Two of Los Angeles’ better-known fine artists, Barbara Kruger and Sterling Ruby (he of Raf Simons fashion fame), are tiptoeing into the world of dance, designing the sets for the opening of LA Dance Project’s residency at the Ace Hotel Theatre, a lavish Spanish Gothic space dating from 1927.
Of the two productions, Kruger’s larger-than-life and atypically romantic typography stole the show. The words “Think of Me Thinking of You” were emblazoned across the stage and backdrop, which the company’s founder Benjamin Millepied (former face of Yves Saint Laurent’s L’Homme Libre fragrance) staged his piece, Reflections, following its debut last year at Paris’s Théâtre du Châtelet. Speaking of Paris, Millepied will soon decamp for the City of Light with his wife, Natalie Portman, to become director of the Paris Opera Ballet.
Ruby’s visual concept accompanied a piece called Murder Ballades, choreographed by Justin Peck and based on folk songs of the deadly and cautionary sort from the early 20th century. They were reworked into chamber music by Bryce Dessner, guitarist from The National. In typically dark fashion, Ruby contributed a color-field backdrop of rectangles painted in splotchy colors, reminiscent of a tattered Stars and Stripes — not unlike his couture tie-dyes for Dior.