A Cut Above

Olafur Eliasson

Three artists at the top of their game team up for a modern-day Ballets Russes at the Park Avenue Armory.

Five years ago, Jonathan Safran Foer released Tree of Codes to some confusion: Both book and sculpture, it created a new narrative by excising words from a short-story collection by Bruno Schulz. This fall, Royal Ballet choreographer Wayne McGregor, remix artist Jamie xx, and installation superstar Olafur Eliasson are adapting Foer’s work into a multimedia ballet of the same title, at the always-inventive Park Avenue Armory, in Manhattan.

It’s not the most obvious choice of source material. But the book is an ode to artistic cross-pollination, a theme that speaks to both Jamie xx, whose gift lies in weaving seamless aural tapestries from esoteric strands, and McGregor, whose ceaselessly original efforts explore the nexus of dance with other fields. “The piece engages with the notion of absence,” says Armory president Rebecca Robertson. “It’s about excision and the ghosts of things.” Among the ghosts being summoned are the creators of Diaghilev’s storied Ballets Russes—Nijinsky, Matisse, Stravinsky, et al.—for the last century, the cross-disciplinary balletic collaboration to beat. At the height of their creative powers, McGregor, Eliasson, and Jamie xx have their work cut out for them. September 14 through 21; 643 Park Ave.; armoryonpark.org.