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Performance Space New York Announces 2021 Fall Season


Performance Space’s guest-curated performance series Octopus continues in fall 2021.

Performance Space New York Announces 2021 Fall Season

Performance Space New York has announced its Fall 2021 Season, with new work from SHAWNÉ MICHAELAIN HOLLOWAY (Installation: October 23 - December 19, Performance: October 22, with more dates to be announced ), Dozie Kanu (Beginning October 15), and danyele (November 11-14). Together with programming including the return of the early Performance Space tradition Open Movement (reimagined for today's artists and communities by 02020 cohort member Monica Mirabile); the continuation of the artist-organized performance series Octopus, with events from Dozie Kanu (October 19) and Yolene and Yulan Grant (November 16); and the Open Room program in the Performance Space lobby that opens the institution's doors and merges installation and access; the season offers bold new visions of spatial use, reclaiming the institution as a public space and celebrating togetherness in a recently-reopened city.

The season opens the institution up to visionary new models of art-making and presenting with Kanu transforming the lobby space utilizing the darkness of contemporary-and historical-work culture; danyele consecrating sacred sites for transfeminine ceremonies and selective icon-shrines within the Neilma Sydney Theatre; HOLLOWAY installing a performative sculpture exhibit/expanded cinema for a participatory sci-fi-death-game-style performance in the Keith Haring Theater; and Open Movement filling every space with free, open rehearsals guided by listening and experimentation..

These performances and modes of discovery are drawn both from the organization's origins as well as the aims of the future-oriented, artist-led 02020-the year-long project during which a group of NYC-based artists were invited together with the staff and board to re-vision Performance Space New York, and which rapidly transformed to meet artists' and community members' needs amidst the early days of the pandemic and 2020's racial justice uprising. Placing its artist-centric model at the very core of its institutional structure, Performance Space New York has brought artists Roxane Gay, Nicole Eisenman, as well 02020 cohort members Jonathan González and Jackson Polys onto the board.

Several members from 02020 continue, this year, to collaborate with the Staff and Board to devise and implement a slow-time process that centers deep commitment and conversation with Performance Space's expanding constituencies. This will help reshape the vision and strategic plan for the future by building systems for access, equitable employment, and artist-empowering institutional practices.

Performance Space New York Executive Artistic Director Jenny Schlenzka says, "As we continue forward after an eye-opening and unpredictable year that exposed the deep shortcomings of traditional institutional forms of engaging with artists and communities, we continue to look towards both the lessons and communities that emerged in 02020-and towards our origins as an institution founded in a moment of turmoil as a space of openness and exploration-for pathways to transformation."



October 23 - December 19 | Thursday - Sunday, 12 - 6pm


Performance (more dates to be announced)

Friday, October 22 | 7:30pm


._SUITABLE_FOR.EXE[CUTION] is an audio-visual installation and expanded cinema apparatus for a live performance that evokes retro death-game genre sci-films. The installation and performance mark the end of four years of HOLLOWAY's work on the THE CHAMBER SERIES, an acclaimed 20-part publishing project using the language of animal training, algorithms, robotics, and BDSM to explore the ways in which the rules of desire, intimacy, and violence are inextricably interconnected across all political and interpersonal spectrums.

The performance's visual and narrative framework is supported by four sculptures ([SIT] STAY FETCH SPEAK.obj, SIT [STAY] FETCH SPEAK.obj, SIT STAY [FETCH] SPEAK.obj, and SIT STAY FETCH [SPEAK].obj). These act as spatial guides to grueling endurance games challenging performers' fitness, perfectionism, and style as they play captive animals (D0Gee-BOY, K1TTY.BABbY, HORS(11), 88_8UNNIEE) in a competition testing their disciplined presentations of the sculptures' title actions. The audience, encircling the theater-in-the-round performance, is assigned a champion for whom to root.

Works for THE CHAMBER SERIES thus far have mapped and determined formations of kink with commanding scores emulating graphic notation for classical music. HOLLOWAY describes that here, "The environment is the score; it provides the commands. It's all based on dog-training methods, positive and negative reinforcement, the technicalities of touch and endurance, and how the audience can be included in that cycle of the training." She adds, "BDSM for me is an intentionality in how to train ourselves to recognize how pleasure, love, desire, violence, and anything that could be dark or dangerous are in conversation with each other at all times. I love the training of the mind and the clarity that BDSM is able to bring to literal transactions, and what I'm trying to do in The Chamber Series is highlight BDSM as an opportunity for transactional performance."

SHAWNÉ MICHAELAIN HOLLOWAY is a new media artist and poet. Through works of video installation, software, and real-time performance, her work often critically engages the technical language of instruction, especially the aesthetics and mechanics of practices from queer feminist BDSM communities, to direct viewers to read, play, or listen their way through narratives that guide them in and out of visceral memories, asking them to confront intense emotions like desire, shame, or regret, and to employ them as mechanisms to navigate through and/or away from abuses of power. She has spoken and exhibited work internationally in spaces like The New Museum (NYC), The Kitchen (NYC), The Time-Based Art Festival (Portland), Institute of Contemporary Arts (London), Hebbel am Ufer (HAU) (Berlin), and NTS Radio (London). SHAWNÉ was a 20-21 Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art Queer Theatre & Performance Resident as well as a 2021 resident at Portland Institute for Contemporary Art's Creative Exchange Lab.

danyele: NeoLabial Acheiropoieton

November 11 - 14 | 8pm

NeoLabial Acheiropoieton is a set of ceremonies and selective transfeminine icon-shrines, motivated by legacies of Black and trans inclusive exclusion from sacred spaces and Performance Space. danyele, a transwoman set-maker working at the intersection of performance, social-practice, and sculpture, embarks on a quest for Black transfeminine divinity, looting historical appearances of the Holy Prepuce from Western history in order to liberate her embodied salvation from institutional damnation. The work consists of four multimedia Acheiropoeiton, or "Icons Made Without Hands," of danyele's transbodiment enshrined within live-sculptures, each simultaneously reckoning with the physical/temporal violence of pre/post-op dichotomies in anti-Black modernity and the liturgical bootlegging of mutilated messianic material. These icons will apparate to blessed audience members, separated for the ceremonies from the left of the Neilma Sydney Theatre, as in the gospel separation of the sheep from the goats. danyele writes, "If the believers of the middle-ages were right to root their faith in mythology erected on phallacies why shouldn't the wretched of this earth find salvation in the gendered design of our truth?"

She describes, "This work is about transition: I think just generally that we don't give the gurls enough credit for the spiritually rigorous work of creating selfhood, creating entire worlds and ecosystems that orbit the impossible dream. Not to mention the immense visual practice that underlies physical transformation; there's so much materially in our transitions that is absolutely disregarded."

danyele first encountered Performance Space New York taking shelter in The People's Space-a community project that was an offshoot of the 02020 activities, which came together amidst the ravages of COVID-19 and racism as a site for mutual aid, led by members of the 02020 cohort. There, she developed and performed the durational installation Confessional, which similarly ripped Christian iconography to subvert site-specific traffic in the bodies and spirits of Black trans women, as a practice of coming up for air out of"the eternally enforced confessional box, where public space becomes private, intimate space constructed by other people's expectations."

danyele creates her multidisciplinary, time-based sets by merging and cycling roles as performer, organizer and sculptress. After being banned from PSNY in 2019, danyele opened the NLA, an underground gallery on 9th St centering Black and brown embodiment artists of trans experience. Currently danyele organizes with For The Gworls around Black trans health and housing justice, and she holds a Public Engagement Fellowship at Dia Art Foundation (2019-2021). danyele has shown work at the Anderson Family Collection, Dance Place, Performance Space NY, and the Hemispheric Institute NYU. She is represented by the House of Nina Oricci and received her BA in African American Studies from Stanford University (2019).

Dozie Kanu

Beginning October 15

Thursdays - Sundays | 12 - 6pm


Organized by Dozie Kanu

October 19 | 7pm

A room softened and soaked in dark red tones. A work table snakes down the wall, onto the floor, across the room, back onto the floor, across the room. An array of stools are lined, free to be taken and used.

Artist Dozie Kanu's sculptural work teases and disrupts functionality, reforms the familiar and domestic with jarring, culturally evocative materials. At Performance Space, inaugurating the Open Room program-for which the organization engages artists in envisioning new ways of creating public space within its lobby-he returns to his world-building origins studying production design, constructing an open installation that commingles welcome and alienation within elements of a work environment.

Says Kanu, "This feels like I'm getting to exercise some of the things that were exciting for me back when I was studying production design for film and theater. I often reference Isamu Noguchi, who did set design projects, design objects, as well as landscape architecture alongside his sculptural practice, and I feel good having a clear example of someone that was never pigeonholed into being a specific type of artist. For me this is another opportunity to open up my practice."

Kanu's singular and insinuating environment bears hints of today's coworking spaces and the banal discomforts therein while its materials from Portugal, Nigeria, and America trace darker entangled histories. Kanu-born in Houston, TX to Nigerian immigrant parents, and currently residing in a warehouse he renovated in rural Portugal-offers up history and autobiography as a gathering space: to be filled with performance and visitors, each bringing multitudes of interpretation to its charged surfaces.

Inspired, in large part, by Brujas' Free Crib during 2020, and organized by Performance Space New York Head of Community Access and Inclusion Ana Beatriz Sepúlveda (in a newly created position that emerged from 02020), Open Room is a place for collective and individual gathering. Although lobbies are typically defined as transitional waiting spaces, the Performance Space New York lobby is intended as a continuous, open, communal, and accessible space for people to create, work, stay still, or pass through-to make community and allow for community to define the space and its use. Kanu will organize an Octopus event (October 19 at 7pm), with various artists activating his installation through performance.

Dozie Kanu (Houston, Texas, 1993) is presently based in Santarém, Portugal. He graduated from the School of Visual Arts in 2016. His research focuses on an idea of sculpture that looks at the production of objects in which a tension between their use and their history, memory and materiality is embedded. His peculiar visual language criticizes western art history canons, subtly and elegantly revealing in the objects narratives involving colonialism and identity, focusing on their diasporic condition. Selected solo and two person exhibitions include: to prop and ignore, Manual Arts, Los Angeles, California. value order [], Galeria Madragoa, Lisbon, Portugal. Recoil (with Cudelice Brazelton IV), International Waters, Brooklyn, New York, 2020; Owe Deed, One Deep, Project Native Informant, London, 2020; FUNCTION, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, 2019. Selected group exhibitions include Enzo Mari, curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Triennale Milano, 2020; Crack Up - Crack Down, Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw, 2020; Transformer: A Rebirth of Wonder, 180 The Strand, London, 2019; Midtown, organized by Salon 94 and Maccarone Gallery, Lever House, New York, 2017.

Open Movement

October 17 - December 12

Sundays | 10am - 6pm

RSVP encouraged but not required

Open Movement provides free open space in the organization's theaters every Sunday from 10am-6pm, inviting everybody and any/body to join for lo-fi rehearsals and creative cross-pollination, with no reservations necessary. Built on expansive and unfolding modalities of play and disruption, Open Movement, organized by Monica Mirabile, restarts the program of the same name that was at the foundational core of Performance Space and its traditions of politicized movement. As free, open space has become increasingly scarce in a city dominated by real estate, where arts organizations over decades veered away from artist-led models and into exclusionary institutionality, Open Movement continues in the reimagining spirit of 02020-and the exploratory spirit of Performance Space's beginnings-and offers rare, free access to artistic experimentation.

During the 02020 season, members of the cohort Jonathan González and Janice Amaya brought back the program originally begun by P.S. 122's founders-though it moved online as the pandemic shut New York public life. Mirabile, who has opened up her Bushwick, Brooklyn space Otion Front Studio to affordable rehearsal time, brings Open Movement back in both physical and virtual (Zoom) space.

Mirabile says, "I'm excited by the idea that you could have two people with totally different ideas in their head of what's about to happen, combine and create an entirely new sense of space or reality. It's timeless, to want to be in space and communicate with one another in an open forum. With no rules, trying to dissolve whatever walls we've built around each other and each other's identities, trying to destabilize our need to succeed in the ways we're taught and just listen: really trying to tap into what it means to be with and next to somebody. It's radical because it's simple, yet so few institutions do it: you open the doors and people come in."

As late P.S. 122 co-founder Peter Rose-who instigated Open Movement along with other co-founders after being inspired by working with Jerzy Grotowski-once wrote of the program's early days, "Open Movement became the laboratory pool for the living bodies. It offered a meeting place for the social needs yet offered a set of conditions which made artistic challenges and demands. It was serious fun and also asked serious questions about life and art."

Stephanie Skura, another of the co-founders of P.S. 122, writes of Open Movement's history, " A crucial aspect of Open Movement as foundational generative spirit was its commitment to participation: not a class, not a rehearsal, no director, no watching. Also; no music! It was-at its best-an embodiment of the alternative to 'celebrity' culture: who's a star, who's hot, who to watch, etc. I feel this alternative is a seminal aspect of the kind of art world-sometimes called non-commercial, downtown, experimental, etc.-some serious artists remain committed to."

Peter was the instigator and energy-stoker of Open Movement, beginning in 1979. He'd traveled to Poland to work with Grotowski in his Polish Theater Lab in the woods, was deeply inspired by that work, & came back to NYC with that energy to fuel the original participatory activities at P.S. 122... Open Movement was the originating activity whose spirit gave rise to everything, performance-wise, that came afterward, when P.S. 122 became a known downtown performance venue."

In this new Open Movement, each week, an artist will be paid an honorarium to lead a movement session for part of the day, inserting a modality or framework of open movement that's broad enough for expansion of interpretation by people of all abilities alike.

Spaces are located on the 4th floor with elevator access, gender neutral restrooms, and sprung floor. Space use is shared and interactions are invited.

Monica Mirabile (b.1988) is a New York based artist whose work explores the physical choreography of authority within the body. Her work moves through the intersection of performance, visual art and group dynamics. She is one half of the performance duo FlucT, a collaboration with Sigrid Lauren exploring the psychology of capital obedience in american consumerism through sound and choreography. For 8 years Mirabile has operated a performance studio in Brooklyn called Otion Front Studio- an affordable rehearsal space and performance residency flexibly organized with a fluctuating community of artists working through movement. In 2020, Mirabile was one of the 02020 cohort members who took over Performance Space New York - a project aimed at restructuring the institution from within. The return of Open Movement is a continuation of this work.

About the New Board Members

Nicole Eisenman is an artist primarily known for her paintings although she also creates installations, etchings, woodcuts, and sculptures. She has been awarded the Guggenheim fellowship (1996), the Carnegie Prize (2013), and has thrice been included in the Whitney Biennial (1995, 2012, 2019). On September 29, 2015, she won the MacArthur "Genius Grant" award for "restoring the representation of the human form a cultural significance that had waned during the ascendancy of abstraction in the 20th century". Working from the heart and driven by the body, Nicole Eisenman explores the human condition in her critically acclaimed work. Along with A.L. Steiner, she is the co-founder of the queer/feminist curatorial initiative Ridykeulous. Additionally, she was a professor at Bard College from 2003 to 2009.

Roxane Gay is a writer, professor, editor, and social commentator, among others. Her writing appears in Best American Mystery Stories 2014, Best American Short Stories 2012, Best Sex Writing 2012, A Public Space, McSweeney's, Tin House, Oxford American, American Short Fiction, Virginia Quarterly Review, and many others. She is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times. She is the author of the books Ayiti, An Untamed State, the New York Times bestselling Bad Feminist, the nationally bestselling Difficult Women and the New York Times bestselling Hunger. She is also the author of World of Wakanda for Marvel. She has several books forthcoming and is also at work on television and film projects.

Jonathan González is a Dominican-American artist, performer/researcher and educator engaged at the intersections of performance. Their works have been generously supported by Danspace Project, Abrons Arts Center, MoMA, MoMA PS1, Akademie der Künste, homeschool, MANCC, CICCIO Gallery, among others. Recent projects include: (r-black)2 + z2-LIFE = 1STILL (Little Island, 2021), Who Knows But On The Lower Frequencies, I Speak For You? (Shandaken Project, 2020), and N*GGA F*GG*TS, & What I Really Mean When I Say "I'm About To Burn This F**king B*tch Down" (Region(es): Central, 2020). Recent Awards include: Art Matters (2020) and Foundation for Contemporary Art, Grants to Artists in Performance Art/Theater (2020). They are an alumnus of LaGuardia High School, POSSE Foundation Scholar of Trinity College and Trinity Laban Conservatoire, and Sarah Lawrence College's MFA in Dance.

Jackson Polys is a multi-disciplinary artist belonging to Tlingit territory, living and working between what are currently called Alaska and New York. He holds an MFA from Columbia University (2015) and is a recipient of a Native Arts and Cultures Foundation Mentor Artist Fellowship (2017). He is a core contributor to New Red Order, a public secret society dedicated to examining desires for indigeneity, settler colonial tendencies, and obstacles to Indigenous growth and agency. His works have appeared at the Alaska State Museum, Anchorage Museum, Artists Space, Burke Museum, e-flux, Images Festival, MIT, MOCAD, Park Avenue Armory, Sundance Film Festival, Union Docs, Toronto Biennial of Art, and the Whitney Biennial 2019, among others.

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