Looky, as I noted back in 2007, seems to be an ironic glance at spectatorship in a number of forms. The scene begins in a museum or gallery where people peruse artwork that’s mostly invisible to us, stare, flirt, and bicker. It’s a nice touch to have them gaze at a tiny white stone that’s spotlit on the floor and pretend that they understand it to be an important work. They also look at art from a different perspective, sketching Okamura as she poses for them. Then they’re watching, or not watching, a shootout in a Hollywood Western bar between swaggering Elisa Clark and Joe Bowie. In the best scene, some of them line a narrow corridor of space, combining to portray a tall, complicated jumble of statuary; others enter to view them with curiosity or boredom. Okamura touches one, and they all tumble. Finally, to “Texarkana,” the spectators switch on their honky-tonk best in order to tell us, “You’re the watchers, look at me!”


Mark Morris Dance Company
BAM Howard Gilman Opera House
February 23 through 27

I like it that Morris can make a work as profound and tender as Socrates and still relish something as silly-smart as Looky.

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