Behind The Mask: Joyce Kozloff

Next up, artist Joyce Kozloff!

What is your part in this project, and what are you taking away from it?


A mask (before Joyce makes a masterpiece of it!)

During 2004-2006, I created 72 carnival masks, one element in a large installation at the Venetian Arsenale. On each mask, I painted an early map of an island somewhere in the world. The project, “Voyages,” explored European global expansion and colonization during the Age of Discovery (the Renaissance). At the end, I did not expect (or desire) to ever make another mask! But Andy Appel, a friend, asked me to paint the masks for his production of the opera “Acis and Galatea” – and I always follow and support my friends and colleagues.

I have never made props or sets for a theatrical production, so this is a challenge: exploring the characters and expressing them through their faces. Since my sensibility is decorative rather than figurative, this could lead to new complexities and physiognomies.

What about this project do you look forward to?

I’m curious how the masks will evolve, as I’m stepping into unknown territory. And excited about how they will look – first placed on white, stationery statues, and then on moving, singing bodies! I hope they will further the drama and intensity of the plot.

What about a mask or masquerade is appealing to you?

They create an alternate persona, a mystery which is often frightening. Groups like the Guerrilla Girls have used masks to maintain their anonymity, but also to add some humor and fun to a serious political discourse. They exist in almost every culture; the impulse to lose oneself and change identity during festivals and carnivals, times of revelry, is part of being human.

What do you hope to accomplish with this project?

I hope the masks will contribute emotionally and aesthetically to the opera, that they will add nuance and subtlety to the characters, that they will raise questions rather than solve predictable problems. I’d like to add visual layers of new content onto the libretto’s story.

Acis and Galatea will be performed on September 6th at 7:30PM in the Orpheum Film & Performing Arts Center. Call our ticket line (518-263-2063) or go to our ticketing website to reserve your seats today!

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