legendary video artist charles atlas takes over los angeles

A ten-night festival of screenings and events brings the all-dancing world of Charles Atlas to LA — Leigh Bowery, Marina Abramovic, Merce Cunningham and all.

Mar 11 2015, 2:43pm

For the next ten nights, LA belongs to filmmaker Charles Atlas. The legendary video artist — whose collaborations include documenting the choreography of Merce Cunningham in the 70s, Marina Abramovic in the 80s, and Leigh Bowery in the 90s — is the focus of "Atlas in LA: Festival of Charles Atlas," a series of screenings and events organized by artist Paul Pescador.

What I Did Last Summer (1991), Atlas's chronicle of queer nightlife in New York in the early 90s, will be screening at the historic ONE National Gay and Lesbian archives. As will two works featuring downtown figure and frequent Atlas subject Leigh Bowery: Mrs. Peanut Visits New York (1999), in which Bowery parades through the Meatpacking District in a homemade Mr. Peanut costume, and the feature-length documentary The Legend of Leigh Bowery (2002). Meanwhile, a selection of Atlas's experimental narrative cinema plays at movie theaters including the Los Angeles Filmforum and at Human Resources.

Downtown, artist-run space 356 Mission Road and art bookstore Ooga Twooga host a book release for Atlas's Early Collaborations. And at Park View Gallery, a simultaneous exhibition pairs Atlas's work with that of a younger generation of artists of varying media — Benjamin Carlson, Nancy Lupo and Silke Otto-Knapp. All inspiring and immersive.

"Atlas in LA: Festival of Charles Atlas" runs through Thursday, March 19. Check out the full program at atlasinla.tumblr.com.


Text Jennifer Piejko
Still from Ex-Romance by Charles Atlas