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Pulitzer Brings In Breakdancing, Drag And Nail Art To ‘Reset’ Image

Using words like “play” and “permissiveness” in its promotional materials, the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts wants to make sure St. Louisans know it's operating on a different frequency in the upcoming “Reset” program.

David Scanavino works on Candy Crush.
Credit Courtesy of the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts
David Scanavino works on Candy Crush.

David Scanavino’s colorful “Candy Crush” literally lays the groundwork for the series, which opens Friday with live music by the local band née and the pop-rock sounds of Chicago-based California Wives. Scanavino's linoleum floor installation in the main gallery will remain throughout the nine-day event, according to Pulitzer director Kristina Van Dyke.

“It’s installed at at slight angle, kind of tilted, so the floor travels up one of the walls,” Van Dyke said,. “It will be a very dramatic backdrop for all this activity.”

‘This Is Your Pulitzer’

Saturday’s programming begins with a yoga session, followed by bamboo fort-building for kids and families. Sunday brings an exploration of hip-hop and a breakdancing championship emceed by DJ Mr. Freeze, and Tuesday offers original site-specific choreography performed by COCA dancers. Wednesday features a lunchtime DJ and an evening performance by the St. Louis Symphony of composer John Cage’s “Thirty Pieces for Five Orchestras.”

On Friday evening, nail art is the focus. “Reset” culminates Saturday night with a drag event that also spotlights manicures as well as makeup, followed by a performance of local and national drag queens.

The hope is that these novel events will interest existing patrons and also bring in more who might not otherwise come to The Pulitzer.

“I think there’s been a perception that our institution is rarified and even elitist, and that really couldn’t be further from the truth,” Van Dyke said. “But we also have to ask ourselves how that idea developed.”

I think there's been a perception that our institution is rarified and even elitist. - Pulitzer director Kristina Van Dyke

The Pulitzer plans to offer two “Reset” events every year between each of its major exhibitions. Organizers are open to ideas for future events. As The Pulitzer becomes home to a wider range of art, it aims to give diverse audiences a feeling of ownership about the institution.

“We want to send a very clear signal to our community that we are open, we are here, we are experimental, we want you to come, we want you to participate,” Van Dyke said. “This is your Pulitzer.”

Watch a clip from the “Flash Dance” breakdancing film (not the one with Jennifer Beals) featuring Mr. Freeze and his Rock Steady crew.

Follow Nancy Fowler on Twitter: NancyFowlerSTL


Where: Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, 3716 Washington Blvd., 63108
When: Friday, Jan. 17-Jan. 25
How much: Free except for Wednesday, Jan. 22 Symphony performance with tickets at $20, and Friday’s nail appointments, which cost $10: book in advance through programs@pulitzerarts.org.
Information: Pulitzer website

Nancy is a veteran journalist whose career spans television, radio, print and online media. Her passions include the arts and social justice, and she particularly delights in the stories of people living and working in that intersection.