Performa 2021 Biennial
October 12-31, 2021
The ninth-edition of Performa’s much-anticipated biennial is a full-on celebration of New York City, its resilient and adventurous artists and its many communities. With performance sites across Harlem, East Williamsburg, Lower Manhattan, Midtown, and Far Rockaway, eight artists will take us on a veritable tour of everyone’s favorite town.
Tschabalala Self, best known for her extraordinary paint-and-fabric collaged paintings with a physicality all their own, will create her first live performance: Sounding Board will be an intimate play about a couple staged in the bandshell of a Harlem park, with a set and costumes designed by the artist, and a live music component. Choreographer and artist Madeline Hollander’s Review is an ode to New York City and its remarkable dance companies. It will bring together 25 dancers from different dance styles who will ‘mark’ excerpts from performances that were cancelled during the pandemic shutdown. Noted sculptor and musician Kevin Beasley will ‘play’ the city back to us in The Sound of Morning, magnifying the sounds of architecture, objects, and everyday human gestures, at a downtown Manhattan intersection—emphasizing the noise that disappears into the fabric of the city, forming a sonic sculpture live mixed by the artist himself. Also downtown, photographer Sara Cwynar will transform an iconic retail store, now emptied of merchandise and shoppers, into a complex video installation and live performance: Down at the Arcade addresses the endless bombardment of media by corporations and influencers led by the drive for commercial gain.
Pictures Generation artist Ericka Beckman—whose early work in the late 1970s pioneered an in-camera editing technique that was highly prescient in relationship to today’s digital image making, enabling her to interweave experimental animation with live performance footage—will present her first live performance in New York. STALK is a bold retelling of the fairy tale Jack and the Beanstalk as a battle between workers and the super-rich, set in a Brooklyn park against Manhattan’s river-front skyscrapers. Further uptown, architect Andrés Jaque (Office for Political Innovation) will present Being Silica, a sound installation about the trail of damage behind the use of UltraClear™ glass in hundreds of new constructions across the city and its effects on New York’s neighboring territories. British-American artist Danielle Dean will explore another hidden economy: that of online gig labor at the e-commerce company Amazon.com in Amazon (Proxy), while Shikeith will take us to Far Rockaway beach with notes towards becoming a spill, an experimental opera exploring Black masculinity produced in collaboration with choreographer Morgan Bobrow-Williams, musical artist Rashad McPherson, and costume designer Carlos Soto.