On the Town

Launched during the Performa 2021 Biennial, On the Town, A Performa Compendium: 2016–2021 provides a vivid account of the most important public conversations and debates of the past five years around performance and the visual arts—from demands for racial justice to the pandemic to the impact of social media on human interactions.

This new book documents the 2017 and 2019 editions of the Performa Biennial along with the organization’s public programs, films, and exhibitions since 2016. It features documentation of Performa Commissions and projects by more than one hundred international artists, choreographers, architects, musicians, theater and film directors, including Korakrit Arunanondchai, Nairy Baghramian, Yto Barrada, Elizabeth Diller, Maria Hassabi, William Kentridge, Barbara Kruger, Julie Mehretu, Jason Moran, Zanele Muholi, Gaetano Pesce, Paul Pfeiffer, Yvonne Rainer, Kemang Wa Lehulere, Mabel O. Wilson, and more.

Fully illustrated with performance stills, On the Town includes in-depth interviews with artists and context-setting essays by some of the most important writers today, such as Adrienne Edwards, Noam M. Elcott, Legacy Russell, and Sue Williamson.

On the Town, A Performa Compendium: 2016–2021 is published by Performa and Gregory R. Miller & Co.

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Publications have been an important component of Performa’s activities from the outset and are the result of our commitment to and belief in the importance of writing, documenting, educating, and publishing about live art.

Following each biennial, we publish a catalog that provides an overview of contemporary performance using as a framework the structure of the Performa Biennial, as well as the history and geography of the participating artists and collaborating organizations.

These publications are templates for bookmaking on ephemeral art and reference guides for the commissioning, producing, and presentation of contemporary performance that addresses the art and politics of our time.

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