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Duke University Arts

May 4, 2012

Duke's MFA: On the Edge of Convention

The first year of Duke's first Master's in Fine Arts program concludes soon, with a new batch of students headed to Durham in the fall. But first, on Monday, May 7, there's a "Wang Dang Doodle" — an experimental art show with an experimental name.

Read about the program and the show on Duke Today.

The sex worker's haunting blue eyes practically leap off the page as Laurenn McCubbin brings them to life -- one careful brush stroke at a time.

Crouched low on a chair, McCubbin leans and carefully adds details: The cherry red gloss of her lipstick; the auburn waves of her hair. The woman's name is Maxine, and McCubbin, a documentarian, wants to tell her story.

MFA Wang Dang Doodle
Monday, May 7, reception and gallery viewing at 6:30 p.m.; outdoor screenings at 8:30 p.m.
Duke School at Hull Street
1517 Hull Street, Durham, North Carolina
Parking available on-site

View map.

Apr 27, 2012

Duke Arts on The State of Things

On Thursday, Nancy Armstrong, Duke's Gilbert, Louis & Edward Lehrman Professor of English, was on the State of Things talking about the state of the novel. Armstrong is part of the committee that organized the conference "Novel Worlds," the first biennial conference of the Society for Novel Studies, which is taking place this weekend at Duke. Among other things, Armstrong spoke with host Frank Stasio about the how the novel once created for readers a sort of ideal national character they could inhabit but now is "giving us a sense of all the people who are left out of that fantasy."

Today on the show, while talking about his new book The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home, Duke behavioral economist Dan Ariely touched on Creative Dishonesty: Cheat Codes, an art exhibit he organized last year. "Creativity and dishonesty work hand in hand," he said, because "creative people can tell better stories" in order to justify themselves.

Apr 23, 2012

An Iranian Cultural Icon Comes to Durham

On Saturday, April 28, the celebrated Iranian singer Mohammad Reza Shajarian will perform in Durham, one of just seven stops on his current tour of the United States. His appearance at the Durham Performing Arts Center is sponsored by Duke Performances. He will perform with the Shahnaz Ensemble, a 17-member group playing traditional Persian instruments.

A two-time Grammy Award nominee, Shajarian has received two UNESCO awards and was featured as one of NPR's "50 Great Voices." In a telephone interview published in The Thread, Duke Professor of Psychiatry Amir H. Rezvani asked Shajarian about the honor, and about what inspires him to be an artist who gives voice to "the sufferings, hopes, and aspirations of [his] people."

Art, fundamentally, is the language of resistance. It's not just a matter of joy and description. In any part of the world where there is inequality, injustice, suffering, and oppression, art grows. That's because people come to express their resistance through art whether it is painting or cinema or music and singing. So I have used music as an art for the betterment of humanity, not as a matter of passing time.

My art has been an art for resistance and the people understood that my voice is their voice. I came to remove silence from their hearts, and give voice to them. One has to come to resist oppression and tyranny anywhere in the world.

Read more on DukeToday. Go to Duke Performances for tickets and concert information.

Apr 20, 2012

Choreolab 2012

Choreolab, the Dance Program's annual spring showcase, will be presented in Reynolds Industries Theater at 8pm on Saturday, April 21 and 3pm on Sunday, April 22. After the show on Saturday there will be a Salsa Dance Party with live music by West End Mambo!

The show will feature a dance created for Ava LaVonne Vinesett's African Repertory class by Emmy-nominated choreographer Jeffrey Page during a a week-long residency early in the semester. Andrea E. Woods' new work "Quimbara" is a collaboration with percussionist/choreographer Vladimir Espinosa. It will be performed with live salsa music by West End Mambo, directed by César Oviedo.

There are also new works by Dance Program faculty members Julie Walters (Contemporary Ballet), Andrea Woods (Modern Dance), and Nina Wheeler (Jazz Dance). There are two student works, as well — a solo piece by graduating senior Monica Hogan, and in the lobby, a site-specific work by Alison Kibbe.

On Saturday, after the opening night of Choreolab, the audience is invited to join the dancers and the nine piece band for salsa dancing on stage directly after the show! Bring your dancing shoes and be ready to sweat! The after party is FREE to all ticket holders. See the Dance Program web site for ticket information, or go to

Apr 18, 2012

MFA Student "Preoccupations"

Preoccupations, a public exhibition of works by members of the inaugural class of the MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts (MFAEDA) will be on view starting Thursday, April 19th, in the Corridor Gallery of the East Duke building on Duke’s East Campus.

Opening Reception: Thursday, April 19th, 5-7pm
East Duke building, Duke East Campus, 1304 Campus Drive

A preoccupation; an absorption, engrossment, something that holds the attention.

Seven of the first MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts students examine their preoccupations and the preoccupations of those around them. Read more.

Apr 17, 2012

The Dissertation as Dance Party

Last Saturday, Alex Kotch, a graduate student in Composition in Duke's Department of Music, "brought the concert hall into the club." Specifically, into the Duke Coffeehouse. It was his dissertation composition, played by the Wet Ink Ensemble, augmented by local musicians and Duke Wind Ensemble conductor Verena Mösenbichler-Bryant. Kotch was the laptop DJ.


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