Bunny Rogers, Ed Atkins, and Other Artists Are Set to Debut Their First-Ever Performances at This Fall’s Performa Biennial

There's a lot to look out for in the next edition of the renowned performance art festival.

Nairy Baghramian, Beliebte Stellen/Privileged Points (2017) and Maria Hassabi, TOGETHER (2019). Installation view, Mudam Luxembourg – Musée d'Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean. Courtesy of Performa.
Nairy Baghramian, Beliebte Stellen/Privileged Points (2017) and Maria Hassabi, TOGETHER (2019). Installation view, Mudam Luxembourg – Musée d'Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean. Courtesy of Performa.

The forthcoming edition of Performa, New York’s biennial performance art festival, is starting to take shape.

Last week, the festival announced the commissioned projects that will make up much of this year’s show, which is set to run from November 1–24. 

As in years past, cross-disciplinary collaborations will stand out. Argentina-born, Paris-based choreographer Cecilia Bengolea will stage a new 50-dancer performance with famed fashion muse Michèle Lamy, while London-based artist Paul Maheke will join forces with artist and DJ Melika Ngombe Kolongo for Sènsa, a performative piece at the Abrons Arts Center, which co-commissioned the work.

Video and installation artist Bunny Rogers will present her first live theatrical work at a local public school. Revisiting territory she explored in a trilogy of videos about the Columbine High School massacre, the new project will take the form of a high school talent show, touching on the way adolescent violence has evolved from school-yard bullying to the emotional torment waged online today. British artist Ed Atkins also has his first theatrical work planned, though details are still being worked out, a Performa representative tells artnet News.

Bunny Rogers, <i>A Very Special Holiday Performance in Columbine Auditorium</i> (2017). © Bunny Rogers, courtesy Société, Berlin.

Bunny Rogers, A Very Special Holiday Performance in Columbine Auditorium (2017). © Bunny Rogers, courtesy Société, Berlin.

Meanwhile, sculptor Nairy Baghramian and choreographer Maria Hassabi will present a new collaborative piece co-presented with The Kitchen in a Fifth Avenue townhouse. Elsewhere, in a very different spirit, Honolulu-born artist Paul Pfeiffer will present a live show with The Redcoats, the University of Georgia’s famed marching band.

Yvonne Rainer, still a force at age 84, will restage her landmark 1965 work for 10 people and 12 mattresses, which first debuted at the Judson Memorial Church and featured Robert Rauschenberg and Robert Morris. Recreated with fellow choreographer Emily Coates from archival materials, the piece will feature Nick Mauss and Liz Magic Laser.

Other projects include an interdisciplinary performance by Korakrit Arunanondchai, an experimental musical by Samson Young, and a spate of performances by Swedish and Taiwanese artists as part of the festival’s Pavilions Without Walls program. 

“We are thrilled to be working with artists from more than a dozen different parts of the world, and to be introduced to the cultural and political references that make his or her individual work so essential and compelling to our understanding of the times in which we live,” RoseLee Goldberg, Performa’s founding director and chief curator, says in a statement. “This is powerful and important work made even more so being live, for it engages audiences directly, viscerally, with the artists’ sensibilities and concerns.”


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