SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College presents Bardo Now, a three-day series with special guests that explores the Tibetan Buddhist concept of the bardo — most often understood as the intermediate space between death and rebirth — through contemporary literature, art, and music on April 16, 17, and 18.
– On Tuesday, April 16, at 6 p.m., Donald S. Lopez Jr. (author of The Tibetan Book of the Dead: A Biography) will be in conversation with George Saunders (appearing via video chat) about Saunders’s award-winning 2017 novel, Lincoln in the Bardo.
George Saunders is the author of nine books, including Tenth of December, which was a finalist for the National Book Award, and won the inaugural Folio Prize (for the best work of fiction in English) and the Story Prize (best short story collection). He has received MacArthur and Guggenheim Fellowships, the PEN/Malamud Prize for excellence in the short story, and was recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2013, he was named one of the world’s 100 most influential people by Time magazine. He teaches in the Creative Writing Program at Syracuse University.
– On Wednesday, April 17, at 6 p.m., performance artist Laurie Anderson will be in conversation with Benjamin Bogin, the director of the Asian Studies Program at Skidmore College, as part of the museum’s Dunkerley Dialogue series.
Laurie Anderson is one of America’s most renowned performance artists, with boundary-breaking works that include multimedia presentations, visual arts, music, poetry, photography, and film. Among her major recordings are Big Science, Mister Heartbreak, United States Live, Strange Angels, Bright Red, Home of the Brave, and major performance pieces include United States I-V (1983), Empty Places (1990), The Nerve Bible (1995), and Songs and Stories for Moby Dick. Her visual work has been exhibited in major museums throughout the United States and Europe. In 2011 her exhibition of all new work titled Forty-Nine Days In the Bardo opened at the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia.
Her awards include the 2001 Tenco Prize for Songwriting in San Remo, Italy and the 2001 Deutsche Schallplatten prize for Life On A String as well as grants from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts; the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize; Pratt Institute’s Honorary Legends Award; and Yoko Ono’s Courage Award for the Arts. In 2002, Anderson was appointed the first artist-in-residence of NASA, and she has held residencies at both CAP in UCLA in Los Angeles and EMPAC in Troy, New York. She lives in New York City.
– On Thursday, April 18, at 6 p.m., Susie Ibarra, percussionist, and Tashi Dorji, guitarist, perform an experimental duet as a musical bardo exploration.
Susie Ibarra is a composer and percussionist who creates live and immersive music that explores rhythm, indigenous practices and interaction with cities and the natural world. Her work includes the recording Perception (2017); Musical Water Routes in the Medina of Fez (2016), a music and river route mobile app; Mirrors and Water, a sonic installation commissioned for Ai Wei Wei’s Circle of Animals/Zodiac Signs at the National Museum of Wildlife Art, Jackson, Wyoming (2015); Circadian Rhythms (2013), commissioned for Earth Day at Rensselaer RPI EMPAC; and others.
She has performed with Pauline Oliveros, NEA heritage artist Danongan Kalanduyan, John Zorn, Wadada Leo Smith, Dave Douglas, Tania Léon, Ikue Mori, Yusef Komunyakaa, Yuka Honda, Sylvie Courvoisier, Trisha Brown, Derek Bailey, Marc Ribot, Jennifer Choi, Craig Taborn, Mali singer songwriter Mamadou Kelley and Hamdcha Sufi Group of Fez, Morocco. She teaches at Bennington College.
The events are held in conjunction with the exhibition The Second Buddha: Master of Time at the museum, which explores the life, legend, and legacy of Padmasambhava, a tantric master who is an iconic figure in Tibetan culture, celebrated as “The Second Buddha” and credited for bringing Buddhism to Tibet. The concept of the bardo is described in The Tibetan Book of the Dead, which is attributed to Padmasambhava.
All events are free and open to the public. For more information, call 518-580-8080 or visit tang.skidmore.edu.