When we hear the word "curator" we might think of the iconic fictional character of Bette Porter--someone who works in a museum or gallery with a vision for how paintings, sculptures, and wall texts are put together for a show. In this class we will expand on this idea of the curator to explore what happens when we add performance to the task of curation. Or, put differently, we will ask what happens when we remove performance from the more theatrical tradition to add it into the gallery and museum space. Thinking between performance studies, visual art, and museum studies, this course explores the role of the performance curator. Connecting performance curation to community engagement, social practice, and transformative justice, we will explore the ways in which performance might address questions of racial inequality, gender variance, class access, and dis/ability. We will ask: How does performance live in art institutions? How do you compensate a performer for a fleeting piece of work? How does performance help us reimagine the space of the art institution itself? Does performance curation make possible new genres of performance? Can, and how, might we apply its practices back to more traditional theater contexts at the university, in the art world, and beyond?
In this class students will explore theories of performance curation as a practice of not only selecting and choosing, but of building relationships. We will look at museum shows, arts organizations, and performance scholars to eventually build individual proposals for our own performance events. Artists and scholars to be discussed include Nivald Acosta, Mariana Valencia, Justin Allen, Morgan Bassichis, Jamie Shearn Coan, Ralph Lemon, Thomas Lax, Adrienne Edwards, Tourmaline, Carolyn Lazard, The Poetry Project, Center for Experimental Lectures, Wendy's Subway, Adult Contemporary, and more.