Friday, April 24, 1:00–5:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 25, 1:00–5:30 p.m.

NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development

Einstein Auditorium
Barney Building
34 Stuyvesant Street
New York NY10003

A groundbreaking conference historically situating the vibrant experimentation and interdisciplinarity that characterizes contemporary artists performance today in the Renaissance

Presented by the Performa Institute And NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development

Free admission - reserve your ticket here
Seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Performa is pleased to announce Paradiso: Performing the Renaissance, a groundbreaking conference historically situating and addressing the vibrant experimentation and interdisciplinarity that characterizes contemporary artists performance.
The conference extends Performa’s curatorial research platform to include “the Renaissance,” an extraordinary historical precedent to today’s performance art practices, when artists, architects, and scientists worked across genres, creating live events that significantly contributed to civic and cultural life.

As with previous Performa biennials, which each use a singular historical period (Italian Futurism in 2009, Russian Constructivism in 2011, and Surrealism in 2013) to address the importance of live performance in shaping the art and ideas of twentieth century art, the “Renaissance” will serve as the main historical anchor for the upcoming Performa 15 biennial. Our investigation into this period has included a series of seminars, readings, and scholarly meetings with artists and academics throughout the year, and culminates in Paradiso: Performing the Renaissance, the Performa Institute’s capstone event with presentations by a select group of world-renowned specialists whose interests straddle both the Renaissance and its relevance for contemporary art and culture today.

Participants include Pauline Curnier Jardin, artist, David Hallberg, Principal Dancer, Bolshoi Ballet and American Ballet Theater; Zach Layton, musician, curator, and PhD candidate at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; Kate Lowe, Professor of Renaissance History and Culture and Co-director of the Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies, Queen Mary, University of London; Alexander Nagel, Deputy Director for Academic Affairs, Director of Graduate Studies, and Professor of Fine Arts, New York University; Shahzia Sikander, artist; Pamela Smith, Seth Low Professor of History and 
Director of the Center for Science and Society, Columbia University; Claire Tancons, independent curator; Rebecca Zorach, Professor of Art History, Romance Languages, and Literatures, The College Director of Graduate Studies, Art History, and Senior Chair, Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts, University of Chicago; and Our Literal Speed, a text-and-art and media opera collective. Daily conference schedule to follow. 

Tracing the correlations between contemporary art and the Renaissance, we traverse a medley of themes that allow for new understandings of this pivotal historical cultural movement and our own time, including public spectacles such a processions, parades, and pageants and the artist’s role as creator and director of these events; the African presence in Renaissance Europe; performance in the course of history as an open-ended medium realized by artists unconcerned with the limitations of more established art forms and interested in creating a presence for their works in important social contexts; the profound cultural, economic, and artistic interactions and exchanges between Western and non-Western cultures during the Renaissance; explorations of the body during the Renaissance and its relation to art and performance; the “theater of nature”; unexpected similarities between polyrhythmic musical styles in the 14th and 20th centuries; and propositions for new methods of teaching Renaissance art history that are responsive to the ways artists create today.

Click here for the conference schedule

The Performa Institute programs are supported by the Lambent Foundation, Toby Devan Lewis, Ford Foundation, David and Elaine Potter Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, and New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, with additional support from NYU Steinhardt Department of Art and Art Professions.