November 10, 2012 - The Museum of Modern Art, New York - How Are We Performing Today?
November 10, 2012

How Are We Performing Today?

© Andreas Siekmann, 2012.

How Are We Performing Today?
New Formats, Places, and Practices of Performance-Related Art

November 16 and 17, 2012, 1–7pm

The Museum of Modern Art, New York
The Celeste Bartos Theater
The Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Education and Research Building 
4 West 54 Street
New York, NY 10019
212 708 9400


How Are We Performing Today? examines the shifting conditions and rising popularity of performance-related art, and its evolving—and frequently ambivalent—relationship to the museum. Drawing on the double meaning of “performance” as both a live element in the arts and a benchmark for economic productivity, the conference seeks to understand the character and consequences of new performance formats and strategies used by artists, curators, and institutions. Moreover, it explores how performance is tied to the experience economy—in which memory itself is a product—and how it is framed institutionally. The program of prominent scholars, artists, and curators addresses questions including: Where and under what conditions does performance art emerge today? How can artists and institutions address performance’s migration from the margin to the center of contemporary art discourse? What kinds of transformations or conditions might be necessary to create a meaningful or critically engaged performance art program within the museum?

Through this conference, MoMA’s Department of Media and Performance Art seeks to deepen its engagement with the theory and practice of performance-related art—reflecting on the medium’s changing parameters, modes of production, and presentation.

November 16


Sabine Breitwieser, Chief Curator, Department of Media and Performance Art, MoMA

Keynote Address
Judith Butler, Professor of Rhetoric and Comparative Literature and Co-director of the Program of Critical Theory, University of California, Berkeley
Shannon Jackson, Professor in the Arts and Humanities, University of California, Berkeley
Moderator: Sabine Breitwieser, Chief Curator, Department of Media and Performance Art, MoMA

Session 1: The Places of Performance
Rachel Haidu, Associate Professor in the Department of Art and Art History and the Graduate Program in Visual and Cultural Studies, University of Rochester
Andrea Fraser, Artist, Professor for New Genres, University of California, Los Angeles
Moderator: Johanna Burton, Director, graduate program at the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College

November 17

Session 2: New Formats
Pierre Bal-Blanc, Director, CAC Brétigny, Paris, France
Boris Charmatz, Director, Rennes and Brittany National Choreographic Centre (Musée de la Danse)
Tim Griffin, Executive Director and Chief Curator, The Kitchen, New York
Stephanie Rosenthal, Chief Curator, Hayward Gallery, London
Moderator: Ana Janevski, Associate Curator of Performance, Department of Media and Performance Art, MoMA

Session 3: New Artistic Practices

Film screening: Grand Openings. Return of the Blogs, by Loretta Fahrenholz
Jutta Koether, artist, writer, and Professor, Hochschule für bildende Künste (HfbK), Hamburg
Jay Sanders, Curator of Performance, The Whitney Museum of the American Art, New York
Simon Leung, artist and Professor of Art, University of California, Irvine
Emily Roysdon, artist and writer
Moderator: Claire Bishop, Associate Professor in Art History, CUNY Graduate Center, New York

Archival Case Studies
Jonathan Lill, Project Archivist, MoMA
Michelle Elligott, Archivist, MoMA
David Senior, Bibliographer, MoMA

Organized by Sabine Breitwieser, Chief Curator, and Ana Janevski, Associate Curator of Performance, with Leora Morinis, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Media and Performance Art.

How Are We Performing Today? is made possible by MoMA’s Wallis Annenberg Fund for Innovation in Contemporary Art through the Annenberg Foundation. 

Live-stream the conference at
Find out more about the symposium and other performance-related events at




How Are We Performing Today?: The Annual Performance Symposium at MoMA
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
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