Performa 17: 100 Degrees Above Dada

Performa, New York, United States
01 Nov 2017 - 19 Nov 2017

Image credit: Mohau Modisakeng, ZION 2017. Courtesy of Whatiftheworld, Ron Mandos and Performa

Image credit: Mohau Modisakeng, ZION 2017. Courtesy of Whatiftheworld, Ron Mandos and Performa

Performa, the internationally acclaimed organization dedicated to live performance across disciplines, announces Performa 17—the seventh edition of the Performa Biennial, to take place November 1–19, 2017, at locations throughout New York City.

Performa 17 will present commissions and projects that examine immediate and critical concerns confronting our urban centers, the shifting political and cultural currents of our turbulent world today, and ultimately the role of the arts and of artists within our communities. This edition of the Biennial will focus on the sociopolitical context informing contemporary art today, and how best to engage audiences in significantly understanding and absorbing its aesthetics and intrinsic values.

With AFROGLOSSIA and a South African Pavilion Without Walls this year two programs at Performa 17 will explore a broad swathe of work by 15 artists living in or originating from five different African countries.

Artists featured in Performa 17 include:

Yto Barrada (Morocco/France) / Brian Belott (USA) / Xavier Cha (USA)* / François Dallegret (France/Canada) with Dimitri Chamblas (France) and François Perrin (France/USA) / Teju Cole (Nigeria/USA) / Merike Estna (Estonia)* / Kendell Geers (South Africa)* / Nicholas Hlobo (South Africa) / Flo Kasearu (Estonia) / Richard Kennedy (USA) / William Kentridge (South Africa) / Barbara Kruger (USA) / Kemang Wa Lehulere (South Africa) / Kris Lemsalu (Estonia) with Kyp Malone (USA) / Julie Mehretu (Ethiopia/USA) and Jason Moran (USA) / Maria Metsalu (Estonia)* / Mohau Modisakeng (South Africa) / Zanele Muholi (South Africa) / Wangechi Mutu (Kenya) / Narcissister (USA)* / The Nest Collective (Kenya) / Kelly Nipper (USA) / Eiko Otake (Japan/USA)* / Tabita Rezaire (France/South Africa) / Jimmy Robert (France) / Bryony Roberts (USA) and Mabel O. Wilson (USA)* / Tracey Rose (South Africa) / Alex Schweder (USA) and Ward Shelley (USA) / Kwani Trust (Kenya) / Anu Vahtra (Estonia) / Gillian Walsh (USA)*

* indicates a Performa 17 consortium project. The Biennial Consortium is a selective network of New York City’s art and cultural institutions, all presenting and supporting performances and exhibitions that align with the Performa 17 biennial. Performa consortium projects are separately funded and produced by each consortium member, unless otherwise indicated.

Each Performa Biennial is curated along specialized areas of research in live performance across disciplines, as well as an historical anchor and a particular country or region, to address a range of critical contemporary issues, and foster cultural exchange and connection:

South African Pavilion Without Walls
Curated by RoseLee Goldberg, the South African Pavilion Without Walls takes a deeper look at the country in order to investigate the artistic practices developing in the post-apartheid era, which represents one of the most complicated and vigorous environments for artists in a state of constant invention. Bringing together artists who have developed deeply personal and individual vocabularies in the post-apartheid culture, Performa 17 aims to elucidate the complex strategies and conceptual frameworks defined by the contradiction, disparity, and skepticism generated in the wake of dramatic political shifts, and to reveal their relevance to the global conversation.

Coined and organized by Performa Curator Adrienne Edwards, AFROGLOSSIA is a neologism that riffs on the term polyglossia, defined as the coexistence of multiple languages in one area. The “afro” prefix references the incredible complexity, heterogeneity, and multiplicity that is Africa. The program highlights a range of artistic voices and coalesces diverse perspectives from various regions of the African continent into a single program platform, allowing viewers to experience distinct approaches to experimental interdisciplinary art and ideas being put forth by artists from Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Morocco, and South Africa. Co-presented with Anthology Film Archives, AFROGLOSSIA’s commissions are contextualized by a special four-day film program of works that influenced the artists’ commissions or their overall practice.

Circulations builds upon Performa’s sustained commitment to revealing how performance can be a radical tool to rethink architecture’s uses and aesthetics, positioning such use of performance and ephemeral architectural actions within a contemporary globalized, digitalized world where architecture exceeds the limits of the built environment. Organized by Performa Curator Charles Aubin, it unfolds as a multilayered platform of site-specific live performances and architectural experiments in iconic and unexpected architectural venues throughout the city and region, as well as a symposium and a scholarly publication, both co-organized and co-edited with Carlos Mínguez Carrasco.

Estonian Pavilion Without Walls
The Estonian Pavilion Without Walls features newly commissioned performances by Flo Kasearu, Anu Vahtra, and Kris Lemsalu with musician and artist Kyp Malone.

Performa 17 historical anchor: Dada
For Performa 17, the historical research investigation is Dada, which RoseLee Goldberg regards as the “Big Bang” of interdisciplinary 20th century art. With Performa 17, the Biennial seeks to question how artists, curators, and writers are approaching Dada 101 years after the movement began, and how it continues to reverberate in our cultural landscape.

Performa AFTERHOURS features late night performances by BEARCAT, DISCWOMAN, Richard Kennedy, Zanele Muholi, Tabita Rezaire, and SHYBOI, where audiences can join artists, curators, and the Biennial team for drinks, conversation, performance, and dancing at New York’s newest quintessential art space: Public Arts at 215 Chrystie Street.

Opening night gala: Wednesday, November 1
Performa 17’s annual gala will celebrate the opening of the Biennial and honor pioneering artist, Yoko Ono, and President of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, Founder of A4 Arts Foundation South Africa, and Performa Board member, Wendy Fisher at Harlem Parish. The evening is hosted by Performa Board President Richard Chang, Board Vice Chair and Artist Rashid Johnson, South African Designer Hanneli Rupert, and newly appointed Board Member Roya Sachs.

The Performa curatorial team is led by Chief Curator RoseLee Goldberg, and includes Performa Curators Adrienne Edwards and Charles Aubin, with contributions from Job Piston, Special Projects, and Lydia Brawner, Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellow, and Performa Consortium curators. Performa 17 is produced by Esa Nickle and Maaike Gouwenberg.

Please visit for more information and to access the programming schedule.

Performa 17 Biennial supporters
Major Support for the biennial is provided by the Ford Foundation, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Toby Devan Lewis, The National Endowment for the Arts, and the Performa Commissioning Council.

Sponsored by Volcom, B&O Play, and La Perla.

With support from the Estonian Ministry of Culture, Marian Goodman Gallery, Sprüth Magers, Pace Gallery, Rolex Institute, Fundação Sindika Dokolo, Canada Council for the Arts, David and Elaine Potter Foundation, Robert D. Bielecki Foundation, Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, Liza Essers – Goodman Gallery, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Fondation Nationale des Arts Graphiques et Plastiques, Ford Foundation – Institute of International Education, FACE (French American Cultural Exchange), Gladstone Gallery, Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Victoria Miro Gallery, WHATIFTHEWORLD, Institut Français à Paris, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, FUSED (French-US Exchange in Dance), The National Endowment for the Humanities, The Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States, May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation, Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, and Royal Norwegian Consulate General New York. In partnership with Brown Arts Initiative, Times Square Alliance, The Glass House, de Young Museum, The Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance at CalArts, and the Estonian Contemporary Art Development Center.



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