PoleStock festival celebrates Robert Wilson’s “Poles” at Grailville

LOVELAND, Ohio – In 1967, the Grailville organic retreat community in Loveland commissioned a then virtually unknown visual artist, dancer, choreographer, and director named Robert Wilson to create a monumental outdoor sculpture on an open field adjacent to the Grailville center.

Working with local volunteers, Wilson constructed elements of an enormous theater, complete with amphitheater seating and a proscenium arch, entirely of discarded telephone poles.

The resulting sculptural environment, called

“Poles,” is no traditional theater space, though it was intended to support a variety of performance activities.

Robert Wilson emerged in the decade after completion of the “Poles” as a distinctive voice in an international dialogue about a new participatory, imagistic, and nonnarrative style of performance.

Been restored. The “Poles” has been open to the public since 1968 but had recently fallen into disrepair. Two years ago a community effort was launched to restore it.

The “Poles” will be rededicated on July 22, and in celebration PoleStock, a free festival of happenings, performances, and live music will take place on the site at Grailville beginning at 3 p.m.

In conjunction with the rededication, the Contemporary Arts Center of Cincinnati will be running a video program of pieces by and about Robert Wilson throughout the summer.

Critical context. This series was organized in conjunction with Wilson’s Byrd Hoffman Foundation and is intended to describe and illustrate the artist’s multifaceted career as a critical context for understanding the many implications of the “Poles.”

It includes two documentary programs about the signature performance pieces “The CIVIL warS” and “Hamlet,” as well as Wilson’s own video versions of the stage works, “Deofman Glance” and “Saints and Singing.”

The video program will be screened daily.

For additional information about the PoleStock festival and the Robert Wilson video program, please call the CAC at 513-345-8400.

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