Paradiso, Performa’s Renaissance-Inspired Conference

Mike Kelley, Extracurricular Activity Projective Reconstruction #32, Plus, a Performa Commission for 2009.Photo via

Mike Kelley, Extracurricular Activity Projective Reconstruction #32, Plus, a Performa Commission for 2009.
Photo via

This weekend, New York’s Performa Institute, an offshoot of the popular Performa performance art biennial, will host Paradiso: Performing the Renaissance, a free conference held at the NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.

The conference explores contemporary performance practice, providing a historical context for artists’ willingness to experiment and create multidisciplinary work by examining it through the lens of the Italian Renaissance, a period when artists often transcended genres, doubling as architects and scientists. (See Bill Gates’s Rare Leonardo da Vinci Notebook Comes to Minneapolis Institute of Arts.)

Leading up to this weekend’s event, Performa has hosted a series of seminars and readings over the past year, meeting with artists and academics in preparation for the capstone conference.

The many specialists participating include David Hallberg, a principal dancer at the Bolshoi Ballet and American Ballet Theater; Zach Layton, a musician, curator, and PhD candidate at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Tory, New York; and Renaissance history and culture professor Kate Lowe, the co-director of the Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies, Queen Mary, University of London.

The Renaissance will serve as the jumping off point for the 2015 edition of Performa (see Performa’s 10th Anniversary Gala Will Honor “Renaissance Women”), led by director RoseLee Goldberg, much as Italian futurism, Russian Constructivism, and Surrealism inspired the biennial’s three previous editions.

Performa recently received grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to fund two annual curatorial fellows to work on research projects and the biennial’s program of talks and events (see Performa Bags $460,000 Mellon Grant for Curatorial Fellows) .

Paradiso: Performing the Renaissance will be presented by the Performa Institute Friday, April 24th, and Saturday, April 25th, from 1:00–5:30 PM at the NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, Einstein Auditorium, Barney Building, 34 Stuyvesant Street, New York.

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