See a Visual Diary of Some of the Most Memorable Events at Performa 15 So Far
Featuring Francesco Vezzoli, Jesper Just, and Juliana Huxtable.
Amidst all of the galas, openings, and record-breaking auctions that November has brought to New York, Performa artists like Wyatt Kahn, Robin Rhode, and Pauline Curnier Jardin have been staging a bevy of great performances. Unfortunately, no one (with the possible exception of the incredible RoseLee Goldberg) can possible make it to all of them. So we’ve created this handy round-up of all the things you may have missed, including exclusive quotes from some of the artists and some choice snapshots. No need to thank us!
There’ s a few days left of Performa,which continues until November 22. Check out the full calendar and make it out to something before it ends.
Robin Rhode, Arnold Schönberg’s Erwartung, Times Square
“As a visual artist, having the opportunity to stage an opera in a street plaza is a return to avant-garde ideas,” Robin Rhode says of his re-staging of Austrian composer Arnold Schönberg’s atonal opera Erwartung (Expectation). Rhode transformed the work to speak to the experiences of women who have been separated from their husbands by the migrant labor system, political exile, or imprisonment.
Jérôme Bel, Ballet (New York).
For Ballet (New York), staged in three parts at el Museo del Barrio, Marian Goodman Gallery, and the Martha Graham Studio Theater, Jérôme Bel has worked with both trained and untrained dancers of various ages and backgrounds. It’s not too late to catch the last performance, which takes place on November 19.
Wyatt Kahn, Work.
“Each night the performance and puppetry changes and adjusts. It’s the nature of live art; it’s never exactly the same way,” Wyatt Kahn says of his tongue-in-cheek, puppet-based performance, which took place at the Swedish Marionette Theatre. Kahn’s performance imagines a world in which artworks can not only interact with their creator, but even rise up against him—no doubt a nightmare for most creative types.
Jesper Just and FOS, in the shadow/ of a spectacle/ is the view of the crowd.
Staged within the top floors of the 225 Liberty Building, Jesper Just’s collaboration with Danish artist FOS tackled the history and social significance of its location head-on, transforming the building into a multi-layered spectacle.
Tania Bruguera, Instacitizen
For this impromptu performance, which was Performa’s first digital commission, Cuban artist Tania Bruguera invited the audience at the Performa Hub (and anywhere around the world) to use her Instagram account (for which she had shared her ID and password for one night) for the specific purpose of sharing their experiences of self-censorship.
Pauline Curnier Jardin, The Resurrection Plot.
Paulette Curnier Jardin’s The Rescurrection Plot, which took place at Pioneer Works, took the form of several singing tableaux vivants that draw from sources as seemingly disparate as witchcraft, voguing, and the animal kingdom.
Jardin describes the work this way: “I’m the big hot lava with legs that molded the horn-of-plenty that has built up the snail that has whispered the truth to the snake that once met the bold white man who has the knowledge of all sciences of the world who knows everything about the planets and the stars who has eaten the twinkling egg plant that was containing my love.”
Juliana Huxtable, There Are Certain Facts That Cannot Be Disputed.
Juliana Huxtable’s raucous performance at the Museum of Modern Art combined music, sound, video, and lighting in three vignettes that addressed the nature of information in cyberspace—particularly as it relates to closed servers, bounced URLs, and Google caches.
Eleonora Fabiao, “Things That Must Be Done” series.
Brazilian artist Eleonora Fabião took to the streets of lower Manhattan with a diverse group of performers—aged 20 to 60—as part of a series of “actions” meant to dissipate social, economic, and political polarities through art.
“One of the responses that remains with me after we performed the “Wall Street Actions” was given by a passerby that ran into us by chance and followed us for several blocks on the second day. He said: ‘It makes no sense, AND it makes total sense. How come?,'” Fabiao recalls.
“I couldn’t have ever imagined a more accurate description. Performance art is the art of making and unmaking sense; the art of being permanently remaking senses thanks to the assemblages the actions trigger. We experienced sense, nonsense, countersense. Also silence and laughter. We were an assemblage of people, street, sounds and noises, movement, seven 12 feet long bamboo poles, night light and day light, smells, yards of electric cables, a battery, colored Lycra fabric, tungsten bulbs, and dozens of cheap shinny golden and silver plastic strips.”
Zheng Mahler, New York Post- et Préfiguratif (Before and After New York).
Hong Kong-based artist duo Zheng Mahler staged a multi-media performance that examined the shifting interplay of global economies and migration through the prism of Asia and Africa, during a time when the world is now experiencing the most intense flows of migration since World War II.
Rainer Ganahl, Selling My Library.
“I’m selling my library. Yes. I am.,” Rainer Ganahl writes regarding Selling My Library, a project based on the classic Walter Benjamin essay Unpacking My Library: A Talk About Book Collecting.
“Finally, I am getting rid of all my books. I decide to do so in form of a low cost art work with no price increase above the projected remaining value of my used books. Adding a stamp to the books that lists my name and the title of the dispersing piece hopefully increases the chance of a better home, a better afterlife for these old paper beings.”
David Gilbert and Paul Pescador, Duets.
Performers Gilbert and Pescador staged a simultaneously silly and melancholic performance about maintaining one’s individuality while exploring a relationship with another person. The kitschy sets and props were intentionally reminiscent of community theater, while the tone falls in line with classic 1960s films like Breakfast at Tiffany’s and West Side Story.
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