Coming to the Pulitzer Foundation
By Susan Caba
Fun–almost absurdly fun–things are happening this month at the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts in St. Louis.
Fun as in break-dancing contests–with the late Michael Jackson’s personal dance coach as judge. Then there’s the drag show with Raja, winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race, and the opportunity to experience your own transformation at the hands of St. Louis make-up artists and manicurists.
Drag and hip-hop not your thing? How about the U.S. premiere of John Cage’s composition, Thirty Pieces for Five Orchestras, performed by musicians from the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. Led by Symphony Director David Robertson, the musicians will be stationed throughout the building for the performance.
And that’s not all. The Pulitzer is opening up for all sorts of activities–and the opportunity to explore the building–during its one-week Reset event, Jan. 17 (this Friday) through Jan. 25. Founder Emily Rauh Pulitzer is using the time before the next exhibition opens to invite folks to see the Foundation as a something other than a slightly mysterious, exclusive domain for snooty intellectuals.
Ever since its opening 12 years ago, the Pulitzer has been reaching out to various non-traditional art audiences, including the homeless and former prisoners. There are regular yoga sessions and frequent musical performances. Not to mention exhibits that would have been international blockbusters in New York. But they were exclusive to St. Louis.
The Pulitzer has created a niche, in those 12 years, in which it speaks to art experts and aficionados and yet is relevant to the lives of those of us with less-exalted interests and inclinations. At the Donald Judd show, which closed earlier this month, I attended a very informal, free and free-ranging discussion about Judd and his art–which, until then, I had found relatively uninteresting. One of the citizen-leaders of the conversation was a color-blind World War II vet and former museum guard. Judd is all about color, so you know that this man had an interesting perspective on Judd’s sculptures.
Of course, you get to see the stunning building by Japanese architect Tadao Ando, the monumental wall sculpture by Ellsworth Kelly which presides over the main gallery, and “Joe,” the Richard Serra sculpture that commands the exterior. If you get the chance, walk into “Joe” at night. I’ve been inside during a full moon and once in a snowstorm. Both experiences were exhilarating.
Most events at Reset are free. Some require reservations due to space limitations. Some, such as the Symphony’s performance, do have an entry fee.
The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts is located between Grand Boulevard and Spring Avenue, at 3716 Washington Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63108. The phone number is 314-754-1850. The email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.