Critical Correspondence: Dance and the Museum

Critical Correspondence: Dance and the Museum

In 2013, Critical Correspondence initiated a project dedicated to the examination of dance in the museum today–its politics, economics, and aesthetics. Acknowledging a long history of cross-pollination between dance and the visual arts–some driven by artists, some by institutions–our hope is to create a forum, based in a dance institution, for the voices of those affected by and invested in these issues.

Dance and the Museum was conceived and curated by Nicole Daunic and Abigail Levine.

Interview with artist Janine Antoni

Interview with artist Janine Antoni

Artist Janine Antoni speaks of her recent engagement with dance and with choreographers, including Annie B, Parson, Jill Sigman, Stephen Petronio and Anna Halprin. Antoni's work enacts a practical dialogue between bodies and objects and, by extension, between dance, sculpture and other visual art forms. Her works, as well as her discussion of them, intervene with a generous and probing spirit, in ongoing conversations about the interactions of these forms and disciplinary categories.

Interview with Lise Soskolne of W.A.G.E.

Interview with Lise Soskolne of W.A.G.E.

This past winter I met with Lise Soskolne, core organizer for W.A.G.E. (Working Artists and the Greater Economy). W.A.G.E. is “a New York-based activist organization focused on regulating the payment of artist fees by nonprofit art institutions, and establishing a sustainable labor relation between artists and the institutions that subcontract their labor.” I got to know Lise and the work of W.A.G.E. as I was negotiating the complications of working in a museum as a performer. We spoke about the evolution and current work of W.A.G.E., as well as specifically considering the work of performance artists and hired performers within the context of exhibitions and performances. W.A.G.E.’s website is a clearinghouse of resources on the economic and political conditions of professionalized art-making.

Interview with curator Charles Aubin

Interview with curator Charles Aubin

Curator and performance scholar Charles Aubin discusses his work at Paris’s Centre Pompidou and New York’s Performa Biennial, focusing on the current interest in live art and performing arts curation. Aubin addresses the differences in curatorial strategies in a yearlong programming calendar versus a biennial, the funding structures in Europe versus the U.S. and the attendant challenges, as well as the the artistic cross-pollination he is interested in fostering between international artists and audiences.

Being a thing: the work of performing in the museum

Being a thing: the work of performing in the museum

Published in Women & Performance (Routledge)

As many critics and scholars have noted, museums are ushering performance back into their galleries at a furious pace. Some speak of the trend with an oddly literal metaphor – performance as new life to reanimate culturally and economically dead spaces. Roberta Smith writes of the Whitney Biennial: The 2012 incarnation is a new and exhilarating species ... an emerging curatorial life form, at least for New York” (Smith 2012, The New York Times). Although rarely acknowledged, on a more fundamental level, the newspecies” entering the museums is not a curatorial life form” but the performer, the artist who is an interpreter rather than a creator of a live work. 

 

Marina Abramovic's Time

Marina Abramovic's Time

Excerpted in Memory: Documents in Contemporary Art (MIT Press)

Full text published in e-misférica

More than 750,000 viewers visited the MoMA exhibition and many more followed Abramović’s performance via a real-time webfeed. The show garnered a storm of critical and popular media coverage, including process pieces about inappropriate touching of the human art, and the New York Post’s coyly titled “Squeezy Does It.” This show played on a huge scale, and its organizers were obviously invested in “telling the story” of Abramović’s career clearly and dramatically. This required a simple narrative of her career that, in some ways, undermined the radical experience of Abramović's performed time. 

Performance by Diana Taylor (translated from Spanish by Abigail Levine)

Performance by Diana Taylor (translated from Spanish by Abigail Levine)

"Performance" has multiple and often overlapping meanings that signify a wide variety of social behaviors. In this invitation to reflect on the power of performance, Diana Taylor explores many of its uses and iterations: artistic, economic, sexual, political, and technological performance; the performance of everyday life; and the gendered, sexed, and racialized performance of bodies. This book performs its argument. Images and texts interact to show how performance is at once a creative act, a means to comprehend power, a method of transmitting memory and identity, and a way of understanding the world.