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July 1, 2023 - July 30, 2023

250 Bowery, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10012 + Google Map

Special Events, Exhibition, and Website Launch

Howl! Arts/Howl! Archive (HA/HA) is pleased to announce the acquisition of the Watchface Archives and the launch of the Watchface Archives website, with Special Events and an exhibition that showcases the performance collective’s wide-ranging and original work from 1983–1991. All events at HA/HA, 250 Bowery, 2nd Floor are free.

The Watchface Archive is now part of Howl!’s permanent collection and its new home on Howl’s website will be marked by the following events:   

Wednesday, July 19, 7 pm / Free

  • A screening of Sodomite Warriors, 1989, followed by an additional LIVE performance by Chazz Dean and Kurt Fulton.
  • A screening of Amelia Earhart from Pioneers of Aviation, 1991 
  • A new LIVE performance by Iris Rose.

Friday, July 21, 7 pm / Free

  • A screening of the complete Watchface reunion and tribute show at Dixon Place, recorded on April 1, 2016. It marked the only time all members of Watchface had performed together since the 1980s. They were joined by many special guests including David Cale, Joseph Keckler, and Carol Lipnik.

A small-scale exhibit of selections from the Watchface Archives will be on display throughout the month of July. Since Watchface did much of its early work at the Pyramid Cocktail Lounge, it complements the current major exhibition Brian Butterick (Hattie Hathaway) and all they loved, which continues in the main gallery through July 30th. 

Watchface by Mark Babushkin
Watchface by Mark Babushkin

Watchface was a seven-member performance collective, based in New York City, who performed together in various combinations, primarily in the East Village, from February 1983 to July 1991—eventually creating 40 different works. The tight knit group included a brother and sister, husband and wife, and multiple sets of close friends and roommates. Watchface was Chazz Dean, Kurt Fulton, Kim X Knowlton, Melanie Monios, Iris Rose, James Siena, and Maggie Siena.

The name Watchface referred both to the act of seeing and to the measurement of time. Their shows always displayed an awareness of time as an organizing principle of structure, and the content of their strong visual presentation of dense, rhythmic choreography sprang from observation of human behavior in all levels of society. The performer was the primary visual element with little emphasis on the theatrical devices of lighting, setting, or costume, which made the pieces easily adaptable to many different spaces and audiences. 

Watchface was composed of diverse personalities with strengths in a wide range of disciplines: dance, theater, two- and three-dimensional art, graphics, music, and writing. In spite of the diversity in form, content, and media in their work, the Watchface identity was clearly evident throughout: an irreverent sense of humor combined with a sincere investigation for the kernel of truth applied to subjects as varied as madness, family violence, undesirable personal habits, and shopping at Woolworth’s.  

Their work began in East Village clubs like the Pyramid, 8BC, and Darinka, but later included performance spaces like Franklin Furnace, PS 122, and La MaMa. They also performed at the ICA in London, MOCA in Los Angeles, and the Alley Theatre in Houston.

Watchface disbanded in the fall of 1990 but was revived by three of its members for one more show the following summer – 2000 Questions at Serious Fun! at Lincoln Center. All seven members reunited for an evening of performance at Dixon Place on April 1, 2016, to celebrate Dixon Places 30th anniversary and the completion and launch of Watchface’s archival website.

Image: Sodomite Warriors. Photo by Ken Schles

Sodomite Warriors. Photo Ken Schles
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