The internationally acclaimed organization dedicated to live performance across disciplines is an ode to Barbara Kruger who is collaborating in major ways for the seventh edition of the Performa Biennial in New York.
Running through the 19th of November at locations throughout New York City Kruger’s Performa Commission inserts the artist into the urban street culture that has absorbed, appropriated, and applied her provocative attitude and approach through a series of public art actions, performances, and installations.
Expanding upon her iconic photo-collages combining text and image, Kruger employs these signature effects and strategies to broadcast messages that engage issues of and ideas about power, desire, adoration, contempt, and capital.
Using her instantly recognizable white-on-red Futura typeface, the project includes an installation for the popular Lower East Side skate park located beneath the Manhattan Bridge, created in partnership with NYC Parks and skate park designer Steve Rodriguez; the design of a billboard on 17th Street and 10th Avenue in Chelsea; and a full wrap of a classic school bus that will serve as a mobile site for community engagement. These elements will take on New York City, unfolding throughout the duration of Performa 17 to immerse audiences in powerful messages grounded in activism, feminism, and community while exploring the role and power of mass media.
“For more than four decades, Barbara Kruger has occupied a unique place between high art and popular culture, between histories, disciplines, and generations,” says RoseLee Goldberg, Founding Director and Chief Curator of Performa. “With this commission, Kruger’s intention to make deeply informed work that is accessible and ‘in the world’ meshes seamlessly with Performa’s vision to use live performance as a platform to do both. It’s remarkable that she is as widely known to millennials as she is to the museum and collector worlds. Kruger’s work is ‘forever radical.’”
The visual identity for Performa 17 is designed by Kruger and adopted across the biennial’s logo, website, social media, and digital and printed marketing materials, created in collaboration with Project Projects.
Kruger’s iconic typography captures the intensity of life in the city, the impact of commercial branding on our daily lives, and the necessity of the critically resistant voice of the artist in the public domain. Kruger’s Performa Commission and Biennial visual identity interact and intertwine to blur the lines between branding, public art, performance, commerce, and appropriation.
Founded in 2004 by art historian and curator RoseLee Goldberg, Performa is the leading organization dedicated to exploring the critical role of live performance in the history of twentieth-century art and to encouraging new directions in performance for the twenty-first century. Since launching New York’s first performance biennial, Performa 05, in 2005, the organization has solidified its identity as a commissioning and producing entity. As a “museum without walls,” Performa contributes important art historical heft to the field by showing the development of live art in all its forms from many different cultural perspectives, reaching back to the Renaissance.
Celebrated worldwide as the first biennial to give special attention to this remarkable history, the Performa Biennial transforms the city of New York into the “world capital of artists’ performance” every other November, attracting a national and international audience of more than 200,000 and garnering more than five million website hits during its three-week run. In the last decade, Performa has presented nearly 600 performances, worked with more than 700 artists, and toured commissioned performances in nearly 20 countries around the world.
The Performa curatorial team is led by Chief Curator RoseLee Goldberg, and includes Performa Curators Adrienne Edwards and Charles Aubin, with contributions from Job Piston (Special Projects), Lydia Brawner (Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellow), Jens Hoffman (Curator), and Performa Consortium curators. Performa 17 is produced by Esa Nickle and Maaike Gouwenberg.
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