Who decides what art is and where it belongs, and what is the role of race, class, and pedigree? THIS IS MODERN ART, the acclaimed and controversial 2014 play by Idris Goodwin and Kevin Coval, based on the 2010 “bombing” of the Art Institute of Chicago by an underground graffiti crew, is making its New York debut. The production by Blessed Unrest is directed by Jessica Burr and performing as part of the inaugural season of Next Door at New York Theatre Workshop.
The set design features a stage-filling original graffiti piece painted for the production by legendary NYC street artist KEO XMEN. The production’s lighting designis by Miriam Nilofa Crowe (a regular collaborator with such artists as four-time Grammy-winner Rosanne Cash and a Grammy and Latin Grammy-winner Lila Downs), sound design by Adrian Bridges, and set design by Matt Opatrny. The cast consists of returning Blessed Unrest collaborators J. Stephen Brantley (recently seen in the 2017 production of A Christmas Carol, and known as playwright and a recipient of 2017 Doric Wilson Independent Playwright Award), Nancy McArthur (Snow Queen, 2018) and Ashley N. Hildreth (Platonov, 2018) as well as the actors making their debut with the company: Andrew Gonzalez, Shakur Tolliver, and Landon G. Woodson.