Samson Young's sketch for Performa 19.
Photo: Courtesy of the artist and Performa

New York’s 8th Performa Biennial Looks to the Bauhaus for Inspiration

Korakrit Arunanondchai and Yvonne Rainer are among the first commissions for the 8th edition of the biennial

Every two years, a slew of ambitious performances take over New York City for the Performa Biennial, a multisite exhibition established in 2005 by art historian and curator of performance art RoseLee Goldberg. For this year’s edition, Performa 19, which takes place from November 1 to 24, the marker will be the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Bauhaus, the historic school in Weimar, Germany, known for its approach to design.

“One of Performa’s important roles is to provide critical historical background and context for today’s performances by visual artists,” said RoseLee Goldberg in a statement. “We are thrilled to be working with artists from more than a dozen different parts of the world, and to be introduced to the cultural and political references that make his or her individual work so essential and compelling to our understanding of the times in which we live.”

Performa will celebrate the dynamic performance events that were central to the Bauhaus and the school’s radical approach to interdisciplinary experimentation that crossed art, design, and architecture.

Recommended: The Incredible Rise of Performance Art

Thai-born, New York–based artist Korakrit Arunanondchai, for example, will create work centered on the notion of Ghost Cinemas, outdoor film screenings in Thailand that were meant as communions between the audience and spirits. Samson Young, meanwhile, will create music inspired by 16th-century Chinese folklore and 20th-century modernist dance.

Performa has also commissioned artists Yvonne Rainer and Emily Coates to reimagine Parts of Some Sextets (1965), an important early work from Rainer’s career, using notes, diagrams, and photographs now housed in the Getty Archives.

Other recently announced participating artists include Ed Atkins, Nairy Baghramian, Tarik Kiswanson, and Paul Pfeiffer, who each approach performance from entirely different perspectives.

Performa 19 will take place at various venues from November 1 to 24. The full 24-day program will be made public in September.

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