Degenerate Art Ensemble
Degenerate Art Ensemble (DAE) makes live performances inspired by punk, comics, cinema, nightmares and fairy tales driven by live music and our own style of visceral movement theater and dance. The group is comprised of artists Haruko Crow Nishimura, Joshua Kohl, Elizabeth Jameson, Wyly Astley and Willow Fox. Their work is an exorcism through collision and conflict, challenging how we see audience, architecture, music, story, myth and reality—coming out of a deep desire for communion, soul-exchange and transformation. DAE has shown their work throughout the US and Europe known for their large-scale dance and theater projects, concerts, site-transforming spectacles and ongoing public experimentation. Highlights of the group's work include a major exhibition at the Frye Art Museum in 2011, a commission by director Robert Wilson to interpret his work Einstein on the Beach in 2012 and a collaboration with the Kronos Quartet in 2013. In 2012, DEA was also commissioned by the City of Seattle to create a site-specific work, titled Underbelly, in collaboration with Olson Kundig Architects to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Seattle World’s Fair. The group’s work Predator Songstress was shown in San Francisco, Seattle and New York. In 2016, DAE teamed up with Czech rock legends Uz Jsme Doma for an epic orchestral work inspired by the group's music and the music of Degenerate Art Ensemble for a concert and tour. The group's newest work Skeleton Flower was shown at the Spotlight USA Festival in 2018 and had a full premiere in 2019 in Seattle.
HARUKO CROW NISHIMURA
Haruko Crow Nishimura is a dancer, vocalist and artistic director of Degenerate Art Ensemble (DAE). She is always searching to discover how art can create deeper connections and awakenings. Her unique style of movement is inspired by physical theater and butoh dance, constantly dealing with subversive sides of humanity and revealing the hidden beauty of darkness to heal and confront. She received a Guggenheim fellowship, a Creative Capital award, a commission with her group DAE by director Robert Wilson to re-interpret his work Einstein on the Beach, a solo dance with Kronos Quartet and a large-scale site specific collaboration with Olson Kundig Architects. She recently performed as a vocalist in Prague with the Czech rock legends Uz Jsme Doma and the Czech Philharmonic and performed her work Skeleton Flower at the Spotlight USA Festival in Plovdiv, Bulgaria and premiered it in march of 2019 in Seattle.
Joshua Kohl is a composer and theater maker and is co-director and music director of Degenerate Art Ensemble. His work with DAE has toured the US and Europe and included collaborations with Kronos Quartet, Robert Wilson, a recent orchestral commission by the Czech rock legends Uz Jsme Dome which he conducted live in Prague in 2016 with the South Bohemian Philharmonic Orchestra. His work has been awarded by Music Theatre Now Award from the International Theatre Institute, Creative Capital, New Music USA and is a two time Artist Trust fellow. He has also conducted the work of his peers including Jherek Bischoff with vocalist David Byrne at the Lincoln Center NY. His new album of songs from the recent project Skeleton Flower will be released this summer.
Visual artist Elizabeth Jameson was born in Augsburg, Germany. She spent her early childhood in Japan and her youth on Bainbridge Island. She received a BA in art from Western Washington University and an MFA in sculpture from Mills College, where she was awarded the Jay De Feo prize for "outstanding MFA graduate." Since 1998, her work has been exhibited regularly in solo, group and juried shows in the United States and Europe. Highlights include a 2002 solo show at the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle, and artist residencies in Vienna Austria and Villa Montalvo in Saratoga California. Jameson has worked on three productions for Degenerate Art Ensemble: in 2005’s Cuckoo Crow as costume designer, 2015’s Predator Songstress as set designer and in Skeleton Flower as set designer and costume designer.
Seattle based artist and designer Wyly Astley works with wool, clay, metal, bone and wood to create costumes, jewelry, sculpture and immersive installations. She has a Certificate in Fiber Arts from the University of Washington and, since 2012, has done residencies with the Center on Contemporary Art in Seattle, WA; Smoke Farm in Arlington, WA and in Arabia, Helsinki, Finland and an intensive dyeing/fibers study with Claudy Jongstra at the Farm of the World in Húns, Netherlands. Her work with the Degenerate Art Ensemble has been featured in City Arts Magazine, Crosscut and Northwest Asian Weekly.
Willow Fox is a maker of useful things for worlds both real and imagined. Her textile and multimedia installation work has been experienced in the Pacific Northwest and abroad, with inspiration drawn from local mythologies, forgotten traditions and intuitions of the future. Currently she is exploring trauma held by the land, the effects of this on our collective narrative and rituals to release these energies. Fox graduated summa cum laude from Cornish College of the Arts with a double major in sculpture and video.
Leo Mayberry has been working with video for over 20 years, in forms from edited documentary to live performance. At events such as Seattle's Decibel Festival, he performs improvised sets to accompany experimental and ambient music. Working with multi-media performance group Degenerate Art Ensemble, he expanded into a designer's role. His aim is to integrate video into performance in ways that expand beyond traditional roles, weaving moving image into the fabric of the story.