Magazine article Artforum International

Performa 13

Magazine article Artforum International

Performa 13

Article excerpt

VARIOUS VENUES

In her groundbreaking book Performance Art: From Futurism to the Present, first published in 1979, RoseLee Goldberg traced the history of her subject within the context of the art world. This world turned out to be broadly defined, allowing the author to discuss many events that others might label dance, music, or theater. Performa, which Goldberg launched in New York in 2005 as the first biennial dedicated to "visual art performance," is similarly catholic in its offerings. While featuring numerous artists' virgin efforts in live performance, Performa has frequently presented choreographers, composers, and even standup comics.

Performa 13, which took place this past November, was no exception. The month was a mix of multiple curators' projects and co-presentations with museums and theaters, spread throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx. Whereas a typical biennial can be seen in two or three days, Performa offers a continuous calendar of events, with as many as ten performances programmed for any ten-hour period. Audience members are left to navigate the schedule as best they can, relying heavily on word of mouth and stamina. One path through the month was a fascinating range of vocal performances, organized by Mark Beasley. I focused primarily on dance, a strand largely curated by Charles Aubin and Lana Wilson.

French "conceptual" choreographers Boris Charmatz and Jerome Bel, both featured in previous Performas, returned with US premieres of high-profile pieces at the Museum of Modern Art and New York Live Arts, respectively. Charmatz's Flip Book, 2008/2013, a japing take on Merce Cunningham via the reenactment of some 250 photographs in company archivist David Va ughan's half-century-spanning chronicle, felt like an empty gesture--especially after a panel discussion in which Charmatz admitted to having little interest in his American elder; he further flummoxed fans of the late choreographer by stating that the documented poses strung together basically add up to a Cunningham dance.

Bel presented the latest in his series of performer "portraits," a look at a Zurich-based troupe of mentally disabled actors. First performed at Documenta 13 in 2012, the unfortunately titled Disabled Theater--calling it Theater HO RA, after the company, would have fallen more in line with the rest of the series's proper names--featured ten actors from the group performing one by one. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.