The second in a new quarterly series of festivals at the Burchfield Penney Art Center kicks off at the Elmwood Avenue institution today.
“Cycles at the Center,” a four-day series of screenings, performances and workshops timed to coincide with the opening of five new exhibitions, runs through Sunday afternoon.
Two of the new shows, “Charles E. Burchfield: Oh My Heavens” and “Charles E. Burchfield: The Studio,” examine the center’s namesake from different angles. In “Oh My Heavens,” Burchfield’s fascination with constellations and celestial bodies and phenomena takes center stage and provides viewers, according to the center, “with the opportunity to examine the scientific, historical and spiritual implications of the artist’s works.”
The center’s rotunda gallery, which previously showcased an engrossing exhibition of the artist’s absentminded doodles, will focus on Burchfield’s 1917 painting “Salem Bedroom Studio.” It will also include several objects from his longtime studio in Gardenville.
Also going on view Friday is an exhibition by prolific Chinese artist Xu Bing made up of photographs documenting his 1994 performance “Cultural Animal,” which involved a live pig interacting with a mannequin. The center will also present an installation by Ohio-based artist Ann Hamilton and a video installation, “Broken Mirror,” by Beijing artist Song Dong.
The final three exhibitions – by Xu Bing, Song Dong and Ann Hamilton – are the first in the newly launched Electronic Arts Alliance, a series of collaborations with Alfred University’s Institute of Electronic Arts School of Art and Design announced Tuesday.
Among many sights and sounds designed especially for the four-day festival, which begins at noon today with a screening of a film by Paul Sharits, will be an original dance piece choreographed by Jon Lehrer. That piece, Lehrer said, is based on the photographs of local professor Bruce Jackson to complement the exhibition of his work in the grand east gallery. The dance troupe will also perform its popular pieces “Murmur” and “The Alliance.”
The full schedule of events is online at burchfieldpenney.org. Here are some highlights:
• The film “S:Stream:S:S:Section:S:S:Ection:S:S:Ectioned” by Sharits screens at noon today and 6:30 p.m. Saturday. LehrerDance also performs at 7:30 tonight, 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
• From 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, the center hosts an opening celebration for its five new exhibitions. Visitors can take a guided tour of Shasti O’Leary Soudant’s kid-friendly exhibition “Let There Be Light!” hosted by the artist. The evening will also feature performances by Dive House Union at 6:30 p.m. and A Musical Feast at 8 p.m. Weather permitting, visitors can go stargazing with Buffalo State College’s Whitworth Ferguson Planetarium staff.
• From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, a special “Pop-Up Park” for kids ages 8 to 18 will materialize on the Burchfield Penney grounds. Anyone interested in participating in the vaguely defined event, which includes lunch, should call 878-4534 to make a reservation.
• The weekend will wrap up with an architectural tour of the Burchfield Penney at 2 p.m. Sunday and a screening of work by video artists, “Preview, Premier and Peruse Films and Video,” also at 2.