Five Lectures on Live Performance


From the origins of Western theater in Ancient Greece to the immersive experiences of Sleep No More, live performances – whether dance, music, theater, oration or some combination thereof – have been both entertainment and a foundational element of civic life.

Public assembly and performance have served as platform for discourse, outlet for social critique, site for communal engagement and tactic for collectively imagining other possible worlds. But what do the terms “performance” and “public” mean in the hyper-mediated, ubiquitously networked, always-on world of the 21st Century? Why do we continue to seek live, social experiences and how is the art of performance changing with the times?

From May 5 – June 9, 2014 critic, curator and cultural provocateur Andy Horwitz will share his iconoclastic views on the practice and position of performance at the intersection of economics, politics and society. Over the course of five weekly lectures, Horwitz will address a wide range of topics ranging from the power of live performance in the digital age to income equality and the economics of cultural production in the performing arts.

Drawing from his extensive body of critical writing on, the findings of The Brooklyn Commune Project’s report on arts, economics and cultural production in the performing arts, and his years of experience as a curator, producer and artist advocate, Horwitz will weave these disparate but interrelated topics together to offer a uniquely insightful perspective into the current state of performance and its possible futures.

Lecture topics include: The Importance of Being Here: Live Art in the Digital Age, A Decade of Change: NYC as Global City (2004 – 2014), Irrational Exuberance: The Performing Arts Market Explained, Performance at an Exhibition, and Collaboration, Creativity & The American Revolution(s).

Lectures will be held Mondays May 5 – June 9 at 6:30PM in Dean’s Conference Room, Tisch School of the Arts, 721 Broadway, 12th Floor, NYC. Admission is FREE and each lecture will be followed by an open discussion. RSVP on the Facebook page.

This series is made possible with support from the Institute of Performing Arts (IPA) at Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. Special thanks to Associate Dean, Allyson Green, and the Department of Dance, Cherylyn Lavagnino and Sean Curran, Co-Chairs. Special thanks also to William Moulton and Paul Galando, Tisch Dance.


Monday, May 5
The Importance of Being Here: Live Art in the Digital Age

Why is live performance important in the digital world and how do new ideas and emergent technologies provide new ways of interpreting how live performance functions in contemporary culture? Andy will expand on the ideas proposed on his new blog, Ephemeral Objects: Art Criticism for the Post-Material World, for which he received a 2013 Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers grant.

Monday, May 12*
A Decade of Change: NYC as Global City (2004 – 2014)

Based on the essay of the same name, Andy will offer an overview of the transformation of the city, the implications for artists living and working in NYC and the opportunities it presents for strengthening regional cultural production.

*Please note, this lecture will be held at 721 Broadway in the Drama Department’s Studio 1 on the 2nd Floor

Monday, May 19
Irrational Exuberance: The Performing Arts Market Explained

An examination of the performing arts market in NYC from 2004 – 2014 as viewed through the lens of the APAP conference and related showcases. Andy will address issues of supply and demand and the relationship between economic and cultural structures in the current nonprofit performing arts, aesthetic bias and resource allocation.

Monday, June 2
Performance at an Exhibition

An exploration of how the “rediscovery of performance” in the visual art market has affected the aesthetics, conditions and discourse of dance and contemporary performance. What are the economic and political implications of the museum’s embrace of spectacle and ephemerality and how has this informed – and been informed by – NYC’s transformation into a Global City?

Monday, June 9
Collaboration, Creativity & The American Revolution(s)

Inspired in part by Joseph J. Ellis’ Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation, this lecture will explore the collaborative, improvisatory creative process that led to the invention of America in the immediate post-Revolutionary period and how that appears in the aesthetics and cultural production practices in contemporary American performance. What might this mean for artists in the 21st century, how can collaborative, creative practices inform artistic citizenship and revolutionize democracy in America?

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