7 Strange Spectacles at Performa 2013

Eddie Peake

We are about halfway through Performa 13’s takeover of New York, and so far the performance art biennale has been everything that we had hoped it would be. Here are some of the highlights—past, present, and still to come.


Ryan McNamara tempted fate by making “a ballet about the Internet” at the Connelly Theater. Amazingly, the Internet does not hate it. Yet.

Photo by Paula Court, courtesy of Performa.


Cally Spooner deconstructed the big, bright Broadway musical at the National Academy Museum on the Upper East Side. A continuation of her project at the Stedeljik in Amsterdam, it looks like her send-up of Broadway spectacle is actually getting closer to Broadway.

Photo by Paula Court, courtesy of Performa.


Subdoh Gupta is cooking a series of intimate dinners at The Old Bowery Station, in the style of the family meals he makes at home in Nihar, India—and we hear they are extremely yum.


Eddie Peake may make you extremely body-conscious with his choreography at the Swiss Institute, featuring performers who look very good in very little clothing.

Photo by Mark Blower.


Rashid Johnson gets steamy in the dank Russian and Turkish baths in the East Village, where he is restaging LeRoi Jones’s (now Amiri Baraka) incendiary, race-fueled 1964 play “Dutchman.” It’s going to be hot in there.

Photo by Paula Court, courtesy of Performa.


Shana Lutker throws punches at Theatre 80, where she is staging some of the famous fisticuffs involving the Surrealist artists and their cohorts marauding about Paris in the 20s. Alternately known as Midnight in Paris: The Deleted Scenes.

Courtesy of the artist and Susan Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects.


Tameka Norris and Senga Nengudi are setting up shop at the Studio Museum, where Nengudi will “activate” a sculptural piece with dancers and Norris will make a painting on the spot, with her tongue, with her own blood and saliva, in front of an audience. No backsies.

Photo by Max Fields.