Blessed Unrest will present the New York premiere of Idris Goodwin and Kevin Coval's This is Modern Art in June as part of the inaugural season of Next Door at New York Theatre Workshop. Originally commissioned and later produced by Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre, the play details the tagging of the Art Institute of Chicago by a graffiti crew, made up mostly of artists of color, in the middle of the night in 2010.
Performances of This is Modern Art, directed by Jessica Burr, will begin June 2 and run through June 23. The play examines themes of race, privilege, and representation.
The cast consists of returning Blessed Unrest collaborators J. Stephen Brantley, Nancy McArthur, and Ashley N. Hildreth, as well as new cast members Andrew Gonzalez, Shakur Tolliver, and Landon G. Woodson.
“The production of This is Modern Art in New York City is a story of an aesthetic renegade child coming home,” say playwrights Goodwin and Coval. “The whole planet saw what young people here were doing in the early 1980s, taking graffiti from the walls in Philly and applying and developing its styles on trains. We watched Style Wars and cheered for young people around the planet as they began to adapt, adopt and translate the cultural message into their own local vernaculars. Now we are tremendously excited that the hip-hop’s Mecca welcomes back its descendants. We look forward to seeing how the culture morphs, elevates and continues.”
The Off-Broadway production will feature a stage-filling original graffiti piece painted for the production by Keo Xmen, lighting design by Miriam Nilofa Crowe, sound design by Adrian Bridges, and set design by Matt Opatrny.
For more information visit NYTW.org.