Shen Wei

Published on December 5th, 2014


An experience in art is coming to the Freedom Tower in Miami like nothing the 90-year-old building has ever hosted. The highly acclaimed choreographer, director, dancer, painter and designer Shen Wei, winner of the MacArthur Genius Grant and a host of other accolades, was inspired by the grand interior of the building to create a site-specific dance with paintings. “Shen Wei – In Black, White and Gray” opens during Art Basel Miami Beach with five performances by Shen Wei Dance Arts among large-scale paintings by Shen.

“This is an exciting venture that Miami gets to be part of,” declares Kathryn Garcia, executive director of MDC Live Arts. “Miami gets to see this convergence of his visual arts life with his dance life.”

Jeremy Mikolajczak, executive director of the MDC Museum of Art + Design describes seeing the art and choreography together as an immersive experience. He explains, “You are really actively participating so that you are able to form that relationship between movement and form and how it relates both in the physical sense in front of you and also to what you’re seeing on a canvas.”

Since arriving at MDC Live Arts, Garcia had hoped to bring Shen back to Miami (MDC Live Arts hosted his “Rite of Spring” in 2003). She says when she brought Shen to Miami to consider the Freedom Tower as a venue, the artist immediately fell in love with the space. “He got so excited about it that it became the number one thing on his calendar, which was a real honor for us. He was giving us priority over all these performances in Russia and China and Europe. He was a hundred percent focused on Freedom Tower Miami.”

After the dancers have left, his paintings will remain on the walls through Feb. 1, 2015. Garcia calls the paintings “extremely dramatic and beautiful.” Mikolajczak explains that on their own, they stand as another kind of experience. “I think the paintings themselves really become kind of the record of movement and motion and really, relate to the choreography further,” he says. “It’s just a different way of presenting the material because, I think overall, his work is rooted as one. I don’t think there’s any sort of definition or division between his two artistic practices, so I think his paintings sort of exude the same qualities as his dance portrays as well, that sort of striking movement, that motion.”

~Hans Morgenstern | The Independent Ethos |