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MoMA's Performance Exhibition Series to Continue with U.S. Premiere of Mark Leckey in the Long Tail
Mark Leckey (British, b. 1964). Mark Leckey in the Long Tail, performance at Institute of Contemporary Arts, London January 31, 2009. Photo: Mark Blower.
NEW YORK, NY.- The Museum of Modern Art presents the North American premiere of Mark Leckey in the Long Tail (2009), a performance-based work presented in a theater for performing arts at the Abrons Arts Center, at 8:00 p.m. on October 1, 2, and 3, 2009. Throughout the performance—which is part lecture, part monologue, and part living sculpture—Leckey (British, b. 1964) engages the topics of television and broadcasting history, from the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) to the icon of Felix the Cat, while simultaneously addressing the “long tail” theory of internet-based economics. Performance 5: Mark Leckey is organized by Klaus Biesenbach, Chief Curator, with Jenny Schlenzka, Assistant Curator for Performance, Department of Media and Performance Art, The Museum of Modern Art. The work made its debut earlier this year at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London.

Mark Leckey in the Long Tail is a multimedia lecture delivered by the artist in an installation resembling the soundstage of a movie. Incorporating a series of props—a blackboard, a desk, a lectern—the performance involves a live reconstruction of the first television broadcast, with Leckey moving between props and locations throughout. At the start of the lecture Leckey begins at the podium, demonstrating how a doll of Felix the Cat became the first image of the 20th century transmitted into public consciousness and how, for Leckey, the figure becomes the embodiment of the Long Tail phenomenon of the 21st century. Leckey follows its trajectory through successive phases of 20th-century broadcasting and into the 21st with its arrival in the Long Tail, going on to address how the Internet is changing the nature of demand, exchange, and, by extension, profit and creativity. Throughout the performance Leckey animates his conversational meanderings with props and special effects in an attempt to conjure up the emerging nature of the Long Tail.

Winner of the 2008 Turner Prize, Leckey is currently Professor of Film Studies, Städelschule, Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Leckey’s work has been exhibited domestically and abroad, at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York; Tate Britain, London; and the Istanbul Biennial, Turkey. His work is included in collections at Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. Two of Leckey’s works are in MoMA’s collection: Made in ‘Eaven (2004) and Cinema in the Round (2006-2008), which was recently acquired by the Museum.

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