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Courses & Workshops

Between Bodies and Objects: Performance in Contemporary Art

This six-week course will help to contextualize and make sense of the current proliferation of performance in museum and gallery settings. How do we understand the notion of an art object in the context of performance? What role does the body—both of the performer and of the spectator—play in live art? What are the disciplinary boundaries of theater, choreography, and performance art? Are these categorizations productive or are they breaking down? This course will trace the historical roots of performance in American visual art and situate the present performative impulse within the changing landscape of modern art in the late twentieth century and early twenty-first century. We will highlight recent and current exhibitions that feature performance as a primary element, including a special session with Jay Sanders, the Whitney’s curator and curator of performance. This course includes a guided tour of downtown galleries.

Instructors: Jennie Goldstein, a Joan Tisch Teaching Fellow at the Whitney Museum since 2011, is currently a Ph.D. candidate in art history at Stony Brook University where she studies late modern and contemporary art. Her area of focus is on intersections of visual art and dance, and her in-progress dissertation, “Moving Bodies, Moving Things: Convergences of Art and Dance, 1960–1975,” reveals historical underpinnings for the recent surge in dance in museums. Prior to pursuing her doctorate she worked as a curatorial assistant and senior curatorial assistant at the Whitney, where she contributed to many exhibitions and publications.

Suzanne Hudson is Assistant Professor, Modern and Contemporary Art, at the University of Southern California. She is co-founder of the Contemporary Art Think Tank and president of the College Art Association-affiliated Society of Contemporary Art Historians. A regular contributor to Artforum, she is the author of Robert Ryman: Used Paint (MIT Press, 2009) and the co-editor of Contemporary Art: 1989–Present (Wiley-Blackwell, 2013). Her book Painting Now is forthcoming from Thames & Hudson.

Six Thursdays: October 17, 24, and 31; November 7, 14, and 21

Morning Session: 9:30–11 am
OR
Afternoon Session: 1:30–3 pm

Sylvia Palacios Whitman (b. 1941), Passing Through, performance at Sonnabend Gallery, New York, May 20, 1977. Courtesy the artist.  Photograph by Babette Mangolte; © 1977 All reproduction rights reserved 

Sylvia Palacios Whitman (b. 1941), Passing Through, performance at Sonnabend Gallery, New York, May 20, 1977. Courtesy the artist.  Photograph by Babette Mangolte; © 1977 All reproduction rights reserved