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Center for The Arts




Contact: Anya Backlund, Interim Press & Marketing Manager
860-685-2806 abacklund@wesleyan.edu

Wesleyan University's Center for the Arts, Independent Curators International and Performa Present
Performance Now
Friday, September 7--Sunday, December 9, 2012

Gallery Talk with Curator RoseLee Goldberg: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 5:30pm

Lecture by RoseLee Goldberg: Saturday, November 17, 2012 at 2pm

Middletown, Conn.-ICI and Performa present the exhibition Performance Now debuting at Wesleyan University's Center for the Arts in the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery, Middletown, Connecticut, opening Friday, September 7, 2012. Opening reception on Tuesday, September 11 at 5pm.

Performance Now is a selection of works by 19 artists from a vast repository of new performance from around the world since 2000, a period that has witnessed an exponential growth in the field. More than a century after the Italian Futurists insisted on an increased engagement with their audiences and solicited artists of every discipline to join their cause, performance by visual artists has become central to our understanding of the development of contemporary art ideas and sensibilities.

Bringing together some of the most significant practitioners today, Performance Now surveys critical and experimental currents in performance internationally featuring works by Marina Abramovi?, William Kentridge, Clifford Owens, Spartacus Chetwynd and Jerome Bel, among others. Exploring the ephemerality of live performance and how this is captured by artists and transformed into new work that contains the power and content of the original, together the selected works are an indication of the extent to which visual artists use performance as part of their creative process; how that process produces objects, installations, video, or photography interchangeably; and how these mediums have been enlivened by the demands of recording performance in innovative ways.

With performance art departments recently being established in many major museums throughout the world and performance recognized as one of the most significant artistic forms of the 21st century, this exhibition provides a window onto these important developments. Performance Now is a series of ongoing exhibitions designed to introduce some of the most exciting projects of performance from 2000 to the present and to generate discussion about the history of performance art. The material is selected from a publication of the same name, Performance Now, by RoseLee Goldberg, which will be published by Thames and Hudson in 2014.


Marina Abramović, Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla, Jerome Bel, Spartacus Chetwynd, Nikhil Chopra, Nathalie Djurberg, Omer Fast, Christian Jankowski, Jesper Just, William Kentridge, Ragnar Kjartansson, Liz Magic Laser, Kalup Linzy, Kelly Nipper, Clifford Owens, Laurie Simmons, Ryan Trecartin.

The debut of the exhibition at Wesleyan coincides with the University’s new Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance (ICPP), a post-graduate certificate program that is the first of its kind in the United States. “ICPP brings artists, presenters, managers and other arts professionals together with Wesleyan faculty and some of the finest performance curators working today. Our students develop a responsive curatorial practice that takes the best from the fields of visual and performing arts. We knew that Performance Now would be an important show to integrate into this year’s ICPP curriculum, while also resonating with community members and many of our undergraduate and graduate arts students interested in exploring contemporary performance practices and their social and historical contexts,” said Pamela Tatge, Director of Wesleyan’s Center for the Arts and Managing Director of ICPP.

At Wesleyan, the exhibition also extends to a film series, selected by Performa film curator Lana Wilson, a 2005 graduate of the University (see below for film series details). Other Wesleyan alumni working in performance art, including Liz Magic Laser ’03 (one of the artists featured in the Performance Now exhibit), Aki Sasamoto ’04, Arturo Vidich ’03, and Danielle Mysliwiec ’98, will be panelists at a free seminar moderated by Greta Hartenstein ’11 in the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery during the University’s Homecoming/Family Weekend on Saturday, October 20, 2012 at 2pm.

About the Curator: RoseLee Goldberg

Ms. Goldberg’s seminal study, Performance Art: From Futurism to the Present (first published in 1979 and now in its third edition) is regarded as the leading text for understanding the development of the genre and has been translated into more languages (including Chinese, Croatian, French, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, and Spanish) than any other book of its kind. When director of the Royal College of Art (RCA) Gallery in London, Ms. Goldberg established a program that pioneered an integrative approach to curating exhibitions, performance, and symposia, directly involving the various departments of the RCA in all aspects of the exhibitions program. As curator at the Kitchen in New York she continued to advocate for multi-disciplinary practices to have equal prominence by establishing the exhibition space, a video viewing room, and a performance series. Most recently, her vision in the creation of Performa has set a precedent for performance art that is now impacting museum programming and diverse audiences across the U.S. and abroad.


Opening Reception: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 from 5pm to 7pm
Gallery Talk with RoseLee Goldberg: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 5:30pm
Lecture by RoseLee Goldberg: Saturday, November 17, 2012 at 2pm in CFA Hall
Film Series: Thursday, September 20, Thursday October 25, and Thursday, November 15 at 7pm in Powell Family Cinema, Center for Film Studies
Exhibition on View: Friday, September 7 through Sunday, December 9, 2012
Closed Wednesday, November 21 through Monday, November 26, 2012


Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery, Wesleyan University’s Center for the Arts, 283 Washington Terrace, Middletown, Connecticut.

Gallery Hours

Tuesday through Sunday, Noon to 5pm.

Admission: FREE

Performance Now Film Series

French Conceptual Dance
Thursday, September 20, 2012 at 7pm
Powell Family Cinema, Center for Film Studies

In the 1990s, a new wave of highly conceptual choreographers emerged in France. Now, these artists are at the forefront of avant-garde European dance and performance. This program presents two very different films by choreographers who came out of this wave:

Boris Charmatz & Dimitri Chamblas—Les Disparates (1994)
A delightful, beautifully shot exploration of the possibilities for fragmenting dance through editing, from bar to boathouse and back again.

Jerome Bel—Veronique Doisneau (2004)
A ballet dancer appears alone on stage at the Paris Opera House, narrating her life’s history as a dancer in what will be the final performance of her career.

The Films of Jesper Just
Thursday, October 25, 2012 at 7pm
Powell Family Cinema, Center for Film Studies
Introduced by Performa Film and Dance Curator Lana Wilson '05 with reception to follow

Commissioned by Performa to create his first performance for the Performa 05 biennial, Danish artist Jesper Just used three-dimensional technology to create True Love is Yet to Come (2005), an opera exploring the subject of love through an intriguing all-male cast whose emotional nakedness is underscored by pop music and a noir sensibility. This program will showcase the documentation of the performance of True Love alongside Mr. Just's No Man is an Island (2002) and Bliss and Heaven (2004).

Other Worlds: Daria Martin and Laurie Simmons
Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 7pm
Powell Family Cinema, Center for Film Studies

This program pairs films made by two artists who break down the boundaries between dance, visual art, and music, in work that shares a highly aestheticized exterior belying more complex and disturbing content. The elegant work of British artist Daria Martin—In the Palace (2000), Loneliness and the Modern Pentathlon (2004-5), and Harpstrings & Lava (2007)—presents the human body as a mechanized and abstract container for rich emotions, composed with the eye of a painter for two-dimensional surfaces and the mind of a filmmaker for visceral three-dimensional perspectives. Laurie Simmons, best known for her large-scale puppet-based photographs from the 1980s, made her directorial debut with The Music of Regret (2006), a three-act musical that uses puppets to enact tales of ambition, disappointment, love, loss, and regret, suggesting the darker side of domesticity, and the fragile ecology of everyday life. Total running time 78 minutes.

Daria Martin—In the Palace (2000), 16mm film transferred to DVD, 7 min
Daria Martin—Loneliness and the Modern Pentathlon (2004-5), 16mm film transferred to DVD, 18 min
Daria Martin—Harpstrings & Lava (2007), 16mm film transferred to DVD, 13 min
Laurie Simmons—The Music of Regret (2006), 35mm film transferred to HDCam, 40 min


Performance Now is produced by Independent Curators International (ICI), New York, and Performa, New York. The curator for the exhibition is RoseLee Goldberg, Artistic Director and founder of Performa. The exhibition and tour are made possible, in part, by grants from the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; the ICI Board of Trustees; and donors to ICI's Access Fund.

At Wesleyan University, Performance Now is co-sponsored by the Center for the Arts, the Department of Art and Art History, and the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance. The Performance Now Film Series is co-sponsored by Wesleyan University's Center for Film Studies.

About Performa

Founded by RoseLee Goldberg in 2004, Performa is the leading organization dedicated to exploring the critical role of live performance in the history of 20th century art and to encouraging new directions in performance for the 21st century. Performa launched New York’s first performance biennial, Performa 05, in 2005, followed by Performa 07 (2007), Performa 09 (2009), and recently, Performa 11 (2011).

About ICI

Independent Curators International (ICI) connects emerging and established curators, artists, and institutions to forge international networks and generate new forms of collaboration through the production of exhibitions, events, publications, and curatorial training. Headquartered in New York, the organization provides public access to the people and practices that are key to current developments in curating and exhibition-making around the world, inspiring fresh ways of seeing and contextualizing contemporary art. Since it was established in 1975, ICI has worked with over 1,000 curators and 3,700 artists from 47 countries worldwide.

Since 2010, 15 ICI exhibitions have been presented by 70 venues in 23 countries profiling the work of over 370 artists worldwide; 110 curators and artists from the U.S and abroad have contributed to ICI’s talks programs, online journal, and conferences; and 121 curators from 24 countries and 14 U.S. states have participated in the Curatorial Intensives, ICI’s short-course professional training programs.

About Wesleyan University's Center for the Arts

Wesleyan University’s Center for the Arts is an eleven-building complex on the Wesleyan campus that houses the departments of Art and Art History, Dance, Film Studies, Music, and Theater. Opened in 1973, the CFA serves as a cultural center for the region, the state and New England. The Center includes the 400-seat Theater, the 260-seat Hall, the World Music Hall (a non-Western performance space), the 414-seat Crowell Concert Hall and the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery.

The Center for the Arts gratefully acknowledges the support of its many generous funders and collaborators, including the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New England Foundation for the Arts, as well as media sponsors the Hartford and New Haven Advocates, Shore Publishing, WESU 88.1FM, and WNPR.

About Wesleyan University's Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance

The Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance was founded in 2010 by Wesleyan graduates Samuel A. Miller and Pamela Tatge, Director of the Center for the Arts, in partnership with New York’s Danspace Project, in response to the co-existence and cross-pollination of idea- and technique-based performance practice. The Certificate Program considers performance in its broadest sense and the curriculum addresses time-based art practices of artists, curators and cultural leaders working in dance, performance art, experimental theater and traditional/culturally specific programs and various combinations of these and other disciplines. The ICPP’s curriculum is designed to deepen the professional student’s knowledge of diverse curatorial practices and improve critical thinking and writing skills. ICPP students are required to take six courses in Artistic and Curatorial Practice, Social and Cultural Context, Entrepreneurial Strategies, and a Final Independent Project overseen by an advisor from the program or another field professional. Currently there is no post-graduate program in the United States that addresses curatorial practice in performance. The Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance fills this gap, as an interest in contemporary performance continues to thrive. The ICPP is committed to training arts professionals who will build on the momentum of contemporary performance by using new information and resources as creatively as possible, while also understanding how historical practices have shaped where we are today.

Press Contacts

Christina Caputo, Nadine Johnson & Associates, 212.228.5555 / christina@nadinejohnson.com
Mandy Sa, ICI Communications Manager, 212.254.8200 x121 / mandy@curatorsintl.org
Anya Backlund, Interim Press & Marketing Manager, Wesleyan University Center for the Arts 860.685.2806 / abacklund@wesleyan.edu

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