For Immediate Release

Monk Takes Over Roosevelt Island

World Premiere of Meredith Monk's "American Archeology # 1" to Take Place on Roosevelt Island, September 23, 24 & 25


It will be epic Monk. Using New York City as her backdrop, Meredith Monk’s expansive cinematic vision will be given full play when she presents the world premiere of her two-part “AMERICAN ARCHEOLOGY # 1” outdoors on Roosevelt Island, September 23-25, rain or shine.

“AMERICAN ARCHEOLOGY #1: Roosevelt Island” is being presented by The House Foundation for the Arts and Dancing in the Streets in association with Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation.

Taking place on opposite shores of the island: the Lighthouse Park on its northern tip and the 19th century Renwick Ruins on its southern end the performance represents Monk’s first new site-specific work since 1978.

Through music, dance and the powerful natural imagery of Roosevelt Island itself, Monk, an originator of site-specific work, will evoke the spirit of the island – from its origins as home to the Leni-Lenape tribe to its designation as home for the mentally and chronically ill in the 19th century to its present identity as an up-to-date, mixed income residential community. “AMERICAN ARCHEOLOGY #1: Roosevelt Island” marks the first public performance at the former smallpox hospital, designed by James Renwick Jr., the architect of St. Patrick’s Cathedral .

The 60-member, multi-national, multi-generational cast will include members of Monk’s Vocal Ensemble, members of Roosevelt Island’s senior citizens group, a brigade of children, doctors, nurses, patients, business executives, security officers, a horse and rider, as well as Meredith Monk herself.

Ms. Monk was last seen in New York City this past May at P.S. 122 where she presented her riveting solo, “Volcano Songs.” In December, 1993, she performed at Merkin Concert Hall. During the past twelve months she toured her duet with Robert Een, “Facing North,” and a concert version of her most recent large scale work, “ATLAS: an opera in three parts” throughout the United States, Europe, the United Kingdom, and Japan. She recently created two dances, “Street Corner Pierrot” and “Evanescence” to the music of ragtime composer Donald Ashwander. Her recording of “Facing North” on ECM NEW SERIES released last October. A two-disc CD of “ATLAS: an opera in three parts” was released in the United States by ECM NEW SERIES in January, 1994.

Performance Time

The Roosevelt Island performance times are: Part 1: Lighthouse Park, 4pm sharp; Part 2: Renwick Ruins, 6:15pm sharp. A special preview performance benefitting The House Foundation, Dancing in the Streets, Friends of Roosevelt Island Landmarks, Inc. will be held Thursday September 22nd. "American Archeology #1: Roosevelt Island" is the final production of the 1994 Dancing in the Streets Festival NYC.

Where To Go

All tickets are $20 ($10 students/seniors with ID), and are available by calling 212-206-1440. Reservations are necessary. Tickets for Special Preview Performance are $100 and include supper with Meredith Monk and her Ensemble. Directions to Roosevelt Island: By tram: 60th Street and Second Avenue. By subway: Q-Train (B train evenings and weekends) to Roosevelt Island Station: By car: 21st street in Long Island City to 36th Avenue. Follow 36th Avenue West over bridge. Park in public garage. Walk to tram station. To Lighthouse: Take RIOC Red bus from tram or subway stations to last stop.

Artist Bios

The creator of more than 80 films, music, theater, and dance works, Meredith Monk is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including an honorary Doctor of Arts degree from Bard College, and one from the University of the Arts, a Sigma Alpha Iota Fellowship for outstanding female composer at the MacDowell Colony, two Guggenheim Fellowships, a Brandeis Creative Arts Award, three Obies for theater (including one for Sustained Creative Achievement), two Villager Awards, a "Bessie" (New York Dance and Performance Award for Sustained Achievement), the 1986 National Music Theater Award, and sixteen ASCAP Awards for Musical Composition, a CINE Golden Eagle Award for film, the Rockefeller Fellowship for Distinguished Choreography, first Prize for Performance Programming from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, as well as the 1992 Dance Magazine Award. Meredith Monk recently received her first Challenge Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to continue to create large scale, interdisciplinary works.


"AMERICAN ARCHEOLOGY #1: Roosevelt Island" is produced by The House Foundation for the Arts, Dancing in the Streets, in association with Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation of the State of New York. The commissioning of this work by Walker Art Center, Dancing in the Streets, The House Foundation for the Arts, PS 122 and Hancher Auditorium was made possible by a grant from Meet the Composer/ Reader's Digest Commissioning Program, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund. Production support was provided by the Multi-Arts Production Fund of the Rockefeller Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, AT & T, The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, US Trust Company, The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation and The Harkness Foundation for Dance. Dancing in The Streets Festival NYC is sponsored by Heathcote Art Foundation, Joyce Mertz-Gilmore Foundation and American Express. Marketing support is provided by Philip Morris Companies Inc., Booth Ferris Foundation, and Time Warner Cable.
Photo by Jesse Frohman.