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Performance: Edgar Arceneaux

October 1720, 2018

The Bootleg Theater, Los Angeles, CA

This image illustrates a link to the exhibition titled Performance: Edgar Arceneaux

Edgar Arceneaux


“[Arceneaux] weaves a deft, subtle, often convoluted thread throughout – a heavy, but selectively rewarding lift.” —ArtReview

Renowned visual artist Edgar Arceneaux’s first live work, Until, Until, Until… investigates the infamous 1981 performance of Broadway legend Ben Vereen, which was televised nationally as part of Ronald Reagan’s inaugural celebration. Intended as an homage to vaudevillian Bert Williams—America’s first mainstream Black entertainer—the final five minutes of the performance were censored for the television audience, omitting Vereen’s biting commentary on the history of segregation and racist stereotypes. Until, Until, Until… is based on the footage that never aired that night.

Arceneaux’s mise-en-scene immerses the audience in the scenery of the presidential celebration, where the relationships between past and present, experience and memory, and fantasy and reality are blurred as they are filtered through time and the television screen. Until, Until, Until… questions the truth of past narratives and creates an opportunity to reconsider our collective understanding of historic events, while illuminating the present.