Tony Clifton Lives! A Truly Offensive Performance Hosted by Maccarone Gallery

(Photo by Andrew Russeth)

Andy Kaufman is the only other person besides Elvis Presley to continuously perpetuate a half-serious belief among the public that the rumors of his death have been greatly exaggerated. According to his official web site, Kaufman died at the age of 35 on the evening of May 16, 1984, from a rare form of lung cancer. The fact that his alter-ego, Tony Clifton, a lounge act from hell who is a perfect mix of Robert Goulet at his schlockiest and Vegas-era Elvis at his least lucid, continues to make live appearances hasn’t helped anyone rule out that his death was a hoax. In the ’70s, when Kaufman created the character, it could be hard to tell if it was Kaufman himself playing Tony Clifton, or his frequent collaborator Bob Zmuda, or someone else altogether. A lot of people thought Tony Clifton was just some ass hole washed-up lounge singer. So, Tony Clifton was Tony Clifton, a performance piece so believable that the act transformed into a live suspension of disbelief; it ceased to matter who was portraying him, or if he was fictional at all. Read More


David Levine’s ‘Habit’ Will Be Performed at Essex Street Market in September

Still from Habit performance at Luminato, 2011.

Habit, an art installation/one-act play billed as “The Real World meets No Exit” by experimental director David Levine, will be coming to New York City in the fall. In past performances, Habit has been staged inside a “four-walled, fully furnished and functional American ranch house” where three actors perform a 90-minute play on a loop for eight hours everyday for 10 days. The actors eat when they are hungry, shower, go to the bathroom and basically live normally inside the house while reciting their lines. The audience looks in through windows set up around the house’s perimeter. Read More


Watch Ragnar Kjartansson’s Live Performance at Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami

Kjartansson. (Courtesy Performa)

Below you’ll find a live video stream for Ragnar Kjartansson’s opening night performance at the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami, which is holding the artist’s first solo American museum exhibition, “Song.” The performance, of Mr. Kjartansson’s recent work Du Holde Kunstis, is being streamed live via the museum’s website, who were kind enough to share it with us. The performance goes live around 7:15 p.m. or a bit after. Read More


Marina Abramovic Wanted to Open Her Performance Art Institute in Bushwick, But Brooklyn Was Too Toxic

14 Photos

The Abramovic Method

Marina Abramovic, the iconoclastic performance artist (aren’t they all?) was in Queens today to talk about her “legacy” in Hudson, N.Y., a project that it turns out was nearly built in Brooklyn. “It was impossible to find the right location,” she explained to a crowd of nearly a hundred arts journalists assembled inside the giant Kraftwerk dome in the MoMA PS1 courtyard.

Instead, she settled on the upstate town along the river with which it shares a name, for the new Marina Abramovic Institute, the embodiment of her life’s work, but also more, she insisted. “Why I didn’t want to make a foundation?” she asked herself. “Because a foundation shows only your own art. For me, it was important to create a situation for other forms, as well.”

“Why my name?” she continued. “I feel like I could become a brand, like Coca-Cola, or Levis for jeans. My names is now about performing art.”

But will crowds truly flock to Hudson to engage in long-duration art, as Ms. Abramovic characterizes the work to take place at her institute, where “who is the performer and who is the audience is impossible to tell,” Serge Le Borgne, the institute’s director, said. Read More


Clifford Owens and Kara Walker at MoMA PS1: An Epilogue With RoseLee Goldberg

Clifford Owens, Studio Visits: Studio Museum of Harlem, 2005. Part of Performa 05. Performance view with RoseLee Goldberg. Courtesy the artist and the Studio Museum in Harlem.

Last week, artist Clifford Owens told The Observer in an interview that he planned to force a sex act on an audience member for his final performance at MoMA PS1. The performance, based on a score written by artist Kara Walker, called for French kissing an audience member and demanding sex. He had performed it several times during his 10-month residency at the museum, and planned to take the performance further and to break out of a comfort zone he had settled into. In response to the news of Mr. Owens’s plans, which we shared in search of comment, Ms. Walker responded via email that she wasn’t aware of his plans for his final performance and stated, “If he goes through with it he leaves no room for imagination or freedom of choice.” The next day, when she withdrew her involvement from Mr. Owens’s performance, demanding, via email, that he “cease and desist” from using her score, The Observer found itself an unwitting participant in the evolution of that last performance. Read More


‘You Know You Want It, Baby’: Clifford Owens Is Joined by Kara Walker, in Her First Live Performance

Kara Walker and Clifford Owens at MoMA PS1. Courtesy Rozalia Jovanovic.

The artist Kara Walker had a surprise cameo today in Clifford Owens’s last performance in his exhibition “Anthology” at MoMA PS1. It was a resolution, it seemed, of what began unfolding last week when Mr. Owens made known to Gallerist in an interview his intention to force a sex act on an audience member during his last performance in accordance with a set of instructions Ms. Walker had given to him to enact. Yet, while Ms. Walker had supplied the instructions, or a “score” as Mr. Owens calls them (as did 27 other artists) she had no idea, we learned from her in an email, that he planned to take her instructions so literally for this performance, instructions which read, in part, “Force them against a wall and demand Sex.” As a result, she called off her involvement with the performance. Thus, when the door opened today and Ms. Walker appeared and walked slowly toward Mr. Owens, the performance, we knew, had taken a turn no one could have expected. Read More


Kara Walker Withdraws Involvement from Clifford Owens Performance

Clifford Owens. Anthology (Kara Walker), detail. C-print. 16x24 inches. Image courtesy On Stellar Rays.

The artist Kara Walker has withdrawn a piece scheduled to be performed by the artist Clifford Owens as part of his “Anthology” series at MoMA PS1 this Sunday.

The exhibition includes a series of performances in which Mr. Owens interprets instructions, or what he calls a “score,” given to him by many other artists, including Ms. Walker, whose piece includes a demand for sex and mention of a “forced sex act.” Read More