Performance in the Museum: Curation, Dramaturgy, and Contemporary Performance Practice
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Level: Undergraduate
Division: The New School for Public Engagement
School: Bachelor's Program for Adults and Transfer Students
Department: Humanities
Course Number: NARH 3224
Course Format: Seminar
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
  • Gender and Sexuality Studies
In recent years, visual arts institutions have become increasingly interested in curating performance. In New York City alone, organizations such as the Museum of Modern Art, The New Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Guggenheim have developed new platforms for presenting performance as well as novel approaches to utilizing performance as means of both public engagement and a way to expand the museums archive. Taking these New York City based examples as our point of departure, this course will explore the relationship of performance to contemporary art, asking what kinds of forces have reoriented institutions around performance as well as in what ways performance reorganizes the institution. With an eye towards the market, this course will center its discussion around the increasingly blurred roles between performance curators and performance dramaturgs. Thinking both critically and practically, students will be asked to consider how we might create space for performance in a field dominated by objects. While readings and discussions will focus on art and cultural theory and criticism, class projects will involve conceiving of new public platforms for performance, developing language to address these temporal practices and invite students to apply both performative and dramaturgical approaches to their own scholarship. These discussion will be further explored through opportunities to engage with a number performers and curators among New York’s downtown performance community. In other words, what kinds of critical, artistic and theoretical tools might be mobilized to meet the demands performance places on the visual arts? What role does description play in articulating ephemera events? And in what ways might be bridge and/or define the gap between theory and practice?
Course Open to: Degree Students