Art Blog Press Releases Things To Do

Sep 3, 2014 – 5:30pm - 8:30pm

The Last Days of Folly

Madison Square Park Announces

Rachel Feinstein’s The Last Days of Folly Performance Festival

View the schedule of performances here.

  August 27, 2014 (NEW YORK) –  Madison Square Park Conservancy today announced that Rachel Feinstein’s Folly, three large-scale aluminum sculptures inspired by the artist-designed sets of the Ballets Russes, the improvisational spirit of the Commedia dell’Arte, and decorative architecture commissioned by royals, will provide the backdrop for an evening of live performances, transforming Madison Square Park into a public theater on Wednesday, September 3 from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm.

Marking the final days of Feinstein’s Folly (open to the public through September 7, 2014), an exhibition of large scale sculptures that look like they could have come from a giant book of set designs but are, in fact, made of aluminum, will provide a fitting theatrical stage for a series of performances by contemporary artists, opera singers, musicians, puppets, dancers and more including:

  • Collaborative performance group My Barbarian will perform their Broke Baroque Suite around Feinstein’s Rococo Hut;
  • Artists Allison Brainard and Cara Chan will lead a raucous procession of performers around the park;
  • Inspired by Maurice Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé for the Ballets Russes, Jarvis Cocker will create a musical interlude that will serve as a segue between the performances on the stage at Feinstein’s Cliff House;
  • Film director Sofia Coppola will collaborate with Jo Matos and Irene Hogarth-Cimino from the Joffrey Ballet School. The performance will include six young Joffrey  Ballet School ballerinas to Isao Tomita’s version of a Claude Debussy Arabesque in front of Feinstein’s Cliff House;
  • Tamar Ettun will stage five sculptural and sound events in which performers employ traditional and ritual movement and postmodern dance gestures;
  • Little Did Productions will present a magic lantern performance based on verses from the Ramayana, a Hindu epic. Incorporating colorful overhead projections with found images Luke Santy and Jessica Lorence will lend sitar and vocal accompaniment to images projected onto Feinstein’s Rococo Hut;
  • Dancer Lil Buck will perform a new improvised work set to music inspired by Folly by film composer Paul Cantelon and cellist Wolfram Koessel;
  • Kalup Linzy will share a performance of Romantic Loner One Life to Heal, a visual/musical melodrama of torch songs set to video projections and live music by Mike Jackson;
  • Molly Lowe‘sperformance will place many performers in a single costume made of many nude suits sewn together, forming a sensually undulating blob;
  • Singer/composer duo Angela McCluskey and Paul Cantelon will perform a special Folly-inspired set, creating an intimate musical journey in collaboration with dancer  Lil Buck  and surprise guests artists;
  • Shana Moulton will activate Feinstein’s  Rococo Hut  sculpture with a musical performance that includes interactive video projections, yoghurt, cat toys, and massage tools. Composer  Nick Hallett will sing original music with vocalist  Daisy Press to accompany the performance;
  • Artist Tony Oursler, in collaboration with Constance DeJong, will project a new video work onto the sail of Feinstein’s Flying Ship;
  • Carlos Vela-Prado will install inconspicuous wireless speakers throughout the park that emit a hushed soundscape combining 1950s love songs, Fellini soundtracks, and traditional baroque strings with ambient and contemporary music.

Additionally, Feinstein has embarked on collaborations with some of today’s most notable fashion designers, including Giles Deacon, Duro Olowu, Zac Posen, Narciso Rodriguez, Cynthia Rowley, Proenza Schouler, and Madeline Weinrib. Each designer will create a new Folly-inspired look, to be presented in unexpected ways alongside the festival performances as they unfold.

“Eavesdropping on people’s conversations in front of my sculptures and watching the public interact with them started my thoughts towards The Last Days of Folly. The interaction with people is what makes the sculptures pop. I became inspired to curate a performance festival using live theatre, colorful costumes, and different movements, forms and shapes to juxtapose the flatness, stillness, and whiteness of my sculptures,” Feinstein explains. “Being an artist is a solitary process, and through working with other artists I admire and who are successful in their different fields to make this festival happen I have learned so much.”

“Rachel Feinstein has long wanted to activate, through public performances, her three sculptures in Madison Square Park,” said Brooke Kamin Rapaport, Martin Friedman Senior Curator at the Conservancy. “She has organized an exciting and diverse group of artists, designers, musicians, puppeteers and dancers to program an evening akin to one of her primary inspirations, Commedia dell’arte.”

The Last Days of Folly takes place at Madison Square Park, 23rd Street between Madison and Fifth Avenues, on Wednesday, September 3 from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm. Rain or shine.

About Folly:

Rachel Feinstein’s Folly (on view in Madison Square Park through September 7, 2014), the artist’s first public art exhibition in the United States, consists of three monumental sculptures that evoke the architectural “follies” for which they are named — structures built with decorative rather than functional purpose, most popular in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century landscape design. The three structures include a house perched on a towering cliff, a Rococo-style hut, and a flying ship moored high in a tree, supported by a mast extending to the ground. Feinstein’s sculptures reference theatrical sources like Ballets Russes backdrops and Commedia dell’arte stories, and their effect is that of a Fellini film set dropped into the middle of New York City. Feinstein’s exhibition allows park goers to stumble into surprising cinematic worlds.


The Madison Square Park Conservancy is the not-for-profit organization dedicated to keeping historic Madison Square Park a bright, beautiful and lively public park. The Conservancy works in partnership with the City of New York/Parks & Recreation to operate Madison Square Park and is responsible for raising all funds necessary to operate the park, including horticulture, park maintenance, sanitation, security and free cultural programs for park visitors of all ages. For more information on the Madison Square Park Conservancy and its programs, please visit

Major support for Mad. Sq. Art is provided by the Charina Endowment Fund, Liane Ginsberg, Toby Devan Lewis, Sorgente Group of America, Tiffany & Co., The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and Anonymous. Substantial support is provided by The Sol LeWitt Fund for Artist Work, the Henry Luce Foundation, Danny and Audrey Meyer, Ronald A. Pizzuti, and The Rudin Family.

Major exhibition support for Folly is provided by Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York.

Support for The Last Days of Folly is provided by Marc Jacobs, Gagosian Gallery, Performa, Art Production Fund and Neuehouse.

Ace Hotel New York is the Official Hotel Partner of the Madison Square Park Conservancy. Mad. Sq. Art is made possible in part by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Mad. Sq. Art is supported in part with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.

Join the conversation on Twitter and Instagram via the hashtags #LastDaysofFolly, #RachelFeinstein and #MadSqArt.