Organisers of the seventh edition of the Performa biennial in New York have released an initial list of commissioned artists. This iteration of the show, which is on from 1-19 November, responds to the history of the Dada movement, which was “more performance than object-making,” says RoseLee Goldberg, the founding director and chief curator of the organisation.
The ten artists announced include William Kentridge, Kemang Wa Lehulere, Zanele Muholi, Tracey Rose, all from South Africa; the American, Ethiopian-born artist Julie Mehretu, who will work on a project with the American jazz pianist Jason Moran; the French artist Jimmy Robert and Wangechi Mutu from Kenya.
The diverse roster aims to show that “the experimentation and invention that came out of Dada had a huge impact on artists across a broad cross-section of disciplines and geographies,” Goldberg says.
The historical section of the biennial is titled 100 Degrees Above Dada after the 1961 exhibition 40° au-dessus de Dada, which was organised by the late French art critic Pierre Restany. Conceptually, Performa will examine some of the socio-political implications of the movement, such as fetishism of other cultures and gender imbalance in the art world.
The Dadaist’s “had a fascination with the ‘primitive’ and ‘exotic’, and many women involved in Dada used radical dance as an entry-point into the avant-garde.” Goldberg says. “Now, more than ever, we are very conscious of addressing the issues that drive a work."