Artist Sukran Aziz Founds Cabaret Voltaire Art Center; DaDA Namesake Brings Ground Breaking Art to City Of Poughkeepsie

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The City Of Poughkeepsie's new Cabaret Voltaire Art Center celebrates its grand opening on October 14th. The event brings a community of ground breaking, risk-taking, experimental works, site-specific installations, video, sound, performances, short-films, lectures and panel discussions from veteran artists, art students and young artists with fresh vision and novel ideas.

CaBAreT VOltAIre - Poughkeepsie is pleased to announce its grand opening the evening of Saturday, October 14, 2006, 7:00pm sharp, with a celebration of the 90th anniversary of DaDA-Zurich. There will be a marathon of events - performances, video and sound installations, and poetry - much in the spirit of DaDA, and of all the later art forms for which DaDA can be seen as progenitor, initial inspiration, or historical point of departure.

Originally, Dada was born on the 5th of February 1916 when German artists Hugo Ball and Emmy Hennings opened the literary-artistic Cabaret Voltaire in the restaurant Meierei at Spiegelgasse 1 in Zurich. Switzerland, with its policy of neutrality, was a safe haven for European artists and intellectuals seeking to escape World War I. Many of these congregated in Zurich, at the short-lived Cabaret Voltaire, named for the Enlightenment philosopher famed for his satirical critiques of church and government. Cabaret Voltaire closed its doors in July 1916, and Ball soon departed from Zurich. In his absence, the Romanian artist Tristan Tzara took the helm, transforming what had begun in the Cabaret into an international movement. The group deployed the word ‘Dada,’ allegedly chosen at random by Ball and Huelsenbeck out of a French-German dictionary, like a brand name, using it as a title for a journal, a gallery, and a book series, as well as emblazoning it on events posters. Manifestos, too, became a key genre for Dadaists to disseminate their position as a group that was ‘in principle, against principles.’

Sukran Aziz, a Turkish born international artist, the founder of the new Cabaret Voltaire in Poughkeepsie, has always been an ardent devotee of two important art movements from the early part of the 20th century, the art of the Russian avant-gardes and DaDA. She had a lifetime dream of founding a gallery, an art center, to re-create the spirit and guiding principles of these movements in contemporary time. To realize this dream from her earliest formative years, initially she found two different locations in Poughkeepsie, one a perfectly square building, which reminded her of Kazimir Malevich's famous 'Black Square,' and the other a historical brick building from 1870, ideally suited to be the home of the new Dada. When the first one did not materialize, she chose the second to be the re-birthplace of the Cabaret Voltaire. Without wasting time, with the participation of American and international artists, and a large group of enthusiastic public, she had her first opening show on February 7, 2004, in the space as it was. But, due to decades of neglect and abuse it suffered, the building was in near derelict condition, not at all fit for the purpose for which it was intended. What followed was two years of renovation and restoration, entirely through Sukran Aziz's own efforts and hard work, to bring the space back to life. Finally, in spite of many bureaucratic, financial, and health-related difficulties she encountered, Cabaret Voltaire is now ready for opening on October 14, 2006, at Cabaret Voltaire Art Center, 358 Main Street Poughkeepsie, New York.

The new Cabaret Voltaire will be dedicated to showing ground breaking, risk-taking, experimental works, site-specific installations, video, sound, and performances, short-films, not only from veteran artists, but also from art students and young artists with fresh visions and novel ideas. As a forum of exploration and experimentation, Cabaret Voltaire will also include lectures and panel discussions.

During the Opening, Cabaret Voltaire will present international and stateside artists, including: Eric Andersen, Kathleen Anderson, Sukran Aziz, Aysegul Durakoglu, Amy Greenfield, Sally Greenhouse, Geoff Hendricks, Isolde Kille, Richard Kostelanetz, Gabriel Ariel Levicky, Kathrine Liberovskaya, Ilhan Mimaroglu, Phill Niblock, Sedat Pakay, Franc Palaia, Young Park, Al Pogus, George Quasha, Willem De Ridder, Skip Schuckman, Joshua Selman, Gerd Stern and Linda Weintraub.


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Blake Ruwicz
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