Carolyn Lazard: Long Take

A black panel with a subtitle which reads: [scratch, scratch]
  • Carolyn Lazard, Leans, Reverses (still), 2022. Courtesy the artist and Maxwell Graham/Essex Street, New York

This exhibition marks the first UK solo museum presentation of the work of New York/Philadelphia–based artist and writer Carolyn Lazard (US, b. 1987). Working across disciplines and mediums, Lazard explores the social and political dimensions of care. Focusing on accessibility and dependency, their artworks and published writings centre illness as a site of abundance and collectivity.

For their Nottingham Contemporary exhibition, the artist presents Long Take, a newly conceived installation that responds to the legacy of dance for the camera, considered through the lens of accessibility as a creative tool. Long Take is anchored by a sound installation made of a recorded reading of a dance score, the sound of a dancer’s movement and breath, and an audio description. Lazard gave the original dance score to their collaborator, dancer and choreographer Jerron Herman, and filmed his performance. The recording was then audio described in collaboration with poet and artist Joselia Rebekah Hughes.

Lazard’s Long Take intentionally blurs the boundaries between instruction, description, and translation, asking us to consider where and in what form an artwork resides. By presenting this dance work sonically rather than visually, the artist considers how a performance might be communicated beyond its image and questions why visuality has been the default primary vehicle for aesthetic experience. Using text and sound rather than moving image, Lazard encourages us to think about ways that artworks are made accessible as well as the often-unseen networks of care, labour, and friendship that make collaborative endeavours possible.

The exhibition is experienced within a gallery completely covered with vinyl flooring mats, like those typically found in a dance studio. Within the space are four standard Nottingham Contemporary gallery benches, which Lazard has altered with cushioning, backrests, and height adjustments. In doing so, the seating becomes more suitable for longer stays and more welcoming for visitors with varying access needs. Following the exhibition’s opening, a text-based description of the gallery experience will be available in both text and digital braille formats.