Where art thou? NYC preps for a British invasion

NEW YORK -- The British are coming to the Big Apple. British and U.S. organizers are gearing up for a big festival -- called UKinNY -- slated to run here from Oct. 14 to 28, showcasing more than 100 events.

Dozens of presentations at New York venues will highlight the broad spectrum of work being done by artists, actors, musicians and writers from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, ranging from visual and performing arts productions to food and retail promotions, along with sports exhibitions and seminars on technology, education, business and community affairs.

Dubbed by organizers as "one of the most ambitious international initiatives in New York City for almost 20 years," UKinNY will appeal to an eclectic range of interests.

Two of Lincoln Center's theaters are among the venues hosting events during UKInNY. David Blagbrough, director of the British Council USA, which is charged with orchestrating key components of the cultural programming for UKinNY, said the festival's goal is "to create partnerships among artists, arts organizations and venues that will be part of UKinNY's legacy to the life of New York City, and nurture those relationships that already exist."

"We see the festival as providing a forum for dialogue between U.K. and New York-based artists, as well as contributing to the development of British artists," he added.

In some cases, dates of exhibitions and events are not yet confirmed. Visit the festival's Web site at www.ukinny.com for up-to-date details.

Visual arts

At one end of the spectrum of visual arts presentations will be the work of emerging artists.

For example, 22 graduates of Scotland's Glasgow School of Art's Master of Fine Arts program will make their debut at the Hunter College Gallery, and Sotheby's will conduct the U.S. premiere of "Beck's Futures," an exhibition introducing up-and-coming artists.

At the other end of this spectrum, the Municipal Art Society will host "Jubilee Line Extension," a Royal Academy of Art exhibition that celebrates the London Underground's Jubilee Line extension.

An example of contemporary architecture, the extension -- both above and below ground -- incorporates innovative engineering systems and transport planning.

The exhibition is designed by Richard MacCormac, a leading British architect who recently completed the Southwark Station on the Jubilee Line. The exhibit will be held at 457 Madison Ave. For details, call (212) 935-3960.

Complementing the exhibition will be a conference on the role of the arts, architecture and design in regenerating economic growth in cities and other urban areas.

The conference will bring together urban planners, engineers, architects, designers and visual and performing artists from the U.K. and New York to explore how best to channel their creative forces into urban development in partnership with local communities.

Another visual arts exhibition, to be held at CB's 313 Gallery, is called "Stimulata," a multimedia exhibition relating to sexuality, by both Wales- and U.S.-based artists.

Sponsored by the Arts Council of Wales and the British Council, the exhibition explores sensuality as determined by culture and its subsequent repression via performance, photography and video.

The exhibit will be held at 313 Bowery. For details, call (212) 677-0455.

Galleries

Throughout the festival, 12 galleries will host special exhibitions of British artists. Confirmed events include:

  • The Nancy Margolis Gallery will host an exhibition of British ceramist Ken Eastman's recent work, complemented by a smaller presentation of another British ceramist to be named. The gallery is located at 560 Broadway, Suite 30; for more information, call (212) 343-9523.
  • Denise Cade Gallery will present drawings by novelist, playwright, art critic and painter John Berger. The gallery is located at 1045 Madison Ave.; for details, call (212) 734-3670.
  • Nancy Hoffman Gallery will exhibit works by Lucy MacKenzie and Rohan Harris. The gallery is located at 429 W. Broadway; for more information, call (212) 966-6676.
  • Bernaducci Meisel Gallery will show works by four British artists -- photorealist John Salt, architectural realist Ben Johnson, reverspective illusionist Patrick Hughes and panoramic cityscape artist Clive Head. The gallery is located at 37 W. 57th St.; for details, call (212) 593-3757.
  • The Neuhoff Gallery, located at 41 E. 57th St., will host works by painter David Remfry. For more information, call (212) 838-1122.
  • The Yancy Richardson Gallery will host a British photography exhibit. The gallery is at 535 W. 22nd St.; for details, call (212) 343-1255.
  • Rosenberg & Kaufman Fine Art will present works by Scottish artist Lex Braes. The located is 115 Wooster St.; for details, call (212) 431-4838.
  • Arts banquet

    Throughout the two-week festival, New Yorkers will be invited to view the best of British design and innovation at a major interactive exhibition, which will transform the Vanderbilt Hall at Grand Central Terminal into a banqueting suite.

    Considered the centerpiece of the festival, the exhibition will feature a banqueting table laden with examples of new British innovation and design, from products and graphics to multimedia and Web design.

    Performing arts

    With at least 17 different performing arts events in as many venues during its two-week run, UKinNY will blanket the city with modern dance, musical theater, multimedia, concert and film presentations.

    "In addition to giving a contemporary face to the U.K.'s performing arts landscape, we wanted to convey a sense of place, or rather places, to attach to that modern persona," said Blagbrough.

    Performing arts events include:

  • Different Drums of Ireland at Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Terminal, at 42nd Street between Lexington & Third Avenue.
  • The group produces a unique sound with the indigenous drums of Ireland -- the Lambeg and the Bodhran -- complemented by a new one of their own design, the Long Drum.

  • Random Dance Co. at the Dancespace Project, located at St. Mark's Church-in-the-Bowery, 131 E. 10th St. For details, call (212) 674-8112. Founded in 1992, Random Dance has become one of Britain's leading contemporary dance companies.
  • Ulster Orchestra at Shepherd Hall, City College of New York, 160 Convent Ave. For more information, call (212) 650-6525.
  • "The Mikado" at New York State Theater, 20 Lincoln Center; for details, call (212) 496-0600.
  • The New York City Opera will present the Gilbert & Sullivan piece in a production originally mounted by the English National Opera. In this interpretation, director Jonathan Miller relocated the setting from Imperial Japan to an English seaside hotel in the 1930s.

  • New Queens Hall Orchestra at Avery Fisher Hall, 70 Lincoln Center Plaza; for details, call (212) 875-5030.
  • Revived in 1992, the orchestra is the only full-sized symphony orchestra exclusively utilizing 19th century instruments and playing them in the style of the era.

    The New York concert will feature a program of American and English music from the early 20th century.

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