As Performa continues to extend its programming presence beyond the biennial, it also co-commissions and tours select projects with a broader network of national and international festivals, museums, biennials, and performance spaces, extending the life of projects by showcasing them to audiences outside of NYC. This is an important cultural exchange initiative that circulates some of the most exciting new live works, while simultaneously raising the profile of the artists and leveraging the organizational resources committed by all commissioning partners.
Since 2006, Performa has toured more than 70 presentations of Performa projects to venues around the world, including the Garage Center for Contemporary Art in Moscow, Russia; the Transart Festival in Bolzano, Italy; Tramway in Glasgow, Scotland; The Museum of Contemporary Art in Santiago, Chile; the Shanghai Biennial in Shanghai, China; the Bergen International Festival in Norway; the Sharjah Art Foundation in the United Arab Emirates; and the Spier Contemporary in Cape Town, South Africa, among others.
The Orchestra of Futurist Noise Intoners
A Performa commission, directed by Luciano Chessa
These eccentric hurdy-gurdy instruments first created in 1913 still sounded musically radical after all these years.
Roberta Smith for The New York Times
Call 212 366 5700 for tour booking and more information.
Click here to download an information pack about the Orchestra.
The Orchestra of Futurist Noise Intoners (OFNI) is the only complete replica of futurist composer/sound artist Luigi Russolo’s legendary intonarumori orchestra. OFNI tours worldwide, presenting concerts that feature historical and new works commissioned from an all-star cast of experimental composers, some performing live alongside this orchestra of raucous mechanical synthesizers.
OFNI composers include Sonic Youth’s founding guitarist Lee Ranaldo, seminal composer/vocalist Joan La Barbara, Einstürzende Neubauten frontman and Nick Cave collaborator Blixa Bargeld, avant-garde saxophonist John Butcher, Deep Listening pioneer Pauline Oliveros, Faith No More and Mr. Bungle vocalist Mike Patton, avant-garde musician Elliott Sharp, and composer/vocalist Jennifer Walshe collaborating with late composer and film/video artist Tony Conrad, among others.
“Today, noise triumphs and reigns supreme over the sensibility of men,” Russolo wrote in “The Art of Noises,” a Futurist manifesto of 1913. Luigi Russolo (1885–1947)—painter, composer, builder of musical instruments, and a member of the Italian futurist movement from its inception, represents a crucial moment in the evolution of twentieth-century musical aesthetics. His Intonarumori (“noise intoners”) were a set of wooden sound boxes each with cone-shaped metal speaker on its front, where sound was generated by turning a crank, while tone and pitch were controlled with a lever—the sound of the nascent machine age brought to life. The instruments were first presented on August 11, 1913, in a press concert at Milan’s Casa Rossa, headquarters of the Futurist Movement. Lost by the early 1940s, the first reproduction of Russolo’s earliest Intonarumori orchestra—a set of 16 noise intoners—was completed in 2009 by composer/musicologist Luciano Chessa. Chessa, whose monograph “Luigi Russolo, Futurist: Noise, Visual Arts and the Occult” is the first to be dedicated to Russolo and his art of noises, is touring with the Intonarumori through major international festivals and venues including San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, New York City’s Town Hall, Singapore, Transart Festival, and Art Basel Miami Beach.
Selected past performances:
April 13, 2017, Teatro Maria Matos, Lisbon, Portugal
February 12, 2015, ArtScience Museum of Singapore
January 16, 2015 at Cleveland Museum of Art
March 20, 2011 at Berliner Festspiele Maerzmusik Festival
December 1, 2011 at New World Symphony Center, Art Basel | Miami Beach
The Concept of Dust: Continuous Project-Altered Annually
Co-commissioned by Performa and The Getty.
Watch a video of the performance at MoMA, June 2015 here
The Concept of Dust: Continuous Project – Altered Annually is an ongoing work-in-progress that interweaves formal dance with diverse texts dealing with aging, mortality, personal histories, and material quoted from a variety of sources, e.g., ancient Mideast dynasties (Metropolitan Museum), paleontological findings (New York Times), and literature. These are intermittently read aloud by Rainer and the dancers. The power of language as a trajectory that runs parallel to the music (Gavin Bryars, Giovanni Paisiello) continues to be an important coordinate in Rainer's work. All three elements – movement, music, and texts – occasionally merge to produce a somewhat melancholic ambiance. The performers in "Dust" have been given the freedom to initiate and/or abort the movement phrases as they wish, making spontaneous decisions and exercising options throughout the 50-minute duration of the piece. The result is a structure that is seemingly random with unpredictable moments of unison, humor, and startling convergences
Quoted texts (in indeterminate order): Barack Obama, Maureen McLane, Harold Brodkey, Jean Luc Godard, Fredric Jameson, Alex Ross, Louise Bourgeois, Yvonne Rainer, D.H. Lawrence, wall inscriptions in the Islamic Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Daniel Zalewski, Christa Wolf, Amiri Baracka, Donald Trump, et al.
A founding member of New York’s pioneering Judson Dance Theater, Rainer is widely regarded as a foundational figure of American art and avant-garde dance since the 1960s. Her boundary-breaking choreography, such as Trio A from The Mind Is a Muscle (1966–68), has been performed in numerous forms and settings by both dancers and non-dancers. By the late 1960s, Rainer developed a form known as “performance demonstrations” or “composites,” which combine fragments of choreography with spoken monologues, projections, films, and sounds. In the 1970s, she turned her attention fully to filmmaking, directing Lives of Performers (1972), Journeys from Berlin/1971 (1980), and Privilege (1990). In 2000, Rainer returned to dance and choreography.
Yvonne Rainer discusses her work here
Yvonne Rainer made a transition to filmmaking following a fifteen-year career as a choreographer/dancer (1960-1975). After making seven experimental feature films — “Lives of Performers” (1972) and “MURDER and murder” (1996), among others — she returned to dance in 2000 via a commission from the Baryshnikov Dance Foundation (“After Many a Summer Dies the Swan”). Since then she has made six dances, including “AG Indexical, with a little help from H.M.” and “Assisted Living: Do you have any money?” Retrospective exhibitions of her work have been presented at Kunsthaus Bregenz and Museum Ludwig, Cologne (2012), the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, and Raven Row, London (2014). A memoir — “Feelings Are Facts: a Life” — was published by MIT Press in 2006. A selection of her poetry was published in 2011 by Paul Chan’s Badlands Unlimited.
In 2007, Performa commissioned ROS Indexical for Performa 07, and started working closely with Yvonne Rainer.
Yvonne Rainer is managed by Performa.
Call 212 366 5700 for tour booking and more information.
RAY JOHNSON, “Please Add To and Return To”
Presented by Performa, in collaboration with the Estate of Ray Johnson
“Please Add To and Return To" is a mail art activation celebrating the life and work of artist Ray Johnson (1927-1995). Johnson’s body of work spans many media, and he is well known for his intricate and complex collages. Johnson, known to many as the father of the mail art movement, distributed “templates” of his original drawings via USPS with the instructions “Please Add To and Return To Ray Johnson” or send to someone else entirely. Upon receiving works back, Johnson would typically either photocopy and recirculate the altered versions or add them to his archive.
As a special homage to Johnson in the year of the 20th anniversary of his passing, we are asking for your collaboration in disseminating and responding to the artist’s mail art “templates” which will be placed back into circulation. This is a call to action for the next generation of Johnson admirers as well as a point of entry for the rest of the public. Performa asks all participants to simply “Please Add To and Return To” (via USPS or though social media, using the hashtag #PleaseAddTo) – in celebration of the life of "one of the most revered underground artists of the last half of the 20th century,” as described by The New York Times. Please view the Ray Johnson templates below and join us in responding to his work by adding, collaging, drawing, etc., on to the original mailing and sending it on or back to Performa after doing so. Your response will ultimately be posted on the Ray Johnson Estate's website and added to the Ray Johnson Archive.
Ray Johnson was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1927. After attending Black Mountain College, Johnson moved to New York City in 1949 with fellow Black Mountain associates Richard Lippold and John Cage, as well as the avant-garde musician Morton Feldman. In 1968, Johnson moved to Long Island, New York, where he lived and worked in increasing isolation. An influence on and friend of key art figures including Andy Warhol, Chuck Close, Jim Rosenquist and Jasper Johns, Johnson is associated with several art movements and groups, such as Pop Art, Conceptual Art, and Fluxus. Johnson continued to produce work until his suicide in 1995, an act that many consider to be his final performance. His work has been the subject of exhibitions at The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Kunstverein Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; National Museum of Contemporary Art, Oslo; CCS Bard, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, among others, and is included in renowned private and public collections internationally. The Ray Johnson Estate is represented exclusively by Richard L. Feigen & Co.
Ray Johnson template - Silhouette
Ray Johnson template - Starn Twins
Ray Johnson template - Andy Warhol's Hand
Ray Johnson template - Add Hair to Cher
Ray Johnson template - Andy Warhol Head
Please view the june issue of Miami Rail to see - and add to - one of Ray Johnson's mail art templates.
Curated by RoseLee Goldberg
Produced by Independent Curators International (ICI) and Performa
In her groundbreaking book Performance Art: From Futurism To The Present (1979), art historian and curator RoseLee Goldberg showed that performance is central to the history of 20th century art. In 2005 she launched Performa 05, the first biennial of visual art performance, and predicted that performance would become “the medium of the 21st century.” Indeed, its time has come.
The exhibition Performance Now is made up of objects, ephemera, sound and video, including material from a number of key Performa commissions, and works originating from around the world including South Africa, China, Eastern Europe, the Americas and the Middle East. Each venue has the option to additionally work with Performa to develop a performance program to coincide with their presentations
Museums around the world are establishing performance art departments, including most recently New York’s Museum of Modern Art, and several museums currently being built will include dedicated performance spaces. Moreover, following Performa’s lead, biennials worldwide are making performance integral to their programs. Performance Now is an exhibition that shows how performance has come to be at the center of the discussion on the latest developments in contemporary art and culture. The first decade of the 21st century has seen the emergence of a true globalism in the art world, with an ever-expanding map of knowledge and an understanding of cultural developments around the world. Full immersion in historical, political and religious subtexts of a broad range of cultures is now demanded of artists, curators and audiences. Additionally there has been an increased focus on the complexities of displaying, collecting, preserving and explaining conceptual material that had so profoundly shaped artistic developments in the final decades of the twentieth century, yet which, paradoxically, was ephemeral and almost invisible. At the same time contemporary performance is activating the museum, drawing new and young audiences to these institutions.
Marina Abramović, Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla, Jérôme Bel, Spartacus Chetwynd, Nikhil Chopra, Omer Fast, Christian Jankowski, Jesper Just, William Kentridge, Ragnar Kjartansson, Liz Magic Laser, Kalup Linzy, Daria Martin, Kelly Nipper, Clifford Owens, Laurie Simmons, and Ryan Trecartin
December 6, 2014 – March 1, 2015 at Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia
October 4 – October 26, 2014 at Kraków Theatrical Reminiscenes
July 12 – September 21, 2014 at Delaware Art Museum
February 7 – April 20, 2014 at Middlebury College Museum of Art
November 21, 2013 – January 19, 2014 at The Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center (Russia)
August 16 – October 12, 2013 at H&R Block Artspace, Kansas City Art Institute
September 7 – December 9, 2012 at Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery, Wesleyan University (Middletown, CT)
33 Fragments of Russian Performance
Performa and Garage Center for Contemporary Culture present a major new collaborative project entitled 33 Fragments of Russian Performance as part of Performa 11, on view November 2–21, 2011. The exhibition includes performance archives, photographs, and videos documenting Russian performance in both the historical avant-garde of the 1920s and contemporary periods. Presented at the Performa Hub and curated by Garage curator Yulia Aksenova in collaboration with RoseLee Goldberg, the exhibition also originally included a lecture by renowned Russian art critic Alexandra Obukhova and a performance by Andrey Kuzkin.
33 Fragments explores the rich tradition of performance in Russia and its development during the 20th and 21st centuries. Performance art, or ‘live’ art, emerged strongly in the Russian art scene of the 1960s, although performance was popular in the projects of the avant-garde at the beginning of the 20th century. The avant-garde artists of the 1920s were pioneers who created entirely new means for articulating ideas to reach the mass public emancipated by the revolution. Using experimental techniques and mixing genres, they sought to release their works from the constraints of traditional, established artistic media, focusing instead on their bodies within time and space.
100 Years (Version #1, MoMA PS1, November 2009) is a precursory, groundbreaking work-in-progress that intends to cover a hundred years of important happenings, actions, moments, and gestures from 1909 – the date of the publication of the first Futurist Manifesto – to 2009. Gathering a unique selection of films, documents and installations, the exhibition will bring a long-awaited comprehensive vision on a history that is still largely unknown. Organized by MoMA PS1 and Performa and based on an ongoing process of discussions between both institutions, the first version took over the whole third floor of PS1 during Performa 09, before touring through various venues under different forms. This time-based aspect echoes the definition of performance while allowing a much diverse lecture of its history by responding to the local contexts. In New York, the exhibition was the necessary historical counterpoint to the exciting program of new visual arts performance that took place during Performa 09.
Learn more about the history of performance art in the Performa publications and catalogues. See currently available titles.