event feb 16-17: The Critical Matter of Performance: Duets, Part 1

The Critical Matter of Performance: Duets, Part 1

The New Museum, in partnership with the NYU Center for the Humanities and the Sense of Performance Project at Yale University, presents the inaugural New Museum Colloquium from February 16 to 18, 2017. Entitled “The Critical Matter of Performance,” this three-day think tank will convene historians and theorists of performance, dance, and visual art, as well as choreographers, theater artists, visual artists, and performers to explore the relationship of criticism to live art through multiple registers—across time, space, bodies, politics, and institutions. Organized by Julia Bryan-Wilson, Tavia Nyong’o, Johanna Burton, and the New Museum’s Department of Education and Public Engagement, the colloquium will feature presentations and discussions with keynote presenters including Rizvana Bradley, Tania Bruguera, Malik Gaines, Jack Halberstam, Jenn Joy, Thomas J. Lax, Simone Leigh, and Wu Tsang, with special guest speaker Robert Longo.

The format of the colloquium brings together keynote presenters with a focus group of ten to fifteen emerging scholars and critically engaged performing artists (chosen through an application process administered by the organizers and in consultation with the presenters). Public sessions complement a number of closed-door discussions. The public sessions include a “long table” conversation with audience and participants, moderated by the organizers; a series of “duets” in which two presenters are asked to consider the same topic from their different professional or disciplinary perspectives and to respond to each other in dialogue with the audience; and an off-site reading with participants from the colloquium.

The deadline for applying to be part of the New Museum Colloquium focus group is Tuesday, January 17. Emerging scholars and critically engaged performing artists are encouraged to apply. Please see the PDF for application instructions.

In a time of political extremes and unthinkable circumstances, it is more imperative than ever to question the relationship between bodies, actions, critical thought, and institutions. Throughout the colloquium, participants will consider criticism—in its various forms, formats, and temporalities—as a contingent material of performance culture. To both record and disseminate critical responses born from the colloquium, written reflections from keynote presenters and focus group participants will be collected as material for a related publication.


Thursday February 16
Screening & Long Table
7 PM: Screening
7:30 PM: Long Table (led by Johanna Burton, Julia Bryan-Wilson, and Tavia Nyong’o)

Friday February 17
11–11:30 AM: Arrival and Welcome
11:30 AM–1:30 PM: Duets, Part 1
“Haptics” with Rizvana Bradley and Simone Leigh
“Political Gestures” with Tania Bruguera and Jack Halberstam

1:30–2:30 PM: Break

2:30–3 PM: “The Unthinkable,” a mid-program review and conversation (led by Johanna Burton, Julia Bryan-Wilson, and Tavia Nyong’o, with special guest speaker Robert Longo)
3-5 PM: Duets, Part 2
“Choreographies” with Jenn Joy and Wu Tsang
“Archives and History” with Malik Gaines and Thomas J. Lax
5–5:30 PM: Wrap-Up/ Discussion Session

Saturday February 18
7 PM: “Adult Contemporary”: Off-site readings by participants (La Mama La Galleria, 47 Great Jones St.)


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