Groundbreaking performance art exhibition opens at the Neuberger Museum of Art

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Groundbreaking performance art exhibition opens at the Neuberger Museum of Art
Daniel Bozhkov, Cosmic Cucumber Carousel for Hard Return: 9 Experiments for this Moment, 2023. Photo by Margaret Ball of cucumbers grown on Mars regolith simulant. Courtesy the artist.

PURCHASE, NY.- Hard Return: 9 Experiments for this Moment is a unique artist and scholar co-curated exhibition that will transform the Neuberger Museum of Art into a site of collaboration, investigation, and performance with a series of nine distinct artist projects from early February to early May. The show ‘experiments’ with different ways of shaping and understanding community while probing the influence of history on the present.

Acclaimed performance artist and 2018 Guggenheim Fellow Kate Gilmore approached Neuberger Museum Director Tracy Fitzpatrick with the suggestion to create an exhibition featuring multiple works of performance art by her peers in the field; the project would be co-curated with performance art scholar Jonah Westerman. Both Gilmore and Westerman are on the faculty of Purchase College, SUNY. The Neuberger Museum is located at the heart of the Purchase College campus in Westchester County, New York.

“We are thrilled to be able to work with such accomplished Purchase College partners,” said Dr. Fitzpatrick. “The collaboration demonstrates the power of the academic museum to leverage its campus colleagues to create remarkable programming for a broad community. Jonah Westerman’s scholarship in performance art is exceptional. And I believe this is the very first time that a world-renowned performance artist such as Kate Gilmore has curated a performance art exhibition with multiple projects.”

Participating artists Jesus Benavente, Daniel Bozhkov, Nao Bustamante, Patty Chang, Emily Coates, Brendan Fernandes, Amber Hawk Swanson, Autumn Knight, and Alix Pearlstein have been commissioned to create diverse, participatory, durational week-long projects that explore fundamental questions about art’s ability to challenge the present and imagine what it takes to begin again.

Hard Return opened on February 1 with an original performance created by Fernandes in response to African art in the Neuberger collection. Vogue artist, Pose cast member, Purchase alumnus, and current faculty member Jason Rodriguez and an ensemble of Purchase College students worked with Fernandes to create a layered work that considers the transmission of cultural forms and knowledges across time and space and from body to body. Movement workshops will engage museum visitors throughout the week.

Next, in mid-February, Purchase College alumna Alix Pearlstein’s new commission, Inventory, will feature improvisational exercises that blur the lines between then and now, self and other, live and recorded.

Along with their performances, each of the artists will participate in public lectures and conversations on campus. Purchase College students will serve as interns and work as performers and production managers, which is another truly unique experience made possible by the museum’s relationship with the College. Audience members will be able to participate in person and virtually. And all projects will be archived on the web and in a printed catalogue.

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