000, the Armory was named one of the 100 Most Endangered Historic Sites in the World by the World Monuments Fund, because of the importance of its original designers among them, Louis Comfort Tiffany and Stanford White and the Herter Brothers, and its state of deterioration. The design plans reflects the innovation and lavishness of late 19th-century aesthetics while infusing the building with a sense of the passage of time, a new functionality for the arts and a contemporary sensibility. Encompassing the Armorys entire five-story building, the project will create new resources and a diversity of spaces for the Armorys artistic, educational, and public programming, as well as Artist-in-Residence studios and rehearsal rooms, offering dynamic environments and amenities for artists and audiences alike. The revitalization includes: the 55,000 square-foot Wade Thompson Drill Hall and the former rifle range below it; eighteen period rooms on the first and second floors in the adjacent Head House; all public circulation spaces, including the grand hallways, staircase, and new elevators; new relocated office space on the third floor; a transformed fifth floor for rehearsal space; and back-of-house facilities on the lower level.