[ | The New York Times]

On a recent Thursday evening at the New Museum in New York, the elevator door opened onto a fifth-floor gallery with a pole-dancing class in action. Some visitors looked confused and headed for the exit, but many more crowded around the edges of the floor watching the dance collaborators Brennan Gerard and Ryan Kelly learn strenuous and hypnotic moves — the kind more often practiced by strippers or teenage subway performers.

The pair are artists in residence in the museum’s “Choreography” season, in which they are exploring how race, class and sexuality intersect in pole dancing. Their research will culminate in a museum exhibition opening Feb. 4 incorporating dancers of all stripes — subway and exotic included — rotating on tandem poles.

Trained in experimental theater and ballet, Gerard & Kelly are migrating from dance venues to the contemporary art world in search of bigger audiences, new patrons and the intellectual support of curators, a shift that scores of performing artists are also making as invitations from museums accelerate.

[read more]