Emily Johnson/Catalyst: Then a Cunning Voice and A Night We Spend Gazing at Stars

Then a Cunning Voice and a Night We Spend Gazing at Stars is a multi-year project building towards an all-night, outdoor performance gathering. The work includes in equal measure: making quilts, performance, storytelling, song, and a night outdoors under the sky. It relies upon people coming together to voice intentions, witness, work, experience time, rest, and imagine. 

These quilts are part of a series of 84 hand-sewn community made quilts designed by textile artist Maggie Thompson. They will become the house, the set, the seating and performance area for Then a Cunning Voice and A Night We Spend Gazing at Stars. The quilts seen here were generated by workshops and sewing bees in Tallahassee, FL; Richfield, MA; Minneapolis, MN; Hualien Taiwan; New York City, Tucson, AZ; Williamstown MA; North Adams MA; Anchorage AK; Melbourne, AUS; Natimuk, AUS; Sydney, AUS; Standing Rock; Guilford VT; Seattle, WA; Nashville, TN; and Pittsfield, MA.

Emily Johnson/Catalyst and Abrons Art Center pays respect to Lenape peoples and ancestors past, present, and future. We acknowledge that this work is situated on the Lenape island of Manhahtaan (Mannahatta) and more broadly in Lenapehoking, the Lenape homeland.

Abrons Arts Center | Studio 201
Saturday, April 1 | 11 AM – 3 PM
Monday, May 22 | 11 AM – 3 PM
Wednesday, June 7 | 4 – 7 PM
Thursday, June 8 | 4 – 7 PM
Tuesday-Saturday, June 20-24 | 12-6 PM 

Emily Johnson is an artist who makes body-based work. A Bessie Award winning choreographer and Guggenheim Fellow, she is based in New York City. Originally from Alaska, she is of Yup’ik descent and since 1998 has created work that considers the experience of sensing and seeing performance. Her dances function as installations, engaging audiences within and through a space and environment—interacting with a place’s architecture, history, and role in community. Emily is trying to make a world where performance is part of life; where performance is an integral connection to each other, our environment, our stories, our past, present, and future. Emily received a 2014 Doris Duke Artist Award; her work is supported by Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, Creative Capital, Map Fund, a Joyce Award, the McKnight Foundation, and The Doris Duke Residency to Build Demand for the Arts. Emily was a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study at the University of Minnesota 2013 – 2014 and an inaugural 2014 Fellow at the Robert Rauschenberg Residency. She is a current Mellon Foundation Choreography Fellow at Williams College. With her collaborators she recently completed the third in a trilogy of works: The Thank-you Bar, Niicugni, and SHORE. She is in the process of making Then a Cunning Voice and a Night We Spend Gazing at Stars, an all night outdoor performance gathering taking place on and near eighty-four community-hand-made quilts.