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Nov. 20, 2017
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The performance art biennale Performa 17 opens (Nov. 1 – 19, 2017)
This Biennale was started in 2005 with the aim of focusing thought on the development of live performance art in the 20th century. It is held every other year in venues around New York with a focus on the legacy of visual artists working in live performance. This year’s themes are inter-city artistic practice in African art and culture, the intersection of architecture and performance, and the hundred-year legacy of Dada.
Leading South African artist William Kentridge will present the work Ursonate created in collaboration with the Handspring Puppet Company from his hometown of Cape Town, and other young African artists from Estonia, Nigeria, Kenya, France and other countries. There are also performances by the Butoh dancer Eiko Otake, who has been active from her base in New York for more than 40 years under the unit name Eiko & Koma, and Barbara Kruger, a major artist in the U.S. known for her awesome conceptual art, who will set up exhibits at several locations around the city.
On the Biennial’s opening night Yoko Ono made an appearance. On the final day, the Malcolm McLaren Award, named after the “father of pun” Malcolm McLaren, known for championing the young and bold. The award will go to an artist who exhibits the avant-garde and punk spirits.

Festival Outline
Performa is a performance art biennale founded in 2004 by art historian RoseLee Goldberg and sponsored by the organization of the same name. Held every other year since 2005, the biennale has a range of innovative programs that break down the boundaries between visual art, music, dance, poetry, fashion, architecture, etc. Central among these is the commissions program to support visual artists in creating performance works, which includes among it past participants the musician Arto Lindsay, choreographer and video artist Yvonne Rainer, the painter Wangechi Mutu and artist Mike Kelley. Some of the works from this program have gone on to be shown around the world after premiering at Performa.
+Performa 17