2016 Lab Artist: Ann Carlson
Interdisciplinary artist Ann Carlson borrows from the disciplines of dance, performance, theater, visual and conceptual art, and her award winning work often defies description and category. Carlson’s work takes the form of solo performance, site-specific projects, ensemble theatrical works, or performance/video. Her works have been seen throughout the U.S., Europe, and Mexico in concert halls, opera houses and museums, as well as on dairy farms, mountain sides, frozen ponds, and in hotels and swimming pools.
Carlson is the recipient of over thirty commissions and numerous awards for her artistic work. A few of her recent awards include: a 2016 Creative Capital Award, a 2015 Doris Duke Performing Artist Award in Contemporary Dance, a 2015 National Dance Project Award, a 2014 Multi-Art Production Fund Grant, a USA Artist Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, and a Fellowship from the Foundation for Contemporary Art. She received a prestigious three-year choreographic fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), as well as eight years of consecutive support from the NEA.
Carlson has collaborated with a number of animals in her work, including horses, dogs, cats, cows, fish, and goats, who have all performed live with her. As part of a production residency at VPL in September 2016, Carlson worked with a flock of sheep, three working dogs, Wull, Monk and Lala, and dog handler Diane Cox, dancers Diane Frank, Imre Hunter, Peter Schmitz, Ryan Tacata, and Vermont based cellists Jake Charkey, Tim Merton, and Jennifer Morsches to stage a new work, Doggie Hamlet. The work explored instinct, sentience, attachment, and loss, and draws on elements from William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book, and the 2008 novel, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, by David Woblewski. Culminating in sold out performances in September 2016, VPL audiences were able to experience the performance spectacle Doggie Hamlet in the fields of the local farm Vermont Shepherd in Westminster West, Vermont.