Floor 3, Theater

Open Rehearsal
Friday, July 19, 2024 from 6–10 pm 

This open rehearsal is accessible to all Museum guests and does not require an additional ticket.

Saturday, July 20, 2024, 6:30 pm, 8:30 pm
Sunday, July 21, 2024, 6:30 pm, 8:30 pm

ASL interpretation will be provided on July 20th at 8:30 pm.

A trained clown, Alex Tatarsky’s performances are highly responsive to venue and audience. They blur disciplinary categories as they careen from scripted sequences to unfettered improvisation. As part of the performance program organized by guest curator Taja Cheek for Whitney Biennial 2024: Even Better Than the Real Thing, Tatarsky considers the multiple meanings of the word “material,” as both the physical substances that comprise an object and the information that becomes a performance. Prompted by an array of items gathered from their clown closet, the garbage, and the audience, they will generate scores and screeds guided by an attempt to follow associative logic and find pleasure amidst mess and failure. Vestiges of the previous night’s performance will remain on view for museumgoers to encounter during the day.

MATERIAL was commissioned by the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Alex Tatarsky (they/them; born 1989 in New York, NY; lives and works in New York, NY, and Philadelphia, PA) makes live performances in the unfortunate in-between zone of dance, theater, performance art, and comedy—drawing on traditions from vaudeville to futurist poetry. Their practice embraces the figure of the bouffon, a European clown type said to live in the swamps at the edge of the kingdom, who was not only allowed to mock the king’s power but rewarded for it. Tatarsky’s original solo pieces have been presented at a wide array of venues including La MaMa, MoMA PS1, The Kitchen, Judson Memorial Church, Playwrights Horizons, and Abrons Arts Center, as well as comedy clubs, bars, basements, and trash heaps. As curatorial fellow at the Poetry Project, they organized a series on the poetics and politics of rot. Along with collaborator Ming Lin, they form one half of Shanzhai Lyric and its fictional office Canal Street Research Association. Tatarsky experienced fleeting fame as Andy Kaufman’s daughter and used to perform as a mound of dirt. 

This project was developed in collaboration with Shane Riley (sound), Andreea Mincic (costumes, props, scenic), Hanna Novak (creative producer), and in conversation with ongoing interlocutors including Lisa Fagan, Nile Harris, Magda San Millan, Iris McCloughan, and Anh Vo.

The Susan and John Hess Family Theater is equipped with an induction loop and infrared assistive listening system. Accessible seating is available.

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