A weeklong program to mark the
fiftieth anniversary of his death on October 27th, 1964
Fred Herko is a legendary figure in New York’s 1960s avant-garde. A musical prodigy, he studied piano at the Juilliard School of Music before switching to ballet at the age of twenty. In 1956 he won a scholarship to the American Ballet Theatre School and within a few years was dancing with established choreographers including John Butler, Katherine Litz, Buzz Miller, Glen Tetley and James Waring. He was a founder member of Judson Dance Theater, presenting six of his own works in the group’s concerts between 1962 and 1964 and dancing in works by Al Hansen, Deborah Hay, Arlene Rothlein, and Elaine Summers.
In 1961, together with his lover, the actor and director Alan Marlowe, and his friends, the poets Diane di Prima and LeRoi Jones (later Amiri Baraka) and choreographer James Waring, he co-founded the New York Poets Theatre, which staged one-act plays by poets and provided a podium for happenings by George Brecht, Ray Johnson, Allan Kaprow and Robert Whitman; dances by Yvonne Rainer and Trisha Brown; music by Philip Corner, Simone Forti, John Herbert McDowell, and La Monte Young; and films by Brian De Palma, Stan VanDerBeek and Andy Warhol. Herko starred in seven of Warhol’s earliest cinematic experiments, including Jill and Freddy Dancing, Rollerskate/Dance Movie, and Salome and Delilah.
His untimely death in 1964, at the age of 28, robbed New York’s underground scene of one of its most exuberant and versatile performers, equally at home interpreting George Brecht’s Comb Music or camping it up in Rosalyn Drexler’s musical comedy Home Movies.
Fred Herko: A Crash Course
Saturday October 25th, 1.00-5:00 pm
Performance Studies, Tisch School of the Arts, NYU
A one-day symposium with lectures by Gerard Forde (independent scholar) and Marc Siegel (Goethe University), and a round-table discussion with Danielle Goldman (The New School), Heather Love (University of Pennsylvania), Richard Move (Queens College, CUNY), Ara Osterweil (McGill University) and Julia Robinson (NYU).
Organized by Joshua Lubin-Levy. Faculty sponsor Andrè Lepecki. Co-presented by the Department of Performance Studies (NYU) and the Goethe-Institute New York. Tisch Institute for Creative Research and Women & Performance: a journal of feminist theory. Associated programming by the New York Performance Artists Collective. Co-sponsored by the Department of Art & Public Policy (NYU) and the Department of Art History (NYU).
Possibilities for a
Tuesday October 28th – Saturday November 1st, 1.00-5.00 pm
Opening: Saturday October 25th, 6.00-8.00 pm
Emily Harvey Gallery
An exhibition of photographs of Herko in performance by Al Giese, George Herms, Peter Moore, Billy Name, Edward Olaksek, Terry Schutté, Vladimir Sladon and Van Williams.
During the opening on Saturday October 25th, the New York Performance Artists Collective will present Night Light Bright Light, a new piece written, choreographed, and performed by Jack Ferver in collaboration with Reid Bartelme. The thirty-minute performance will start promptly at 7.30 pm.
Fred Herko and Friends:
A Celebration in Music, Poetry, Dance, and Film
Sunday October 26th, 4.00 pm
Judson Memorial Church
55 Washington Square South
Avant Media presents a concert of songs by Peter Hartman, poetry by John Giorno, Diane di Prima, Frank O’Hara, LeRoi Jones and James Waring, dance by Jackson Mac Low interpreted by Gus Solomons Jr., and films by Andy Warhol.
Monday October 27th, 5:00 pm
5 Cornelia Street
Fred Herko jumped to his death from the fifth-floor window of his friend Johnny Dodd’s apartment at 5 Cornelia Street at 5.00 pm on October 27, 1964. Please join us on the sidewalk outside 5 Cornelia Street for a brief musical tribute to the dancer Don McDonagh dubbed “the incandescent innocent”.
Tuesday October 28th, 6.30 pm
suggested donation: $10
Rio Grande Union, Inc.
541 Broadway, 3rd floor
Douglas Dunn hosts a screening of Elaine Summers’ film Judson Fragments, featuring rare footage of Judson dancers Yvonne Rainer, Steve Paxton, Deborah Hay, and vignettes of Fred Herko shot specially for Summers’ 1964 dance Fantastic Gardens. The screening will be followed by a Q&A session with Summers about her working relationship with Herko.
Warhol’s First Superstar
Jean-Claude van Itallie and Michael Townsend Smith
Wednesday October 29th, 5.30 pm
South Court Auditorium, New York Public Library
Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street
Gerard Forde, the author of a forthcoming biography of Herko, talks with Herko’s friends Jean-Claude van Itallie and Michael Townsend Smith about Herko’s role in Judson Dance Theater, Off-Off-Broadway theater and Warhol’s Factory.
Program curated by: Gerard Forde
Photo by George Herms: Fred Herko dancing on the roof of
‘The Opulent Tower’, Ridge Street, New York, spring 1964
Design: Rebels in Control