Theatrical and staged elements have been a key feature of visual art throughout the 20th century. Movements like Futurism, Dada, and Bauhaus employed theater, dance, music, and poetry with live or broadcast performances to engage with audiences. In the 1960s and 1970s, performance gained renewed momentum when artists conceived of Happenings, Fluxus, "actions," experimental dance, and site-specific interventions.
Throughout its history MoMA has been host to many artworks involving live and performative elements, from Jean Tinguely’s Homage to New York (1960) to Francis Alÿs’s The Modern Procession (2002). Others were unsolicited and sometimes subversive artist actions, like Yayoi Kusama’s Grand Orgy to Awaken the Dead at MoMA (1969) or Guerrilla Art Action Group’s Blood Bath (1969). While most of these activities previously took place at the periphery of MoMA's exhibition program, the 2008 addition of "and Performance Art" to what was then called the Department of Media introduced performance art as a central component in the Museum's programming. Read more
James Lee Byars
Trajal Harrell: In one step are a thousand animals
Charles Gaines: Manifestos 2
Simone Forti and Charlemagne Palestine: illlummminnnatttionnnsssss!!!!!!!
Eszter Salamon: Dance for Nothing
Musée de la danse: Three Collective Gestures
Performing Histories: Live Artworks Examining the Past
Some sweet day
Meta-Monumental Garage Sale
Words in the World
View all past performances
The performance program is organized by Ana Janevski, Associate Curator, with Leora Morinis, Curatorial Assistant.
The Performance Program is made possible by MoMA’s Wallis Annenberg Fund for Innovation in Contemporary Art through the Annenberg Foundation.
Image: Trajal Harrell. Used, Abused, and Hung Out to Dry. 2013. © 2014 The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Photo by Yi-Chun Wu