Cities, Dead and Alive (Despair is Not an Option): Jem Cohen and Luc Sante with Sukhdev Sandhu, Ryan Sawyer, and Jace Clayton on December 6, 2015, presented at MoMA PS1 as part of VW Sunday Sessions 2015-2016. Photo by Charles Roussel.

Film-maker Jem Cohen presents films that speak to the enduringly vibrant street life and creativity of New York City and its boroughs; writer Luc Sante reads from his own work, including excerpts from his latest publication The Other Paris (2015).

Cohen and Sante join writer Sukhdev Sandhu to discuss city life both past and present and the many ways in which community, creative activity, and the unearthing of lost histories runs counter to the rising tide of corporate development and economic imbalance.

A selection of Cohen’s films are accompanied by a live improvised score by New York based musicians, Ryan Sawyer and Jace Clayton.

Organized by Sukhdev Sandhu and Mark Beasley, this event is presented in conjunction with Greater New York.

MoMA PS1’s acclaimed VW Sunday Sessions performance series welcomes visitors to experience and participate in live art. Since its founding in 1976, MoMA PS1 has offered audiences one of the most extensive programs of live performance in the world. VW Sunday Sessions highlights artists responding to contemporary social and political issues through a wide variety of creative and critical lenses. Encompassing performance, music, dance, conversation, and film, the series develops and presents projects by established and emerging artists, scholars, activists, and other cultural instigators. With a focus on artists that blur and break traditional genre boundaries, VW Sunday Sessions embraces the communities in New York City that create and sustain artistic practice.

Since 2012, VW Sunday Sessions has presented a commissioning program resulting in new work by Trajal Harrell, Mårten Spångberg, Anne Imhof, Tobias Madison and Matthew Lutz Kinoy, Hannah Black, and Colin Self. Additionally, the VW Dome Artist Residency offers a platform for creative development and experimentation for artists at all stages of the creative process.

Sunday Sessions is organized by Jenny Schlenzka, Associate Curator, with Mark Beasley, Guest Curator, Alex Sloane, Curatorial Assistant; Rosey Selig-Addiss, Associate Producer and Lucy Lie, Production Assistant.

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Sunday Sessions and the VW Dome at MoMA PS1 are made possible by a partnership with Volkswagen of America.

Major support for Greater New York is provided by MoMA’s Wallis Annenberg Fund for Innovation in Contemporary Art through the Annenberg Foundation.

Generous funding is provided by The Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art, The Friends of Education of The Museum of Modern Art, and The Junior Associates of The Museum of Modern Art.

Additional support is provided by the MoMA PS1 Annual Exhibition Fund.

Special thanks to Elham and Tony Salamé.

This performance accompanies Greater New York.
This performance is part of VW Sunday Sessions 2015-16.