Five Lectures on Performance Now Online

From May 5 – June 9, 2014 critic, curator and cultural provocateur Andy Horwitz gave a series of five lectures on live performance at NYU. Drawing from his extensive body of critical writing on Culturebot.org, the findings of The Brooklyn Commune Project’s report on the economics of cultural production in the performing arts, and his years of experience as a curator, producer and artist advocate, over the course of five lectures Horwitz weaves disparate but interrelated topics together to offer a uniquely insightful perspective into the current state of performance and its possible futures. They are now available on Vimeo, SoundCloud and iTunes.

These lectures were made possible with support from the Tisch Initiative for Creative Research at the Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, (Dana Whitco, Director). Special thanks to Allyson Green, Dean of the Tisch School of the Arts; the Department of Dance, Cherylyn Lavagnino and Sean Curran, Co-Chairs. Special thanks also to William Moulton and Paul Galando, Tisch Dance.

The inaugural lecture, “The Importance of Being Here: Live Art in the Digital Age”, given on May 5, 2014, discussed why live art is essential in the digital world and how new ideas and emergent technologies provide new ways of interpreting how live performance functions in contemporary culture. In this lecture Andy expands on the ideas proposed on his blog, “Ephemeral Objects: Art Criticism for the Post-Material World“, for which he received a 2014 Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers grant.


In the second lecture, “A Decade of Change: NYC as Global City (2004 – 2014)”, given May 12, 2014, Andy examines the economic, cultural and structural transformation of NYC between 2004 – 2014, the implications of those changes for artists living and working in NYC and the opportunities it presents for strengthening regional cultural production.


On May 19, 2014 the third lecture was titled “Irrational Exuberance: The Performing Arts Market Explained”. Here Andy examined the performing arts market in NYC from 2004 – 2014 as viewed through the lens of the APAP conference and related showcases. Taking a historical and global perspective, Andy addresses issues of supply and demand and the relationship between economic and cultural structures in the current nonprofit performing arts, aesthetic bias and resource allocation.


On June 2, 2014 the fourth lecture topic was “Performance at an Exhibition” where Andy explored 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 historical, aesthetic and philosophical contexts of this trend, 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?


The lecture series concluded on June 9, 2014 with “Collaboration, Creativity and The American Revolution(s)”. Inspired in part by Joseph J. Ellis’ Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation, this lecture explores 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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