performance art

Performa’s ‘Happy Days in the Art World’ Headed to Scandinavia

elmgreen dragset happy days in the art world 2011 work in progress photo copyright elmar vestner Performas Happy Days in the Art World Headed to Scandinavia

From the show. (Courtesy Elmar Vestner)

The organizers of the Performa performance art biennial announced today that this summer they will take a high-profile commission from last fall’s Performa 11 on the road.

The piece was a play by artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset called Happy Days in the Art World, a light satire of Samuel Beckett that opened Performa 11 and ribbed the art establishment. The play is headed to Denmark and Norway.

Full release below:


Bergen International Festival, May 24 – 26, 2012
The Royal Danish Theater, June 2012

New York, NY, March TK, 2012 – Performa is pleased to announce upcoming Performa 11 Commissions which will tour internationally in the spring and summer of 2012. Following the widely celebrated fourth edition of the new visual art performance biennial, Performa 11 (November 1 – 21, 2011), Performa 11 Commission artists Elmgreen & Dragset, will present their critically acclaimed Performa Commission at the Bergen International Festival. The Performa Commissions provide unparalleled support for artists at all levels of development and production, presenting the finished work in the context of a world-class biennial. Produced by Performa, Performa Commissions tour internationally following their New York premieres during the Performa Biennial.

Performa Founding Director and Curator RoseLee Goldberg says, “We spend many months with each artist to help develop visionary projects that are artistically innovative and emotionally and intellectually compelling. Each Performa Commission creates an extraordinary live experience that engages the viewer and allows for a strong connection between artists and audiences. We are thrilled that three of our Performa 11 Commissions will tour, extending the lives of these significant and inspiring works to new audiences and new contexts.”

Scandinavian artists Elmgreen & Dragset (Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset) will present their celebrated Performa 11 Commission, Happy Days in the Art World, at the Bergen International Festival, Norway, from May 24 – 26, and The Royal Danish Theater, Copenhagen, in June. Drawing references from Samuel Beckett’s play Happy Days (1961), this darkly comic self-portrait of the two artists unveils their personal history together, their experience of being a “single work of art,” and their fears about what will happen to their substantial art careers when they break up. In the tradition of Beckett’s absurdist theater, the production takes place on a conventional proscenium stage with minimal sets designed by the artists. Happy Days in the Art World premiered to a packed house in New York during Performa 11, and featured renowned actors Joseph Fiennes and Charles Edwards as well as actress Kim Criswell, and directed by Toby Frow. The performances in Bergen and Copenhagen will be translated into Danish and Norwegian by the artists and feature Ole Johan Skjelbred, 
Johannes Lilleøre and 
Karin Norrinder.

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