Paweł Althamer's Common Task, Brussels, 2009. Courtesy the artist; Foksal Gallery Foundation, Warsaw; neugerriemschneider, Berlin and Open Art Projects, Warsaw.

About Performa 13

Performa is the only biennial dedicated to commissioning, presenting and exploring new visual art performance across disciplines. For three weeks Performa and a consortium of arts organizations will band together to transform New York City into the performance capital of the world.

More than 100 separate events presented at over 40 venues will showcase new work in an innovative program, breaking down the boundaries between visual art, music, dance, poetry, fashion, architecture, graphic design, and the culinary arts. Presented in collaboration with a consortium of more than 50 arts institutions and over 50 curators.

Founded by RoseLee Goldberg in 2004, Performa is the leading organization dedicated to exploring the critical role of live performance in the history of twentieth-century art and to encouraging new directions in performance for the twenty-first century. Performa launched New York’s first performance biennial, Performa 05, in 2005, followed by Performa 07 (2007), Performa 09 (2009), and Performa 11 (2011).


Our historical anchor this year is Surrealism, and the programming will reflect more than eighteen months of curatorial research and investigation on this topic. Performa 13 will address the legacy of Surrealism with such key inputs in modern and contemporary art as the liberation of the psyche, poetry, "the marvelous," and artists’ engagement with politics.

Central to the biennial will be the crucial role artists play to envision new kinds of citizenship for the twenty-first century by nurturing and championing new ways and desires to live together, wherever they may be. Idiosyncratic uses of the voice by performers will also be explored during the biennial; the disembodied voice, the voice as instrument of desire and menace, sound and song, and as a platform for the language of persuasion, coercion, seduction, and violence.