Bob and Molly and Zhang Tell Gallery Stories

Article excerpt

NEW YORK CITY: Molly Picon was the sweetheart of the Yiddish Lower East Side. Robert Wilson remains the iconic darling of the American avant-garde. And Chinese bad boy Zhang Huan has been tagged the pied piper of post-Tiananmen performance art. This month, all three artists have their own retrospective exhibits, all of which contextualize their sense of theatricality with place, country and locality.

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The artifacts on display in "Molly Picon: Yiddish Star, American Star"--at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts through Sept. 22--trace her transition from a Yiddish entertainer into a bona-fide English-speaking actress. Items include images from Picon's 1923 New York Yiddish Theatre debut in the Jacob Kalich/Joseph Rumshinsky Yankele; radio scripts from her 1941 series Nancy from Delancey; and memorabilia from the Norman Jewison film Fiddler on the Roof. Visit www.nypl.org.

On view through Sept. 20 at the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, "Bob Wilson in France" gathers more than 80 drawings that the Texas-born avant-gardist has created over the years for French productions at the Chaillot, Opera National de Paris, Theatre de I'odeon and Theatre du Chatelet. The core of the show is 65 drawings from Les Fables de La Fontaine, Wilson's anthropomorphic collaboration with the Comedie-Francaise, which recently debuted at the Lincoln Center Festival. …