Mark Ryden: Pop Surrealist Artist Will Design Sets and Costumes for New Ballet

October 05, 2016

Wall Street Journal

Pop Surrealist Artist Will Design Sets and Costumes for New Ballet

Pia Catton

Oct. 5, 2016

Pop surrealism is coming to the ballet stage: Visual artist Mark Ryden, known for fantastical oil paintings, will create the sets and costumes for a new ballet by choreographer Alexei Ratmansky, American Ballet Theatre announced Wednesday.

The two-act confection, called “Whipped Cream,” is story about a young boy who overindulges in a Vienna pastry shop. With libretto and music by Richard Strauss, the ballet, originally titled “Schlagobers,” was first performed by the Vienna State Opera in 1924.

Mr. Ryden, whose work has been exhibited widely around the world, is known for mysterious, often unsettling paintings filled with big-eyed children and kitschy-looking creatures. Mr. Ratmansky, one of ballet’s most prolific choreographers, is Ballet Theatre’s artist-in-residence.

“The combination of fantasy and surrealism will prove something dreamlike from both of them,” said artistic director Kevin McKenzie.

“Whipped Cream” will have its New York premiere May 22 at the Metropolitan Opera House after a run at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in California.

Artists