(Threnody) a beginner’s guide to Mao Tse Tung at Hammer Museum

(Threnody) Program Pdf

Made in L.A. catalog essay by Kurt Mueller pdf

(Threnody) A Beginner’s Guide to Mao Tse-Tung-June 22 7:30 pm @ Hammer

(Threnody) June 28 7:30 pm @ Hammer

(Threnody) June 28 7:30 pm @ Hammer

(Threnody) A Beginner’s Guide to Mao Tse-tung —
for 2 tape loops, dancers, cello, viola, violin, and percussion


Scott Benzel collects artifacts whose intended appearance and meaning
are augmented, and often suppressed, by misuse, mythologizing, or market capitalization, pulling equally from popular and avant-garde histories, and from both visual and musical sources. By isolating and abstracting these artifacts and stories, he enacts a further modification, encouraging additional interpretations. Slipping between the roles of visual artist, composer, poet, and curator, Benzel inhabits mainstream culture while positioning himself as its critical dissident. Benzel’s visual and aural arrangements disrupt cultural orthodoxies and hierarchies, sending objects and viewers on imaginative, often wayward trajectories. This performance evokes a palimpsest of Vietnam- era counterculture and hippie politics gone awry. Extending the bizarre logic of a 1967 Esquire article that provocatively pairs actress Sharon Tate with aphorisms from Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book, the artist configures two reel-to-reel tape players to spool an electronic composition around the bodies and accoutrements (e.g., a bayonet or Coke bottle) of moving performers costumed like Tate’s Esquire Maoist rebel. Meanwhile musicians improvise an accompanying score on cello, viola, violin, and percussion.


Flora Wiegmann- Casting/Choreographic Consultant Paula Taylor- Costume Designer
Cybil Waite- Assistant Costume Designer


Kevin Williamson Michelle Lai Amanda Furches Jos McKain Allison Wyper Jillian Stein Lisa Wahlander


Scott Benzel- tape loops Eric KM Clark- violin Melinda Rice- viola Devin Hoff- bass Matt Mayhall- percussion

Thank you: Flora Wiegmann, Paula Taylor, Thadeus Reed, Mark Hagen, Clif Taylor, and all of the performers