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Performa 13 announces first commissions and early highlights
Pawel Althamer, Common Task, Brodno district, Warsaw, 2008. Courtesy the artist; Foksal Gallery Foundation, Warsaw; neugerriemschneider, Berlin and Open Art Projects, Warsaw.
NEW YORK, NY.- Performa, the New York-based organization and international biennial dedicated to live performance across the disciplines, announces select Performa Commissions and Consortium projects for Performa 13, celebrating the biennial’s fifth edition to take place November 1 – 24, 2013 at more than 60 venues across New York City. Among the acclaimed artists who have received the prestigious Performa Commissions and will create new works for the biennial are: Jake and Dinos Chapman (UK), Subodh Gupta (IN), Rosa Barba (IT), Alexandre Singh (UK), Marianne Vitale (USA), Raqs Media Collective (IN), Ryan McNamara (USA), Pawel Althamer (PO), Nicholas Hlobo (SA), Tori Wrnes (NO), Florian Hecker (DE) and Rashid Johnson (USA). Additional Performa 13 highlights will also include Pedro Reyes (MX) at the Queens Museum (a new member of the Performa Consortium), Paulo Bruscky (BL) at the Bronx Museum, as well as Ben Patterson (USA) and Tameka Norris (USA) presented as part of the program on Black Performance: Radical Presence at the Studio Museum in Harlem and the Grey Art Gallery, NYU.

“We have a thrilling line-up of new work this year,” says Performa Founding Director and Curator, RoseLee Goldberg, “showing that more and more visual artists consider performance an important medium for expressing their ideas, and that cultural institutions now appreciate performance for its communicability to a broad public and as essential to their programs.”

The centerpiece of Performa’s biennial is its internationally renowned Performa Commissions program. These commissions support visual artists taking a step into the performance world, many of them for the first time in their careers. “Performa Commissions allow for a unique and prolonged working relationship with artists,” explains Goldberg. “We are able to draw on expertise within our organization, providing artists with unparalleled support and in-depth engagement with their ideas, allowing them to experiment and take off in entirely new directions. The resulting works have become significant new markers in the history of artists’ performance.”

Each Performa Commission creates a live experience that engages the viewer and allows for a strong connection between artists and audiences. “Several of the Commissions confront our sense of humanity, of community, and what it means to be a citizen in our 21st century world of immigrant nations,” says Goldberg of one of the biennial’s research themes: citizenship. Others deconstruct the formal elements or materials of performance, such as “the voice,” which will be featured in a special series divided into two separate evening-length concerts, one each for the male and female voice, curated by Performa Curator Mark Beasley.

To date, Performa has awarded 41 Performa Commissions with several Commissions touring internationally following their New York premieres. Beginning with the first Performa 05 Commissions by artists Jesper Just and Francis Als, Performa has gone on to present Commissions by a wide range of artists including Isaac Julien (Performa 07); Nathalie Djurberg (Performa 07); Adam Pendleton (Performa 07); Yvonne Rainer (Performa 07); Francesco Vezzoli (Performa 07); Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster (Performa 09); Omer Fast (Performa 09); Mike Kelley (Performa 09); Candice Breitz (Performa 09); Arto Lindsay (Performa 09); Yeondoo Jung (Performa 09); and Wangechi Mutu (Performa 09); Ragnar Kjartansson (Performa 11); Liz Magic Laser (Performa 11); Shirin Neshat (Performa 11); and Elmgreen and Dragset (Performa 11), among others.

Pavilion Without Walls
For Performa 13, the Pavilion Without Walls™ program adds an important new dimension to Performa’s mission to investigate the history of artists’ performance and to show its significance in shaping the history of art while also nurturing new work with its commissions program. Based on the national pavilions of the Venice Biennial, Goldberg initiated the Pavilions Without Walls™ as a way to explore in great depth the character of contemporary art and live performance in different countries. Norway and Poland will launch this new initiative that has involved research trips to both countries by Performa curators and producers, curators, critics, museum directors and consulate representatives in New York.

Sissel Breie, the Consul General in New York, comments, “The Norwegian Consulate has worked with Performa for several years and has always been impressed by the unique artworks they present and commission. And the way the biennial transforms the city into a stage for exploring new ideas while challenging the boundaries between art, culture and politics.”





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