Painting and performance art collide at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art

Movement artist Eiko Otake and painter Beverly McIver will collaborate for a performance and conversation on September 1 at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA), prior to Eiko’s performance at ASU Gammage on September 10.

The intimate, site-specific “Eyes Closed/Eyes Open: A Performance by Eiko Otake” also features dancer Ishmael Houston-Jones alongside McIver and Eiko, who goes by his first name professionally. It will be presented twice on September 1, at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., as part of the SMoCA exhibition “Beverly McIver: Full Circle”.

The three performers will move through the galleries and take in the artwork, which includes more than 50 paintings from McIver’s entire career. Spectators will attend the performance standing in the galleries.

“‘Eyes Closed/Eyes Open’ will be a unique and immersive experience for our audience that will bring new perspectives to the works of ‘Full Circle’ and channel the poignant nature of Beverly’s work,” said Julie Ganas, Curator of Engagement. and digital. initiatives at the SMoCA.

Eiko first met McIver in 2018. Soon after, McIver traveled to Japan to meet Eiko’s mother, but his mother died just before McIver arrived. McIver remained in Japan, carefully documenting the cultural rituals surrounding death.

The resulting works, which helped Eiko reflect on his mother’s death, are included in McIver’s SMoCA exhibit. Inspired by these paintings, McIver and Eiko have since created performances together, including one in 2019 at Duke University, where McIver is the Ebenshade Professor of Studio Arts Practice.

“Beverly’s paintings are powerfully beautiful, dark and full of intensity – everything I want as an artist,” Eiko said. “The world is dark, but contemplating it as such is beautiful and deeply inspiring. I am delighted to be able to exist and play among its paintings.”

After the performances, McIver and Eiko will engage in a conversation about their collaboration at 8 p.m. September 1 at Stage 2 of the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, located next door to the SMoCA. The discussion, which will also be livestreamed on SMoCA’s YouTube channel, will be moderated by Colleen Jennings-Roggensack, vice president of cultural affairs at Arizona State University and executive director of ASU Gammage.

Eiko has brought various creative projects and performances to Tempe and ASU Gammaing over the past 25 years. The final performance in his “The Duet Project” series, on September 10, will feature collaborations with three other artists from various backgrounds and mediums: a dancer, a painter and even a poet.

“The Duet Project” changes fluidly as Eiko creates elaborate performance pieces in collaboration with different people, creating an entirely unique audience experience with each performance. The duets contain tones and themes dealing with the human experience while embracing the connections between different cultures, races, generations, etc.

“We’ve seen Eiko’s work evolve over the years, and she’s always bringing new ideas to the stage, consistently bringing masterfully imaginative work,” said Michael Reed, Senior Director of Programs and Initiatives at ASU Gammage. . “As part of ASU Gammage’s mission to ‘Connect Communities’, it is important to provide space for artists to bring art, learning and culture to our theater to foster a community that is connected through similar experiences and an appreciation for the arts.”

Tickets for performances of “Eyes Closed/Eyes Open” at the SMoCA are $30. Tickets for the artist talk are chargeable. For more information, visit

SMoCA is located at 7374 E. Second St., Scottsdale, Arizona 85251. It is open Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. for information.

Admission is $10-$12 for non-members; $7 to $9 for students, seniors (65+) and veterans; and free for Scottsdale Arts ONE members, healthcare workers, first responders, and patrons 18 and under. Admission to the museum is free every Thursday and every second Saturday of the month. Timed entrance tickets are required. Save time and money by booking online at

The presentation of “Eyes Closed/Eyes Open: A Performance by Eiko Otake” was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project with primary funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation . This performance is in conjunction with “Beverly McIver: Full Circle”, an exhibition organized by the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and curated by Kim Boganey, director of Scottsdale Public Art. Additional exhibition support provided by the National Endowment for the Arts. SMoCA would also like to thank the following sponsors: City of Scottsdale, Billie Jo Herberger and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

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