Performing Histories: Live Artworks Examining the Past

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Video still from Men on the Line, KPFK, 1972 © Courtesy of the artist, West of Rome Public Art, and the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy, Los Angeles
Performing Histories: Live Artworks Examining the Past

11 West 53 Street
New York, NY 10019
September 12th, 2012 - March 8th, 2013
Opening: September 12th, 2012 10:30 AM - 5:30 PM

Wed-Mon 10:30 - 5:30; Fri 10:30 - 8:00
video-art, performance


The Department of Media and Performance Art presents a series of performances under the title Performing Histories: Live Artworks Examining the Past, held in collaboration with the exhibitions Performing Histories (1) and (2), Inventing Abstraction, 1910–1925, and Tokyo 1955–1970: A New Avant-Garde. These performances constitute a “live” response to the contexts of the three exhibitions, highlighting various artistic practices of engaging with history.

Performing Histories: Live Artworks Examining the Past emphasizes the travels of artistic ideas, forms, and events across territories and times, from the early 20th century to the mid-20th century, from the European heartland of modernism to the Far-Eastern hotbed of avant-gardes, as well as the continuing force and inspiration they exert on contemporary practices across mediums and disciplines. A wide range of performances are included, including dance, music, theater, and performance art—all anchored in history and resonating with the three related exhibitions and the state of performance art in general.

The series starts on September 12, 2012, with a performance by Andrea Fraser, and continues until spring 2013.

Related Exhibitions
Performing Histories (1) and (2) is a two-part exhibition of newly acquired media works in which artists have deconstructed, reassembled, and re-performed history, focusing on its ambiguity and the impact of ideology on individual and collective consciousness. The series of performances with works by Andrea Fraser (born USA, 1965), Andrea Geyer, Sharon Hayes (born USA, 1970), Simone Forti, and others, relates to the artistic re-interpretation of our near history.

Inventing Abstraction, 1910–1925 is mapping the early history of abstraction, and will present a radically new approach to the first decade and a half of abstract art, which was invented and established as a cross-media practice from the start. The dancers Fabian Barba (born Equator 198x) and Kelly Nipper (born USA, 1971) are creating re-interpretations of highly influential dances by Rudolf Laban and Marry Wigman.

Tokyo 1955–1970: A New Avant-Garde highlights, among other topics, the prominent cross-media and intermedia tendency in avant-garde practices following the Asia-Pacific War and the immediate postwar years, which interrupted the development of modernism in Japan. This series of performances with works by Ei Arakawa, Contact Gonzo, Trajal Harrell, Eiko and Koma refers to specific artists and movements in the history of art and dance such as Jikken Kobo, Hijikata, Butho.