Lil Buck Goes Big

Lil Buck at The New Museum

Lil Buck at The New Museum. Photo by

At 26, Charles “Lil Buck” Riley, a self-proclaimed “ambassador” of Jookin, the Memphis-born street style of dance, has demonstrated his sensational skills in music videos (see Janelle Monae’s “Tightrope”), at the Super Bowl (he performed with Madonna in the 2012 halftime show), alongside cellist Yo-Yo Ma in China, and on stage at Lincoln Center. On Thursday night, he made his debut at The New Museum, in a one-night-only show that paired his fancy footwork with the kinetic art of Keith Haring. Directed by Damian Woetzel, who oversees the Aspen Institute of Arts Program, where Lil Buck is an Artist in Residence, the 30-minute piece featured audio of Haring discussing his work, as well as documentary footage of him creating it—all while Lil Buck bounced, glided, and pirouetted on the tip of his Nike sneakers, as if in conversation with the legendary artist. In one dazzling segment, Lil Buck echoed the physical process by which Haring, who passed away 25 years ago, created one of his iconic oversized murals, reinterpreting Haring’s masterful moves with his own. “This is my canvas,” he said, gesturing to the floor.