Are you ready for Performa 15? Celebrating it’s tenth year in production, the Performa Biennial is set to take New York by storm opening to the public on November 1st. The kick-off performance is by Francesco Vezzoli and David Hallberg presented by Wendy Fisher, Toby Devan Lewis, Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn, RoseLee Goldberg,
Carine Roitfeld and Leslie Ziff. It promises to be quite an evening as David Hallberg, Principal Dancer for the Bolshoi Ballet and American Ballet Theatre, will participate in a work set to interpret the historic beginnings of ballet as filtered through the Italian Renaissance. The work, titled Fortuna Desperata (Desperate Fortune), will be staged in two separate performances one from 8:00pm – 9:00pm and another directly following from 9:30pm-10:30pm at St. Bart’s Church, midtown east. The 8pm performance is part of the Performa Gala dinner and tickets are $2,500, not an easy amount to chalk over for the casual viewer. The second performance of the evening is a much more manageable $250 however that doesn’t include the reception which is also an option at $500. Good news for performance lovers is that beyond the opening night, many of the events are free. It is recommended however, to book in advance as Performa events are known to sell out or reach capacity by time of the happening is set to occur. The funds raised will help Performa, not only to operate but to continue to award participating artists financial and production support as part of Performa Commissions.
With a daily schedule from the 1st of November until the 22nd, we decided to take most of the leg work out of the equation and offer a selection of top picks, for those of you interested but intimidated by the sheer volume to choose from.
Francesco Vezzoli is an artist not to be reckoned with. He has a clever way of reinterpreting the past, often with a sense of exaggerated glamour, celebrity and drama. For Performa 15’s commissioned piece, he is collaborating with David Hallberg, Principal Dancer for the Bolshoi Ballet and American Ballet Theatre in Fortuna Desperata (Desperate Fortune). The Italian Renassaince was a time of decadence and Vezzoli’s work, has, for a long time focused on fashion and the fashionable. He has tapped into the role of glamour, celebrity and excess in much of his oeuvre and this performance isn’t likely to disappoint as it promises to offer ‘choreography that reflects the origins of ballet in the 15th-century’ while also exploring the relationship between a dancer on stage and the presence of the audience.
Francesco Vezzoli & David HallbergFortuna Desperata
On Monday, November 2nd, curator Mark Beasley will sit down in conversation at the Performa Hub with Ryan Gander. Gander is an artist who works in a variety of media including the performative gesture and has taken part in exhibitions globally. The 2012 piece above, “I Need Some Meaning I Can Memorise (The Invisible Pull)”, was part of dOCUMENTA(13), a work that included a generated breeze in the otherwise nearly ’empty’ interior of the Fridericianum in Kassel. His sculpture is often in dialogue with the concept of the invisible and items (or people) who tend to go unnoticed. Gander will be presenting Ernest Hawker, a performative gesture where he brings the concept of his ‘future self’ to the biennial, an avatar of sorts named Ernest who will unexpectedly attempt to sell things to the audience in attendance for what could be another performance or a talk at the Performa Hub. The unexpected is an element used like a medium, a brush stroke or smear left on a canvas. The concept of the work itself is a Post-Internet exploration whereas the imagined body (avatar) within the digital or virtual realm, is encouraged to interact with others, in an actual physical space.
Ryan Gander and Mark BeasleyArtist Talk
British artist Ryan Gander and curator Mark Beasley discuss the ways he enacts a future version of himself in his Performa project by shifting from a dandy-cum-hobo to a peddler of failed ideas.
On November 7th and 8th artist Robin Rhode will present, Erwartung: A Street Opera, the reimagining of Arnold Schönberg’s opera of the same name originally composed in 1909. As many operas, the work will focus on love, loss and longing but in this case, specifically on the experiences of women from South Africa who awaited the return of their respective husbands in regards to migrant labor and racial politics. The performance will feature only one person, and will take place in Times Square, a vocal interjection as the singer exposes herself (and the artist) in what the press release describes as a ‘operatic monument to lamentation.’ Rhode was in conversation with Performa founder RoseLee Goldberg at the Museum of Modern Art on October 28th.
Robin RhodeArnold Schönberg’s Erwartung – A Performance by Robin Rhode
Robin Rhode performs Austrian composer Arnold Schönberg’s atonal opera Erwartung (Expectation), transforming it to reflect the experiences of women who have been separated interminably from their husbands by the migrant labor system, political exile, activism and/or imprisonment.
Jesper Just participated in the first ever Performa and returns this year with an “Untitled” work and a collaboration with Time Square Arts. For the month of November he will take over the many monitors in Times Square for “Midnight Moment” where one of his films will dominate the visual bombardment of light for a few minutes before midnight. The film, still above, was first shown at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris and features actress Dree Hemingway. His Performa 15 commission is inspired by the inventions of Athanasius Kircher, a 17th century German philosopher and will remark on sound, movement and architecture. The “Untitled” performance finds Just joining forces with Danish artist FOS.
Jesper Just and FOSUntitled
Jesper Just returns for Performa 15 with a commission on the 10th anniversary of his performance that inaugurated the first Performa biennial, dislocating both audience and performer through architecture, film, and crowd-sourcing. In collaboration with Danish artist FOS.
Thematically following the trend of somewhat, ‘bad boy’ artists, Oscar Murillo, yes, still remembered for his last solo exhibition in New York and début with David Zwirner gallery titled, A Mercantile Novel, the artist returns to the Big Apple with Lucky Dip. From November 16th through the 22nd, Murillo will be stationed at the U.S. Customs House on Bowling Green, commenting on capitalism and it’s bearing on personal as well as public relationships. Currently, his work is also on view at his second solo exhibition with David Zwirner, but at the London location, titled binary function. Murillo employs various methods and materials (sometimes even other people) to expand upon his art practice and express larger ideas. Remember to use mindfulness if the opportunity arises to be part of a dialogue, never refer to him as just a ‘painter’.
Oscar MurilloLucky dip
Oscar Murillo takes up residence at the U.S. Customs House on Bowling Green posing questions about trade and globalization on a macroeconomic scale; exploring the ways capital molds individual lives, relationships, and communities.
Inevitably not a part of the boys club, Paris based artist Pauline Curnier Jardin will present “The House of Resurrection” as part of Performa 15 at Pioneer Words in Red Hook. Having given a talk at the Soho House months back about her work and then upcoming Performa 15 commission, the performance is long-awaited and will take cues, referencing the aesthetics of pop culture, witchcraft and the natural environment of animals.
Pauline Curnier JardinThe Resurrection Plot
Via a series of singing tableaux vivants drawn from a wealth of historic and anachronistic sources, Pauline Curnier Jardin takes the audience on an idiosyncratic journey through the Renaissance.
$40 – Nov. 4: première followed by cocktail reception, food, and music.
Beyond the Performa Commissions, projects of note include Derrick Adams, “Pablo Fanque’s Circus Royal/SIDESHOW” (November 20th), Juliana Huxtable “There Are Certain Facts That Cannot Be Disputed” in conjunction with the Museum of Modern Art (November 13th-14th) and the Performa Poetry Series including poems by Bunny Rogers and others (see below).
Performa Poetry Series
160 West Broadway
New York, NY 10013
See you out there!