BY ROSELEE GOLDBERG
Available August 28, 2018.
“An indispensable chronicling of both performance art and its time.” – Barbara Kruger
“PERFORMANCE NOW charts the development of live visual art across six continents in the years since the new millennium,” writes renowned authority and Performa founder RoseLee Goldberg in the introduction to her new book. “It shows how performance, so integral to the history of art in the 20th century but largely ignored by art museums and academia, has, in the opening years of the 21st century, become one of the most highly visible art forms in museums as well as at biennials and art fairs around the globe.”
With chapters on Performance as Visual Art, World Citizenship: Performance as Global Language, Radical Action: On Performance and Politics, Dance After Choreography, Off Stage: New Theatre, and Performing Architecture, this groundbreaking survey reveals how live art has advanced in the twenty- first century as a visual medium, a global language, and a political force, emerging from the margins to become an essential vehicle for communication, transforming traditional art spaces into lively cultural hubs.
Bringing together striking images of a vast array of live performances and expert text, PERFORMANCE NOW is a mesmerizing examination of this most varied art form and the ultimate reference for artists, art students, and historians, as well as theater, film, dance, and architecture enthusiasts with an eye on the avant-garde.
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Performa Dinner during Art Basel Hong Kong.
Hosted by RoseLee Goldberg, Director and Chief Curator, Richard Chang, President, Performa Board of Directors, Ivan Pun, Performa Board of Directors, Joyce Liu, Performa Board of Directors, and Jenny Junyuan Wang, President, Fosun Foundation.
Special performance by Samson Young.
The Pool House, Grand Hyatt Hong Kong
March 28, 2018
The Whitney Museum in New York has appointed Adrienne Edwards as its Engell Speyer Family Curator and Curator of Performance. She will start at the Whitney this May.
Edwards is well-known for her work with Performa, where she has helped curate performance commissions since 2010. At the New York–based biennial, she has organized various thematic presentations, including last year’s “Afroglossia,” which focused on African performance art and featured new works by Teju Cole, Wangechi Mutu, and Tracey Rose, and she has helped engineer partnerships with New York institutions such as the Anthology Film Archives, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art.
In addition to her projects for Performa, Edwards was curator at large at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. She has held that position since 2016, and is currently organizing a survey of work by the jazz pianist Jason Moran for the museum that will later travel to the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston and the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio. Edwards also co-led a $1 million Mellon Foundation Interdisciplinary Initiative, which supported multidisciplinary projects at the Walker.
Outside of her work for museums and biennials, Edwards has independently curated exhibitions at galleries, most notably “Blackness in Abstraction,” an expansive survey of the color black in non-figurative work, for New York’s Pace Gallery in 2016. She has also contributed to Art in America, Aperture, and Parkett, among other publications. This May, she will curate a project by Kapwani Kiwanga, who was named winner of this year’s Frieze Artist Award, and a “Live” program of time-based work at the Frieze New York art fair.
Scott Rothkopf, the deputy director for programs and the chief curator at the Whitney, said in a statement, “Adrienne has distinguished herself as one of the most innovative curators working in performance today by engaging artists across diverse disciplines and often challenging them to explore new genres and experimental forms. She brings to the Whitney a wonderful complement of scholarly rigor, social commitment, and a deeply humane understanding of artists and their audiences.”
Read original article HERE
Portrait by Whitney Browne
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In this live collage, Robert drew on the idiosyncratic features of Philip Johnson’s Glass House, to devise a piece that delved into the intersections of architecture, visibility, and black representation. Imitation of Lives wove together memories of Harlem Renaissance cabaret singer Jimmie Daniels (once romantically involved with Johnson), with references from Samuel Beckett’s Quad (1981), David Hammons’ seminal work In the Hood (1993), as well as lyrics by Josephine Baker, and texts by Jayne Cortez, Marguerite Duras, Audre Lorde, and Lorenzo Thomas.
Wang's four-minute long video features gorgeous shots of Jimmy Robert and fellow performers NIC Kay and Quenton Stuckey rehearsing in, and interacting with, this modernist icon.
Watch the video!
Click HERE for more information on Jimmy Robert's Performa and Glass House Commission.
Adam Pendleton's most recent video portrait of the dancer, choreographer, filmmaker and writer Yvonne Rainer, called Just Back from Los Angeles: A Portrait of Yvonne Rainer (2016–17) is currently on view at MIT List Visual Arts Center in Cambridge, MA.
Adam Pendleton’s multi-disciplinary practice across painting, sculpture, video, and performance searches for “radical juxtapositions.” Appropriating found images and text, Pendleton brings together often divergent ideas to destabilize the present and envision new aesthetic, cultural, and political futures. Since 2008, Pendleton’s fragmentary, visionary process has been driven by a conceptual paradigm the artist termed “Black Dada,” which takes inspiration from Amiri Baraka’s 1964 poem “Black Dada Nihilismus.”
Just Back from Los Angeles: A Portrait of Yvonne Rainer (2016–17) centers around a meal Pendleton and Rainer share at a New York City diner. Over the course of their meal, the video records their unscripted conversation punctuated by poignant moments where each artist leads the other. Rainer leads Pendleton in partnered movement exercises. Pendleton invites Rainer to read from a script which combines her writing with accounts and discussions of inequality, racism, and anti-black violence by such voices as Stokely Carmichael, Malcolm X, and Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor. Including footage from Rainer’s 1978 documentation of Trio A, Just Back from Los Angeles stages an inter-generational dialogue across lines of sexual and racial difference that provoke critical inquiry into the artists’ shared questions of poetics and politics. Continue Reading.
YBCA presents three intimate evenings of Edgar Arceneaux’s first live work, UNTIL, UNTIL, UNTIL….
February 22, 2018 - February 24, 2018
For more information and tickets, click HERE
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) in San Francisco, CA is currently presenting two major experimental works by Edgar Arceneaux, the winner of Performa's Malcolm McLaren Award: Until, Until, Until (2015-17), a live-action play and immersive multimedia art installation first realized for Performa 15 and Library of Black Lies (2016)
Arceneaux created Until, Until, Until as an investigation of and meditation on an infamous 1981 performance by Broadway legend Ben Vereen, televised nationally as part of Ronald Reagan’s inaugural celebration. The performance immerses the audience in the scenery of the presidential celebration, where the relationships between past and present, experience and memory, and fantasy and reality blur as they are filtered through time and the television screen. Frank Lawson stars as Ben Vereen.
For more YBCA information and tickets, click HERE
For more information on the Performa 15 Commission, click HERE
On October 31, 2017, Art21 joined Performa for the installation of Barbara Kruger's Untitled (Skate), as part of her Performa 17 Commission, at Coleman Skatepark in the Lower East Side.
Watch the video!
While sharing her earliest influences and what led her to become an artist, Barbara Kruger explains the origins of her 2017 Performa commission, Untitled (Skate), a site-specific installation at Coleman Skatepark in New York City’s Lower East Side. Growing up in a working class family in Newark, New Jersey before landing a job as a designer for Condé Nast publications, Kruger considers how her design experience lent a fluency and directness to the development of her text-driven work.
“Money talks. Whose values?” says Kruger, quoting some of the panels installed in the skatepark. “These are just ideas in the air and questions that we ask sometimes—and questions that we don’t ask but should ask.”
Direct not just in its address of the viewer, but also in its active engagement with social and political events, Kruger’s work uses the visual language of advertising to critique the very messages it emulates. Her work asks viewers to closely consider how global topics like consumerism and power play a role in their daily lives. “Something to really think about is what makes us who we are in the world that we live in.” says the artist. “And how culture constructs and contains us.”
Featuring Untitled (Skate), a Performa commission for the Performa 17 Biennial installed at the Coleman Square Playground in New York City; works from the artist’s multiple solo exhibitions at Mary Boone Gallery; and FOREVER, a 2017 site-specific exhibition at Sprüth Magers Berlin, amongst others.
[Above text by Art21]
About the Performa Commission:
Barbara Kruger has been employing media effects and strategies to create her own political and social messages around consumerism, mass media, and feminism on billboards, buses, newspapers, buildings, and parks for the past four decades. Her instantly recognizable—and frequently appropriated—visual style of delivering highly charged, terse phrases in white Futura Bold font over red blocks has radiated its influence on other visual artists, graphic design, mass media, and high fashion streetwear.
For the Performa 17 Biennial, Kruger broadcasted messages engaging issues of and ideas about power, desire, adoration, contempt, and capital all over New York City: on a billboard in Chelsea, on MetroCards distributed across four subway stations, on a yellow school bus, in a storefront shop in SoHo, and in one of New York’s most popular skate park underneath the Manhattan Bridge.
For more information on Barbara Kruger's Performa Commission, click HERE.
For more information on Art21, click HERE.
For Immediate Release
November 21, 2017
PERFORMA GRAND FINALE ANNOUNCES KEMANG WA LEHULERE
AS THE WINNER OF THE 2017 MALCOLM MCLAREN AWARD
BIENNIAL WELCOMED OVER 55,000 VISITORS OVER THREE WEEKS OF LIVE PERFORMANCE
FEATURING OVER 35 ARTISTS ACROSS 33 VENUES THROUGHOUT NEW YORK CITY
New York — Performa is pleased to announce the winner of the fourth edition of the Malcolm McLaren Award, Kemang Wa Lehulere, presented last night at the Performa 17 Grand Finale and conclusion of the Performa 17 Biennial hosted by PUBLIC Arts. Following the spirit of McLaren, a champion of the young and bold, the prize is awarded during each Performa biennial to a visual artist who demonstrates strong potential through an innovative and thought-provoking live performance commissioned during the biennial. This year, the award was presented by critic and curator, Carlo McCormick, and accepted by South African vocalist, Vuyo Sotashe, on the artist’s behalf.
“Performance is the non-commodity that so well expresses our collective resistance. Malcolm McLaren appreciated a great sense of folly in his work and never shied away from the possibilities of utter failure,” comments Carlo McCormick, presenter of the 2017 McLaren award.
“Performa 17 has been an utterly exhilarating biennial. Every work has been a powerful call to activism through the most visually dazzling means, showing us how artists use their extraordinary talent as probes to consciousness. We are all better human beings for the work that we have experienced. I extend my profound and heartfelt appreciation to each and every artist, and to my entire team for joining the artists in realizing their ideas. Each performance has been a work of wonder, and it’s impossible to single out one for a prize, but we do so in the name of Malcolm McLaren, to remember his incredible spirit, to honor him, and to inspire us all anew with his words and imagination,” comments RoseLee Goldberg, founder and chief curator of Performa.
Performa 17 brought three weeks of live performance to New York City, a culmination of two years of in-depth art historical research with six programs: South African and Estonian Pavilion Without Walls, AFROGLOSSIA, Circulations, AFTERHOURS, and Dada's 100-year legacy. Through major commissions and projects, the Biennial’s participating artists confronted today’s most pressing social issues, the multiplicity of African identities, how performance and movement is shaped by the built environment and vice versa, and how the groundbreaking principles of Dada remain salient in the subversive consciousness of contemporary artists. Featuring artists from across the world, from Kenya to Nigeria, Morocco, France, Canada and the U.S., highlights from the seventh edition ranged from Julie Mehretu and Jason Moran’s reverberating collaboration, to Zanele Muholi’s citywide exhibition of her powerful portraits, and Barbara Kruger’s dispersal and distribution of her charged text pieces throughout the city. Each commission and project continues Performa’s mission to encourage artists across disciplines to pursue projects in the “live” sphere. Welcoming over 55,000 visitors, the Biennial brought record breaking attendance to Performa, with performances in direct engagement with the public, staging events at prominent destinations such as Times Square, Central Park, Marcus Garvey Park, Harlem Parish, Mother Zion Church, the Coleman skate park in the Lower East Side, and multiple subway stations. Special thanks to partnerships with The Brown Arts Initiative, The Glass House, and the Metropolitan Museum who contributed to bring the Biennial’s commissions to life.
The 2017 Malcolm McLaren award was given to Cape Town artist Kemang Wa Lehulere for his commission I cut my skin to liberate the splinter, where the artist created an original set of sculptures. Made from the wood-tops and metal legs of school desks, they also function as musical instruments for play by a six-person ensemble. Working with theater director Chuma Sopotela, Lehulere and his performers animated each object with movements borrowed from children’s games, bringing to life with symbolic meaning the artist’s examination of South Africa’s violent past.
In selecting the winner for this year’s Malcolm McLaren award, Performa enlisted a diverse jury, including artists, writers, and curators, who have attended performances throughout the biennial to nominate a winner, acknowledging the far-reaching potential of Wa Lehulere’s commission. The Malcom McLaren Award was initiated by curator Mark Beasley, RoseLee Goldberg, and McLaren’s life partner, Young Kim in 2011. The award was designed and created by leading Australian artist Marc Newson. Former recipients include Ragnar Kjartansson (2011), Ryan McNamara (2013), and Edgar Arceneaux (2015).
ABOUT THE MALCOLM MCLAREN AWARD:
In 2009, Performa and McLaren planned to produce a collaborative live performance lecture as a highlight of the Performa 09 biennial, plans sadly cut short by a tragic loss. Young Kim, heir to the estate of Malcolm McLaren, and curator Mark Beasley organized this award to celebrate McLaren’s tremendous spirit and legacy of innovation. The inaugural award for Performa 11 (November 1–21, 2011) was presented by writer Greil Marcus and musician Lou Reed during the Performa Grand Finale at the Bowery Hotel.
Malcolm McLaren (English, b. 1946 London, England; d. Switzerland, 2010) was a visionary of pop culture. An artist in the most post-modern sense of the word, McLaren was always at the forefront of movements. Starting as a young student in London including Goldsmiths Art College and St. Martin’s, he studied drawing and painting before experimenting in radical, politicized artworks inspired by the Internationale Situationniste, the most famous of which was Punk. Throughout his life, McLaren was known and celebrated as legendary shop conceptualist (Let It Rock, Too Fast To Live Too Young to Die, Sex, Seditionaries, World’s End and Nostalgia of Mud), his 12-year design partnership with Vivienne Westwood, pop music group creator and manager (Sex Pistols, Bow Wow Wow), singer/composer (Duck Rock, Fans, Waltz Darling, Paris), lecturer, performer, producer, filmmaker, director, philosopher, politician (running for Mayor of London in 1999) and of course his art films, Shallow 1-21 and Paris, Capital of the XXIst Century – all diverse expressions of his artistic spirit.
ABOUT CARLO MCCORMICK:
Carlo McCormick is a pop culture critic, curator and Senior Editor of Paper magazine. His numerous books, monographs and catalogs include Beautiful Losers: Contemporary Art and Street Culture, The Downtown Book: The New York Art Scene 1974-1984, and Dondi White: Style Master General. His work has appeared in Art in America, Art News, Artforum and many other publications.
Founded in 2004 by art historian and curator RoseLee Goldberg, Performa is the leading organization dedicated to exploring the critical role of live performance in the history of twentieth-century art and encouraging new directions in performance for the twenty-first century. Since launching New York’s first performance biennial, Performa 05, in 2005, the organization has solidified its identity as a commissioning and producing entity. As a “museum without walls,” Performa provides important art historical heft to the field by showing the development of live art in all its forms from many different cultural perspectives reaching back to the Renaissance. The Performa Biennial is celebrated world-wide as the first biennial to give specialized attention to this remarkable history, transforming the city of New York into the ‘world capital of artists’ performance’ every other November. Performa attracts a national and international audience of more than 240,000 and receives more than 5,000,000 website hits during its three-week run. In the last decade, Performa has presented nearly 600 performances, worked with more than 700 artists, and toured commissioned performances in nearly 20 countries around the world.
The Performa curatorial team is led by Founding Director and Chief Curator RoseLee Goldberg, and includes Performa Curators Adrienne Edwards and Charles Aubin, with contributions from Performa Consortium curators. The Performa program is produced by Esa Nickle and Maaike Gouwenberg.
For more on Performa and its programs including the Performa Biennial, please visit http://performa-arts.org/. Join the conversation: @PerformaNYC #Performa17 #PerformaNYC
Major Support provided by the Ford Foundation, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Toby Devan Lewis, The National Endowment for the Arts, and the Performa Commissioning Council.
Sponsored by Volcom, B&O Play, and La Perla.
With support from the Estonian Ministry of Culture, Marian Goodman Gallery, Sprüth Magers, The Broad Arts Foundation, Pace Gallery, Rolex Institute, Fundação Sindika Dokolo, Canada Council for the Arts, David and Elaine Potter Foundation, Robert D. Bielecki Foundation, Gavin Brown's Enterprise, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Fondation Nationale des Arts Graphiques et Plastiques, Ford Foundation - Institute of International Education, FACE (French American Cultural Exchange), Gladstone Gallery, Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Victoria Miro Gallery, Liza Essers - Goodman Gallery, WHATIFTHEWORLD, Institut Français à Paris, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, FUSED (French-US Exchange in Dance), The National Endowment for the Humanities, The Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States, May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation, Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, and Royal Norwegian Consulate General New York. In partnership with Brown Arts Initiative, Times Square Alliance, The Glass House, de Young Museum, The Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance at CalArts, and the Estonian Contemporary Art Development Center.
+1 212 202 3402
For Immediate Release
September 11, 2017
PERFORMA ANNOUNCES A SITE-SPECIFIC COMMISSION OF PUBLIC INTERVENTIONS AND DESIGN BY BARBARA KRUGER FOR PERFORMA 17,
TAKING PLACE NOVEMBER 1–19, 2017, THROUGHOUT NEW YORK CITY
NEW YORK – ¬Performa, the internationally acclaimed organization dedicated to live performance across disciplines, announces a major new commission and design collaboration with Barbara Kruger for Performa 17, the seventh edition of the Performa Biennial, to take place November 1–19, 2017, at locations throughout New York City.
Kruger’s Performa Commission will insert the artist into the urban street culture that has absorbed, appropriated, and applied her provocative attitude and approach through a series of public art actions, performances, and installations. Expanding upon her iconic photo-collages combining text and image, Kruger will employ these signature effects and strategies to broadcast messages that engage issues of and ideas about power, desire, adoration, contempt, and capital. Using her instantly recognizable white-on-red Futura typeface, the project will include an installation for the popular Lower East Side skate park located beneath the Manhattan Bridge, created in partnership with NYC Parks and skate park designer Steve Rodriguez; the design of a billboard on 17th Street and 10th Avenue in Chelsea; and a full wrap of a classic school bus that will serve as a mobile site for community engagement. Additional strategic public interventions will be announced closer to the opening of the biennial. These elements will take on New York City, unfolding throughout the duration of Performa 17 to immerse audiences in powerful messages grounded in activism, feminism, and community while exploring the role and power of mass media.
“For more than four decades, Barbara Kruger has occupied a unique place between high art and popular culture, between histories, disciplines, and generations,” says RoseLee Goldberg, Founding Director and Chief Curator of Performa. “With this commission, Kruger’s intention to make deeply informed work that is accessible and ‘in the world’ meshes seamlessly with Performa’s vision to use live performance as a platform to do both. It’s remarkable that she is as widely known to millennials as she is to the museum and collector worlds. Kruger’s work is ‘forever radical.’”
The visual identity for Performa 17 will be designed by Kruger and adopted across the biennial’s logo, website, social media, and digital and printed marketing materials, created in collaboration with Project Projects. Kruger’s iconic typography captures the intensity of life in the city, the impact of commercial branding on our daily lives, and the necessity of the critically resistant voice of the artist in the public domain. Kruger’s Performa Commission and Biennial visual identity will interact and intertwine to blur the lines between branding, public art, performance, commerce, and appropriation.
Founded in 2004 by art historian and curator RoseLee Goldberg, Performa is the leading organization dedicated to exploring the critical role of live performance in the history of twentieth-century art and to encouraging new directions in performance for the twenty-first century. Since launching New York’s first performance biennial, Performa 05, in 2005, the organization has solidified its identity as a commissioning and producing entity. As a “museum without walls,” Performa contributes important art historical heft to the field by showing the development of live art in all its forms from many different cultural perspectives, reaching back to the Renaissance. Celebrated worldwide as the first biennial to give special attention to this remarkable history, the Performa Biennial transforms the city of New York into the “world capital of artists’ performance” every other November, attracting a national and international audience of more than 200,000 and garnering more than five million website hits during its three-week run. In the last decade, Performa has presented nearly 600 performances, worked with more than 700 artists, and toured commissioned performances in nearly 20 countries around the world.
The Performa curatorial team is led by Chief Curator RoseLee Goldberg, and includes Performa Curators Adrienne Edwards and Charles Aubin, with contributions from Performa Consortium curators. The Performa program is produced by Esa Nickle. Barbara Kruger’s Performa Commission is curated by RoseLee Goldberg and Esa Nickle, Producing Director, with Job Piston, Special Projects Manager, and Sasha Okshteyn, Associate Producer. Support is provided by the Performa Commissioning Fund, Sprueth Magers, and Commissioning Council member Larry Warsh. Special thanks to Eric Goode, The Park Restaurant and the Turtle Conservancy.
For more on Performa and its programs, including the biennial, please visit www.performa-arts.org and follow us on Instagram @PerformaNYC and Facebook @PerformaBiennial. #PerformaNYC #Performa17
ABOUT BARBARA KRUGER
Barbara Kruger (b. 1945, Newark, New Jersey) graduated from Parsons School of Design in New York City in 1966 and began developing her distinguished, well-known style in the late 1970s. Kruger’s early career in graphic design forms the basis of her photograph-and-text-based works, which take advantage of traditional iconography and slogans to make incisive commentary against pervading social stereotypes and consumerist culture.
Kruger has exhibited extensively throughout the United States and Europe. Recent solo exhibitions of her work have been held in institutions such as the Moderna Museet, Stockholm; the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. She has also participated in exhibitions in major institutions such as the Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Kruger has participated in several Whitney Biennials, and her work has been featured in multiple publications. She lives in New York and Los Angeles.
Major support for the biennial is provided by the Ford Foundation, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Toby Devan Lewis, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Performa Commissioning Council. With support from the Estonian Ministry of Culture, the Rolex Institute, Marian Goodman Gallery, Pace Gallery, Sprueth Magers, the David and Elaine Potter Foundation, the Ford Foundation – Institute of International Education, the Robert D. Bielecki Foundation, Fondation Nationale des Arts Graphiques et Plastiques, Institut Français à Paris, the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Goodman Gallery, FUSED (French–US Exchange in Dance), and FACE. In partnership with the Brown Arts Initiative, Lafayette Anticipations – Fondation d’entreprise Galeries Lafayette, and the Estonian Contemporary Art Development Center.
+1 212 202 3402
For Immediate Release
August 30, 2017
PERFORMA SPOTLIGHTS NEW EXPERIMENTAL CROSS-BOUNDARY WORKS BY AFRICAN ARTISTS AND WRITERS WITH
AFROGLOSSIA AND A SOUTH AFRICAN PAVILION WITHOUT WALLS
FOR PERFORMA 17, TAKING PLACE NOVEMBER 1–19, 2017,
THROUGHOUT NEW YORK CITY
FEATURING COMMISSIONS AND PROJECTS BY 15 ARTISTS FROM FIVE COUNTRIES ON THE AFRICAN CONTINENT
NEW YORK – Performa, the internationally acclaimed organization dedicated to live performance across disciplines, announces AFROGLOSSIA and a South African Pavilion Without Walls. Both will feature in Performa 17, the seventh edition of the Performa Biennial, to take place November 1–19, 2017, at locations throughout New York City.
These two platforms expand upon Performa’s long history of commissioning, presenting, and contextualizing new multidisciplinary performance by African artists, since the very first biennial in 2005. Performa Institute programs have also delved into the influence of African aesthetics and their circulation in international art movements in public programs such as “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes” in 2010, which looked at contemporary performance in Africa, as well as conferences on the biennial’s historical anchors, including “Get Ready for the Marvelous 1932-2013” with its focus on Surrealism in 2013, and “Paradiso: Performing the Renaissance” with presentations that explored the African presence in Renaissance Europe in 2015. These investigations sought to understand and document the historical precedence of interdisciplinary art in Africa and to provide a unique lens into the ways contemporary art has developed across the continent and beyond.
“AFROGLOSSIA and the South African Pavilion Without Walls, two programs focused on Africa for the Performa 17 Biennial, explore a broad swathe of work by 15 artists living in or originating from five different African countries,” says RoseLee Goldberg, Founding Director and Chief Curator of Performa, and lead curator of the South African Pavilion Without Walls. “The work of each of these artists is powerful and deeply moving in its highly individualized iconography and fluid use of live media to express complex political, social and aesthetic developments. Whether visual artist, photographer, poet or musician, each artist shows an absolute ease in applying any number of media to express bold ideas. It is this feature that is the connecting thread between the artists and that underlines the idea of art itself in countries where community, ceremony, ritual and politics are communicated through live performance with an intensity of image-making, song, music, dance, spoken word and poetry that all hold equal value as cultural markers in civic life.”
Coined by Performa Curator Adrienne Edwards, AFROGLOSSIA is a neologism that riffs on the term polyglossia, defined as the coexistence of multiple languages in one area. The “afro” prefix references the incredible complexity, heterogeneity and multiplicity that is Africa. The AFROGLOSSIA program for Performa 17 highlights a range of artistic voices and coalesces diverse perspectives from various regions of the African continent into a single program platform, allowing viewers to experience distinct approaches to experimental interdisciplinary art and ideas being put forth by artists from Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Morocco and South Africa. Questions about what is radical, how the conditions of everyday life inform artistic choices, and what constitutes experimentation in cross-boundary performance all emerge as important animating forces in the program’s commissions and projects. Each AFROGLOSSIA commission represents points of convergence where each artist engages a specific set of social, historical, political and economic scenarios and experiences in their own distinct forms. Intermingling fiction, poetry, essays, film, performance, painting, music, video and photography, the program provides a means through which we can contemplate the intersection of radical art and radical politics as articulated by artists from Africa and its diaspora.
“Through my discussions with the artists and my travels in their countries over the past two years—and given the current political climate here in the United States as well as in Africa—it became clear that the power of voice, the resonant ways an individual can speak to the concerns and realities of the collective, was important for this project. The fact that these voices are often challenging, even opaque, obscure and defiant, made them an especially compelling focus, reflective of the artists’ creative lives and values. The vast majority of the artists participating in AFROGLOSSIA were born in the 1970s and came of age in the aftermath of various independence movements. Their experiments with cross-boundary art making and the distinct ethical dimension they bring to their work are natural and logical expressions of their tendency for radical rule-bending,” says Adrienne Edwards, curator of AFROGLOSSIA.
AFROGLOSSIA commissions and projects include:
For her first live performance, the French-Moroccan artist Yto Barrada will present Young Africans. Melding archival research, historical maps, Berber textile manufacturing, film, personal diaries and family photographs, Barrada’s Peforma commission takes as its point of departure her mother’s 1966 visit to the United States under the auspices of Operation Crossroads Africa, during which she became involved with Pan-African revolutionary and socialist movements of the time. Using film, sculpture, song and spoken word, Barrada explores the mythologies and folktales from her mother’s journey in order to contemplate the social, historical and political complexities of her own relationship to her Moroccan identity, which she reveals through deeply personal stories and objects.
Prompted by recent instances of violence against Black African migrants in Morocco, Omar Berrada and M. NourbeSe Philip present an epic-length poem that investigates histories of trans-Saharan encounters using a variety of sources, including administrative documents, travel narratives and musical forms. Over centuries of commercial, spiritual and scholarly exchange, there were times when the Sahara looked more like a bridge than a barrier, a place where cultures met and created new, creolized forms of life. What has happened since? It is a story with a tangled timeline, a tale of silences and unspoken pasts irrupting into the present. Today’s migrants are placing their feet in the forgotten tracks of earlier travelers, tradesmen and the enslaved to reawaken long-forgotten voices. Philip and Berrada, in a polylingual performance accompanied by multi-instrumentalist Amino Belyamani, summon the layered histories and composite identities that make up the dream of a Black Morocco.
Nigerian-born writer, art historian and photographer Teju Cole will present Black Paper, a visceral photographic response to his experiences following the 2016 election. This continuously evolving, large-scale work explores the buried feelings and haunted spaces the artist confronts during mental and physical strolls. The result is a powerful, multipart multimedia performance that interrogates dreams, shadows, legibility and premonition with critical rigor and novelistic intensity.
As part of a Performa Institute residency and experiment, Kwani Trust, a Nairobi-based literary network, will present Everyone is Radicalizing, an experimental subversion of the printed book carried out by the writers and editors of the Kwani Trust. The project includes photography, oral history and film, as well as a series of public programs at the Performa Hub. Everyone is Radicalizing focuses on aspects of radicalization across East Africa with focus on the Kenyan Coast and North Eastern Kenya as nexus of cultures, religions and politics. The project uniquely amplifies the area’s historical and cultural context by taking a broad, exploratory look at phenomena often described in monolithic terms, such as terror, insecurity, violent extremism and radicalization.
For their Performa 17 commission, Ethiopian-born American artist Julie Mehretu and American jazz musician Jason Moran have been collaborating to create an experience that contemplates mourning and abstraction in response to the current political landscape. During this time, Moran has written a score, influenced by New Orleans jazz funeral processions, as a sonic counterpart to Mehretu’s monumental paintings and unique style of mark-making. Mehretu’s works, made in the wake of the recent American election, are frenetic yet contemplative, as her gestures become characters in their collaborative performance.
Kenyan artist Wangechi Mutu returns to Performa through a new commission, Banana Stroke, which builds on a recent shift in her practice towards fermenting, dying, or saturating with dirt the paper materials she uses in her collage paintings, and then deploying them in site-specific action painting. For the Biennial, Mutu uses this dynamic, vibrant approach to realize a live multimedia performance that animates ideas she has long explored in her art, ranging from international political events to the daily uncertainty faced by women in Kenya. Drawing links between New York City, where she is based, and Nairobi, where she has recently opened a new studio, Mutu will present a personal and poetic performance that delves into these two urban centers she calls home.
For her Performa Commission and first major solo presentation at an institution in New York, South African artist Tracey Rose will present The Tracey Rose Show in collaboration with Performa17 and AFROGLOSSIA presents: The Good Ship Jesus vs The Black Star Line hitching a ride with Die Alibama [working title], a multi-part durational performance. For its first part, Rose will create field recordings and video footage of a series of satellite performances carried out and captured around New York City. Immersed in various landscapes throughout the city—from Central Park, to Lower Manhattan, to Times Square—Rose’s collaborators reenact selections of her previous performances, and pay homage to key figures who have influenced her art and this commission, including Vito Acconci, Lorraine O’Grady, and Adrian Piper. The second part explores the idea of battle as an epic journey, referencing the first British slave ship to the Americas, and the shipping line started by Marcus Garvey, founder of the Universal Negro Improvement Association, pointing to the complexity of relations and intricacies of identity between those stolen or sent away from Africa, and those who remained. During the Biennial, Rose’s collaborators will continually develop and rehearse their script while on set, the precision and detail of the content changing, evolving, and sometimes falling apart over time. Each day of the program, rehearsal will culminate with a performance at dusk, the time between light and dark serving as a poetic reference to the subversive binaries at play in the work.
Co-presented with Anthology Film Archives, AFROGLOSSIA’s commissions will be contextualized by a special four-day film program comprising moving image works that influenced the participating artists’ commissions or their overall practice.
South African Pavilion Without Walls
South Africa has long been an area of deep fascination for Performa. Since the first Biennial in 2005, the organization has brought artists and groups such as Bernie Searle, Candice Breitz, Athi-Patra Ruga, Robin Rhode, William Kentridge and Chimurenga to share their singular vision with New York audiences. The South African Pavilion Without Walls at Performa 17 lets the Institute take a deeper look at the country in order to conduct an in-depth investigation into the artistic practices developing in the post-apartheid era, which represents one of the most dynamic and vigorous spaces of artistic practice in a state of constant invention. During the eighties and nineties, artists from different generations simultaneously shifted away from and expanded modes of production that were informed by resistance culture and modern and contemporary western art as they adapted to emerging global changes. For South African artists, art and politics are not separate spheres of practice but complex systems in which they play important cultural and intellectual roles. Performance, in particular, has emerged as a flexible vehicle for these artists living under politically repressed regimes because it is able to speak across the multitude of cultures, languages, tribes, identities, songs and landscapes of South Africa and beyond. Bringing together artists who have developed deeply personal and individual vocabularies in the post-apartheid culture, Performa 17 aims to elucidate the complex strategies and conceptual frameworks defined by the contradiction, disparity, and skepticism generated in the midst and wake of dramatic political shifts, and to reveal their relevance to the global conversation.
Commissions and projects in the South African Pavilion Without Walls include:
Zanele Muholi is a Cape Town-based photographer and “visual activist” best known for her ongoing portrait series Faces and Phases, begun in 2006 and now totaling over 250 black and white portraits depicting LGBT life in South Africa. For her Performa 17 commission, Muholi will create a series of public, interactive installations featuring large-scale photographs, many of which are part of her new archive documenting the faces of friends and communities in her birthplace of Durban. Situated in the streets and public spaces of New York, these forceful black and white portraits of faces will confront viewers in direct yet intimate acts of engagement. During her multipart commission, Muholi will travel across New York’s five boroughs, meeting with LGBT youth of color and other groups, stretching her project beyond the gallery walls and into the very fabric of the city.
For his Performa 17 commission, Kemang Wa Lehulere will present a dynamic sound installation that he and his collaborators have built in a large warehouse studio in Cape Town. Wa Lehulere is known for his poetic drawings, sculptures, and narrative installations featuring wall text, old school desks and chalkboards. This performance continues his artistic exploration of the blurred lines between the individual and the collective in South African life. Wa Lehulere will work with theater director Chuma Sopotela to activate his new sculptures: “machines” that become amplified instruments that can be played by musicians and performers. The sonic performance installation further draws from new artistic research on astronomy, originally sparked by the film “Cosmic Africa” (2003) and the work of African astronomer Thebe Medupe.
Johannesburg-based artist Nicholas Hlobo’s Performa 17 commission expands on an earlier performance installation, umBhovuzo: The Parable of the Sower (2016), an elegant and sensual work involving four men seated atop toweringly high chairs at equally high tables mounted with Singer sewing machines. Representing a cherished “altarpiece” of productivity and potential income in the makeshift squatter homes of apartheid-era townships, as well as the labor and repression symbolized by the American-manufactured sewing machine, the performers sew endless bolts of cotton and raw silk into long tails that pile up on the floor surrounding them. The meditative, durational piece is a striking exploration of domesticity and gender, and of the continuing effects of colonialism on the workforce of South African men and women.
Acclaimed artist William Kentridge will explore Performa 17’s ‘history anchor’ investigating the 100th anniversary of Dada with a new performance based on the seminal sound poem The Ursonate (1922-1932) by Kurt Schwitters, that came to represent the pinnacle of the movement’s experimentation and existentialism. Kentridge’s new lecture performance follows his successful first commission for Performa 09, I Am Not Me, The Horse Is Not Mine (2009), which marked the first personal appearance by the artist in one of his performances. This commission will include a new film made especially for the New York performance, as well as live accompaniment by musicians performing on stage with the artist. The performance will be presented at The Half Church in Harlem.
For Mohau Modisakeng’s Performa project, the Soweto-born artist will lead a procession that will travel through the streets of New York City, stopping at historically significant landmarks along the route throughout Harlem and uptown Manhattan, and ending in Times Square. Engaged in a loosely choreographed dance composed of walking, running, jumping, falling, leaning and sitting, the performers will move through public space carrying their personal possessions, baggage, and furniture, drawing parallels between the historical displacement of South Africans subject to racial segregation and forced removals, and the displacement associated with today’s global mass migrations.
Founded in 2004 by art historian and curator RoseLee Goldberg, Performa is the leading organization dedicated to exploring the critical role of live performance in the history of 20th century art and to encouraging new directions in performance for the 21st century. Since launching New York’s first performance biennial, Performa 05, in 2005, the organization has solidified its identity as a commissioning and producing entity. As a “museum without walls,” Performa contributes important art historical heft to the field by showing the development of live art in all its forms from many different cultural perspectives, reaching back to the Renaissance. The Performa Biennial is celebrated worldwide as the first biennial to give special attention to this remarkable history. The Biennial transforms the city of New York into the “world capital of artists’ performance” every other November, attracting a national and international audience of more than 200,000 and garnering more than five million website hits during its three-week run. In the last decade, Performa has presented nearly 600 performances, worked with more than 700 artists, and toured commissioned performances in nearly 20 countries around the world.
The Performa curatorial team is led by Chief Curator RoseLee Goldberg, and includes Performa curators Adrienne Edwards and Charles Aubin, with contributions from Performa Consortium curators. The Performa program is produced by Esa Nickle.
For more on Performa and its programs, including its Biennial, please visit www.performa-arts.org.
Major Support for the biennial is provided by Ford Foundation, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Toby Devan Lewis, The National Endowment for the Arts, and the Performa Commissioning Council. With support from Estonian Ministry of Culture, Rolex Institute, Marian Goodman Gallery, Pace Gallery, Sprüth Magers, David and Elaine Potter Foundation, Ford Foundation - Institute of International Education, Robert D. Bielecki Foundation, Fondation Nationale des Arts Graphiques et Plastiques, Institut Français à Paris, Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Goodman Gallery and FUSED (French-US Exchange in Dance) and FACE. In partnership with Brown Arts Initiative, Lafayette Anticipation - Fondation d’entreprise Galeries Lafayette, and the Estonian Contemporary Art Development Center.
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For Immediate Release June 7, 2017
PERFORMA ANNOUNCES CIRCULATIONS, PERFORMA 17’S ARCHITECTURE AND PERFORMANCE PROGRAM BIENNIAL TAKING PLACE NOVEMBER 1–19, 2017, THROUGHOUT NEW YORK CITY. PROGRAM TO INCLUDE PROJECTS BY ARCHITECTS AND ARTISTS - INCLUDING FRANÇOIS DALLEGRET, TARIK KISWANSON, EIKO OTAKE, JIMMY ROBERT, BRYONY ROBERTS AND MABEL O. WILSON, AND ALEX SCHWEDER AND WARD SHELLEY
NEW YORK – Performa, the internationally acclaimed organization dedicated to live performance across disciplines, announces Circulations, an ambitious architecture program for Performa 17, the seventh edition of the Performa Biennial, to take place November 1–19, 2017, at locations throughout New York City. Circulations builds upon Performa’s sustained commitment to revealing how performance can be a radical tool to rethink architecture’s uses and aesthetics. It will unfold as a multilayered program comprised of site-specific live performances and architectural experiments in iconic and unexpected architectural venues throughout the city and region, as well as a symposium and a scholarly publication.
“Performance and architecture always go hand in hand. From our daily routines, to the spaces that Performa identifies as frame or backdrop for Performa Commissions, it is the built environment that shapes our behavior and impacts our understanding of space,” says RoseLee Goldberg, Founding Director and Chief Curator of Performa. “Since the late 1970s, when new building commissions were scarce, architects used performance to put their concepts into practice, even before constructing their first buildings. Performa 17 puts a spotlight on this little-known history, while initiating live works that reveal current architectural sensibilities and modes of thinking in new ways.”
Examining one of architecture’s primary concerns—the movement of bodies in space—and entering into present-day political and social debates, Circulations will gather together architects, artists, curators, performers, and theorists to explore the predicaments of contemporary urban life, and to enact possible alternatives in new commissioned live works and collaborative projects. The program will offer an extensive survey of the historical use of performance within architectural practices, while also positioning such performances within a globalized, digitalized world where architecture exceeds the limits of the built environment. The resulting commissions, projects, and scholarship will establish a new critical benchmark for architecture and performance, and reveal the myriad ways that bodies and buildings inform and transform one another.
“New York, with its dense urban fabric and complex history—from its Downtown mystique to its real estate–driven present—is the ideal location for a program like this,” says Charles Aubin, the principal curator of Circulations. “The artists and architects treat the city as a platform for experimentation where human beings and their activities confront the built environment. Performance offers imaginative new ways to examine our preconceived ideas about architecture and reassess its agendas.”
Circulations will bring to life “The Environment-Bubble,” a widely influential blueprint by the Montreal-based architect François Dallegret, for the first time since it was first proposed in 1965. Dallegret’s “Bubble” was envisioned as a flexible, temporary dome, capable of hosting multiple occupants, with a central mainframe containing domestic appliances and new technologies. Initially conceived to enhance Reyner Banham’s thinking in “A Home Is Not a House,” a seminal text on ecological building practices published in Art in America in 1965, the “Bubble” became a reference point for generations of architects seeking radical ways to challenge the division of public and private spaces. For Performa 17, Dallegret will collaborate with Los Angeles–based architect, François Perrin, and Los Angeles-based choreographer, Dimitri Chamblas, to turn the “Bubble” into an active site of physical and intellectual engagement. This itinerant, inflatable structure will roam across New York City, presenting programming that revisits the utopian ambitions of the 1960s and scrutinizes their relevance to the present day. Daily dance workshops, open to the public, will further the project’s aspirations to bring individuals together and shape temporary communities.
A Swedish artist of Palestinian descent, Tarik Kiswanson expands upon his multifaceted upbringing to address hotly debated notions of interwoven identities and cultural hybridization. His Performa Commission takes as its starting point the artist’s early emotional memories and spatial sensations from his Swedish hometown of Halmstad. The artist will transfigure these recollections of childhood into an epic coming-of-age performance by a group of teenage boys, singing a new a cappella composition that ruminates on the turbulent world of migration, displacement, and the meaning of home. Co-commissioned and co-produced with Lafayette Anticipations – Fondation d’entreprise Galeries Lafayette.
Based in New York since 1976, the Japanese-born choreographer and dancer Eiko Otake has spent four and a half decades refining a subtle, choreographic grammar grounded in extreme slowness, shared vulnerability, and a sense of time that is larger than the human life. For Performa 17, the artist will push her body to the limits of dance and insert her singular, ethereal figure within the architecture of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. On three consecutive Sundays during the Biennial, Otake will interrogate the spaces and meanings of all three of The Met’s locations—the encyclopedic museum on Fifth Avenue, the modernist project incarnated in The Met Breuer, and the uncanny reconstruction of a medieval past at The Met Cloisters. Curated by Limor Tomer, General Manager of Live Arts at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
For his Performa Commission, Bucharest-based, French artist Jimmy Robert will inhabit Philip Johnson’s Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut, transforming the modernist icon into a stage for an intimate performance that delves into the intersections of architecture, visibility, and black representation. Drawing on the house’s idiosyncratic features, Robert has devised a score of choreographic phrases, music, and poetry for two performers, who will engage in a subtle game of looking and being looked at. Robert’s layered performance will turn the Glass House into an arena where exposure, representation, and power can be thought anew. Co-commissioned with The Glass House. Co-curated with Cole Akers, Curator of The Glass House.
Marching On is a project by Bryony Roberts and Mabel O. Wilson, architects and professors at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP), in collaboration with the Marching Cobras of New York, a Harlem-based after-school drum line and dance team. The project will explore the crucial role of collective performance in urban African-American neighborhoods. Set in Marcus Garvey Park, Marching On will highlight the significance of marching and organized forms of collective performances as acts of both cultural identity and political resistance. Commissioned by Storefront for Art and Architecture.
For Performa 17, American architects and artists Alex Schweder and Ward Shelley will present The Newcomers, a nomadic architectural installation and durational performance that resonates with contemporary social anxieties. The duo will build and live in a suspended refuge that will evolve and migrate over a weeklong performance. Each day, Schweder and Shelley will work together to disassemble their temporary home, turn its materials into a makeshift bridge, and then reconstitute their raft-like shelter in a new location, where they will spend the night once again. As architects and urbanists face new environmental challenges, Schweder and Shelley propose a nimble form of habitation that challenges the discipline to think beyond permanence.
PUBLICATION AND PERFORMA INSTITUTE
Performa 17 will launch a groundbreaking publication focusing on works by architects who challenge the limits of their discipline by incorporating actions, happenings, and staged situations into their practice. A companion to the biennial’s curatorial initiative, this new publication will compile historical and contemporary examples of architects and collectives working with performance, among them Coop Himmelb(l)au, OMA/AMO, Ricardo Bofill, Diller + Scofidio, Francis Kéré, and Andrés Jaque/Office for Political Innovation. The publication will shed light on how performance has underscored the relationship of the built environment to questions of labor, security, race, migration, mobility, environment, gentrification, and modes of public assembly. Co-edited by Charles Aubin, Performa curator, and Carlos Mínguez Carrasco, Associate Curator at New York’s Storefront for Art and Architecture and 2016 Oslo Architecture Triennale Chief Curator with the After Belonging Agency.
Alongside this publication, Performa 17 will complete the Circulations program with a symposium presented by the Performa Institute on November 11, 2017, which will examine how performance can serve to challenge and question our understanding of buildings and cities. Gathering together international and American architects, artists, and scholars, the symposium will present visitors with a spirited, fast-paced series of talks, screenings, readings, and panel discussions. In line with Performa’s previous public programs, this unorthodox symposium will permit speakers and audience members to circulate freely in a specially designed Performa Hub, commissioned by Performa from the Berlin-based architect Markus Miessen for this edition.
Founded in 2004 by art historian and curator RoseLee Goldberg, Performa is the leading organization dedicated to exploring the critical role of live performance in the history of twentieth-century art and encouraging new directions in performance for the twenty-first century. Since launching New York’s first performance biennial, Performa 05, in 2005, the organization has solidified its identity as a commissioning and producing entity. As a “museum without walls,” Performa provides important art historical heft to the field by showing the development of live art in all its forms from many different cultural perspectives reaching back to the Renaissance. The Performa Biennial is celebrated worldwide as the first biennial to give specialized attention to this remarkable history, transforming the city of New York into the “world capital of artists’ performance” every other November. Performa attracts a national and international audience of more than 200,000 and more than five million website hits during its three-week run. In the last decade, Performa has presented nearly 600 performances, worked with more than 700 artists, and toured commissioned performances in nearly 20 countries around the world.
The Performa curatorial team is led by Chief Curator RoseLee Goldberg, and includes Performa curators Adrienne Edwards and Charles Aubin, with contributions from Performa Consortium curators. The Performa program is produced by Esa Nickle.
For more on Performa and its programs, including its Biennial, please visit www.performa-arts.org.
The Performa Commissioning Fund for Performa 17 is supported by grants from Toby Devan Lewis and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and by the members of the Performa Commissioning Council. Additional program support for the Biennial is provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Ford Foundation/Institute of International Education, Lambent Foundation, David and Elaine Potter Foundation, Arison Arts Foundation, Estonian Ministry of Culture, Estonian Contemporary Art Development Center, Lafayette Anticipations – Fondation d’entreprise Galeries Lafayette, Institut Français à Paris, and FUSED (French–US Exchange in Dance). Marching On by Bryony Roberts and Mabel O. Wilson is supported by a grant from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.
+1 212 202 3402
For Immediate Release March 7, 2017
PERFORMA ANNOUNCES DETAILS FOR PERFORMA 17
NOVEMBER 1–19, 2017
THROUGHOUT NEW YORK CITY
PERFORMA ANNOUNCES FIRST COMMISSIONS TO INCLUDE PERFORMANCES BY
YTO BARRADA, WILLIAM KENTRIDGE, JULIE MEHRETU AND JASON MORAN,
ZANELE MUHOLI, WANGECHI MUTU, AND MORE
BIENNIAL INVESTIGATES DADA AS HISTORICAL ANCHOR
NEW YORK – Performa, the internationally acclaimed organization dedicated to live performance across
disciplines, announces select commissions and the historical anchor for Performa 17—the seventh
edition of the Performa Biennial, to take place November 1–19, 2017, at locations throughout New York
Since its inception, Performa has been a leader in commissioning artists whose work has collectively
shaped a new chapter in the multi-century legacy of visual artists working in live performance. Founded
by art historian and curator RoseLee Goldberg, the organization is dedicated to exploring the critical role
of live performance in the history of twentieth-century art, as well as its enormous significance in the
international world of contemporary art.
Performa 17’s team of curators and producers will present commissions and projects around curatorial
research themes focused on a cross cultural dialogue between Africa and the West, the legacy of Dada,
and the intersection of architecture and performance, that represent timely opportunities to work with a
diverse range of global contemporary artists. The resulting commissions and scholarship examine
immediate and critical concerns confronting our urban centers, the shifting political and cultural currents
of our turbulent world today, and ultimately the role of the arts and of artists in supporting afflicted
communities. This edition of the Biennial will focus on the sociopolitical context informing contemporary
art today, and how best to engage audiences in significantly understanding and absorbing its aesthetics
and intrinsic values. Additional commissions, projects and details will be announced in the coming
“Performa provides an extraordinary platform for showing the important role of art in society. Through live
performance we touch people directly, change their minds, and introduce them viscerally to the
complicated emotional and aesthetic expressions of artists responding to the world that we inhabit,” says
RoseLee Goldberg, Founding Director and Chief Curator. “For the past 18 months, we have
examined how artists in several cities on the African continent—Johannesburg, Nairobi, Dakar—consider
performance as an extension of their creativity in multiple disciplines—music, dance, film, image
making—and how each artist takes us into distinct histories and sensibilities. Along with artists from
Guadeloupe, New York to Paris, we are excited to announce the first commissions emerging from this
PERFORMA 17 COMMISSIONS INCLUDE:
YTO BARRADA (Morocco/France)
WILLIAM KENTRIDGE (South Africa)
TARIK KISWANSON (Sweden/Palestine)
KEMANG WA LEHULERE (South Africa)
JULIE MEHRETU (Ethiopia) and JASON MORAN (USA)
ZANELE MUHOLI (South Africa)
WANGECHI MUTU (Kenya)
KELLY NIPPER (USA)
JIMMY ROBERT (France)
TRACEY ROSE (South Africa)
PERFORMA 17 HISTORICAL ANCHOR: “100 DEGREES ABOVE DADA”
For each Biennial, the Performa team selects a historical movement to anchor the artists, curators, and
Performa Consortium’s research in the rich history of artists’ performance from around the world. For
Performa 17, the historical research investigation is Dada, which Goldberg regards as the “Big Bang” of
interdisciplinary twentieth-century art. The Dada movement began in 1916 with the founding of Emmy
Hennings and Hugo Ball’s Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich, fueled by a desire to devise new ways of making art
in the midst of a ferocious World War, and to bring together the community of artists, poets, musicians,
filmmakers, and dancers residing in close proximity in neutral Switzerland until its end. The movement
attracted and influenced Europe’s avant-garde, including artists Jean Arp, Marcel Duchamp, Hannah
Höch, Richard Huelsenbeck, Francis Picabia, Kurt Schwitters, Sophie Taeuber, and Tristan Tzara. Live
performance, in particular, served as a prime vehicle for spreading the concepts and belief systems of
this small band of conscientious objectors under the fraught and unstable sociopolitical conditions of this
period. During this time, artists moved with ease between disciplines, driven by an insistence on activism,
art events, and performance.
The title “100 Degrees Above Dada” is inspired by French Nouveau Réalisme critic Pierre Restany’s 1961
exhibition, 40° au-dessus de Dada (40 Degrees Above Dada), which aimed to reexamine Dada beyond
its nihilistic origins, and reflect on its language and poetry amid a new Modern context. With Performa 17,
the Biennial similarly seeks to question how artists, curators, and writers are approaching Dada 101 years
after the movement began, and how it continues to reverberate in our cultural landscape. Several
commissioned artists will work closely with Performa’s curators to develop performances that will
reinvestigate the defining ideas and concepts of Dada from new contemporary perspectives.
PERFORMA COMMISSIONING COUNCIL
Performa announces the launch of the Performa Commissioning Council to provide direct support for
artists as they move through the creative development process of each new Performa
commission. The Commissioning Council will work similarly to a museum acquisition committee, providing
an exclusive group of patrons the opportunity to not only invest in a work of art but also gain intimate
access to the artist and their creative process. Looking ahead to the upcoming Performa 17 Biennial in
November, this initiative encourages a personal relationship with Performa’s curators and artists aligned
with the organization’s key mission of commissioning new performance projects in visual arts.
Performa’s commissioning process has been the hallmark of the organization since Shirin Neshat’s first
live performance, Logic of the Birds (2001), originated and produced by RoseLee Goldberg. Performa has
produced some of the most memorable and critically acclaimed performance pieces in the medium’s
history, by artists including Robin Rhode (2015), Ragnar Kjartansson (2011), Mike Kelley (2009), Isaac
Julien (2007), Yvonne Rainer (2007), and Francis Alÿs (2005). Working closely with Performa’s curators
and producers, artists are challenged to develop live performances, often for the first time. These seminal
experiences gained along the Performa Commission process have often continued to impact their artistic
trajectory to incorporate multi-disciplinary elements into their practice. Dedicated to commissioning artists
from all mediums and backgrounds, the Performa Commissioning Council will support this core initiative
to present performance art to audiences around the world.
Founded in 2004 by art historian and curator RoseLee Goldberg, Performa is the leading organization
dedicated to exploring the critical role of live performance in the history of twentieth-century art and
encouraging new directions in performance for the twenty-first century. Since launching New York’s first
performance Biennial, Performa 05, in 2005, the organization has solidified its identity as a
commissioning and producing entity. As a “museum without walls,” Performa provides important art
historical heft to the field by showing the development of live art in all its forms from many different
cultural perspectives reaching back to the Renaissance. The Performa Biennial is celebrated worldwide
as the first biennial to give specialized attention to this remarkable history, transforming the city of New
York into the “world capital of artists’ performance” every other November. Performa attracts a national
and international audience of more than 200,000 and more than five million website hits during its threeweek
run. In the last decade, Performa has presented nearly 600 performances, worked with more than
700 artists, and toured commissioned performances in nearly 20 countries around the world.
The Performa curatorial team is led by Chief Curator RoseLee Goldberg and includes Performa Curators
Adrienne Edwards and Charles Aubin, with contributions from Curators at Large Defne Ayas and Mark
Beasley as well as Performa Consortium curators. The Performa program is produced by Esa Nickle.
For more on Performa and its programs, including the Performa Biennial, please visit http://performaarts.
Toby Devan Lewis, Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Institut Français à Paris and FUSED,
French-US Exchange in Dance.
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November 19, 2016—November 22, 2016
at Mana Contemporary
Artistic directors and curators Mafalda Millies and Roya Sachs have joined forces to present Virtually There, a performance inspired by Oskar Schlemmer’s Triadic Ballet (1922), hosted by Performa Visionaries at Mana Contemporary in Jersey City. With choreography by iconic “punk ballerina” Karole Armitage; costumes by the renowned Brazilian designers the Campana Brothers; staging by Whitney Biennial artists Kate Gilmore and Heather Rowe; music by underground French composer Charles Derenne; and creative production by technology innovators MATTE Projects.
Opening Night is co-hosted by the Performa Visionaries, with proceeds to benefit Performa.
Book tickets here
The live streaming of Performa alum Luciano Chessa's Opera, Extremist Banquet at the Castle by the Lake, will start on September 22, 2016 at 5am, as part of the festival TRANSART16 in Bolzano, Italy, where Chessa previously conducted Performa's commission The Orchestra of Futurist Noise Intoners in 2010.
A unique chance to acquire museum quality pieces by some of Performa's most revered alumni artists including Kelly Nipper, Derrick Adams or Pauline Curnier Jardin among others.
All works are now available on Artspace
Sept 8, 9 & 10, 2016 at 7pm
18 Wooster Street
RSVP to email@example.com
Inspired by his commission for Performa13 hosted by the Swiss Institute on Wooster Street in 2013, Jeffrey Deitch invites Eddie Peake to present HEAD, a new work that builds on a series of performances created over the past few years for numerous galleries and spaces, including Tate Modern, London (2012), Chisenhale Gallery, London (2012) and Performa, New York (2013). Articulating the complex strains of intimacy that develop between people, Eddie Peake has developed a gallery-based performance in which the relationships between an ensemble are made palpable through a series of choreographed gestures and interactions.
GAVIN JANTJES AND NANDIPHA MNTAMBO IN CONVERSATION.
Co-presented by the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU and Performa Institute
Thursday, September 15, 2016, 6:00 - 7:30p.m.
at The Institute of Fine Arts at New York University
1 E 78th Street
New York, NY 10075
Free with RSVP
Performa Curator Adrienne Edwards premieres her exhibition "Blackness in Abstraction." This show traces the presence of the color black in art, with a particular emphasis on monochromes, from the 1940s to today.
at PACE Gallery, 534 W 25th St, New York, until Aug 19, 2016
Read an interview with Adrienne Edwards here