Jesper Just, True Love is Yet to Come, 2005, Photo Paula Court
Lauren Nakadate and James Franco, 2011, Photo Paula Court
Ragnar Kjartansson, Bliss, 2011. Photo Paula Court
Shirin Neshat, Overruled, 2011. Photo Paula Court
Mika Rottenberg and Jon Kessler, Seven, 2011. Photo Paula Court
Francis Alys, Rehearsal II, 2005, Photo Paula Court.
Galia Eibenschutz in Carlos Amorales’s Spider Galaxy, 2007. Photo copyright Paula Court. Courtesy of Performa and La Fundación/Colección Jumex.
Isaac Julien and Russell Maliphant, Cast No Shadow, 2007. Photo by Johan Persson. Courtesy of Performa and Sadler’s Wells.
Kelly Nipper, Floyd on the Floor, 2007. Photo copyright Paula Court. Courtesy of Performa and the Savannah College of Art & Design.
Anita Ekbert, Cate Blanchett, and Dianne Weist performing in Francesco Vezzoli’s Right You Are (If You Think You Are), 2007. Photo copyright Paula Court. Courtesy of Performa, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and Gagosian Gallery.
Iona Rozeal Brown, battleofyestermorrow, a Performa Commission for Performa 11, Photo Paula Court.
Mike Kelley, Extracurricular Activity Projective Reconstruction #32, Plus, a Performa Commission for Performa 09.
Omer Fast, Talk Show, A Performa Commission for Performa 09, Photo Paula Court


Paweł Althamer, Biba Performa, A Performa Commission for Performa 13. Photograph © Paula Court.


Performa Commissions invited artists- many of whom had not worked ‘live’ before- to create new work especially for Performa.  At the core of Performa’s mission, and a central feature of its biennials, is the creation of new work by contemporary artists at various stages in their careers.  Throughout this critically acclaimed Performa Commissions program, artists receive substantial financial awards and unique production support to realize powerful, intellectually reflective, and artistically innovative works of live performance. 

The Commissions Program welcomes both artists who already use live elements in their work and those who are experimenting with performance for the first time.  Artists are encouraged to expand their artistic vision through the use of live performance, resulting in truly original productions.  Receiving a Performa Commission gives artists the rare opportunity to create new work without the confines of a predetermined venue or budget.  Acting as a commissioning agency as well as a production company, Performa provides a support system for its artists, from initial proposal through opening night and touring, that far surpasses the customary assistance given by its nonprofit counterparts and those of the commercial sector alike.  As producers, Performa has developed a flexible and responsive production process allowing for exceptional variety in scope and scale to premiere the final work in the context of a world- class biennial.

Performa 17 Commissions

Yto Barrada
William Kentridge
Tarik Kiswanson
Kemang Wa Lehulere
Julie Mehretu and Jason Moran
Zanele Muholi
Wangechi Mutu
Kelly Nipper
Jimmy Robert
Tracey Rose

Past Biennial Commissions

Performa 15 Commissions

Edgar Arceneaux
Jérôme Bel
Ryan Gander
Pauline Curnier Jardin
Agatha Gothe-Snape
Juliana Huxtable
Jesper Just and FOS
Wyatt Khan
Laura Lima
Oscar Murillo
Robin Rhode
Erika Vogt
Zheng Mahler
Francesco Vezzoli and David Hallberg

Performa 13 Commissions

Paweł Althamer
Rosa Barba
Subodh Gupta
Florian Hecker
Rashid Johnson
Shana Lutker
Ryan McNamara
Raqs Media Collective
Eddie Peake
Alexandre Singh
Marianne Vitale
Tori Wrånes

Performa 11 Commisions

Tarek Atoui
iona rozeal brown
Gerard Byrne
Elmgreen & Dragset
Simon Fujiwara
Ragnar Kjartansson
Guy Maddin
Liz Magic Laser
Laurel Nakadate & James Franco
Shirin Neshat
Mika Rottenberg & Jon Kessler
Frances Stark
Ming Wong

Performa 09 Commisions

Guy Ben Ner
Candice Breitz
Tacita Dean
Omer Fast
Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster & Ari Benjamin Meyers
Yeondoo Jung
Mike Kelley
Arto Lindsay
Christian Tomaszewski & Joanna Malinowska

Performa 07 Commisions

Carlos Amorales
Sanford Biggers
Nathalie Djurberg
Christian Jankowski
Isaac Julien & Russel Maliphant
Daria Martin
Wangechi Mutu
Kelley Nipper
Adam Pendleton
Yvonne Rainer
Francesco Vezzoli

Performa 05 Commisions

Francis Alys
Jesper Just
Laurie Simmons