Performance art

Barbara Kruger to stage first live performance for New York’s Performa festival

The work Untitled (The Drop) will take place on three consecutive Thursdays in November

Barbara Kruger, Untitled (Whose) (2017) Barbara Kruger

The artist Barbara Kruger, best known for her text-based photo works that riff critically on the mass media, is due to stage her “first live performance” as part of New York’s Performa Biennial on 2 November, according to the art festival’s calendar. But the event’s organisers are keeping the details surrounding Kruger’s upcoming work, Untitled (The Drop), secret for now. “We want to allow these things to seep out gradually, so that will be the last part of the story,” says RoseLee Goldberg, Performa’s founder and director. What is known is that the performance will take place on three consecutive Thursdays in November, from 4 pm to 8 pm, at the Markus Miessen-designed Hub in SoHo, the festival’s headquarters. Tickets are $5.

Kruger will unveil several other projects at the performance art festival—she has even lent a hand to its branding—which opens across multiple venues throughout the city in November. She is installing her signature white-on-red text banners at the Lower Eastside Skatepark below Manhattan Bridge, where skaters will ride over and around statements such as “Whose hopes? Whose fears? Whose values? Whose justice?” Kruger is also creating a billboard that will rise above Chelsea at 17th and 10th streets and is completely enfolding a school bus in texts that the festival will then use as a mobile site for community outreach. For Goldberg, even when static, all of Kruger’s projects are performative, turned on by their interactions with each other and the activity around them.

Goldberg approached Kruger with the commission last year, shortly after the US presidential election, because her statements “felt like they were all about the political times in which we’re living,” she says. According to the director, Kruger was eager to display her work as publicly as possible. “I said: ‘Let’s make this Barbara Kruger takes New York,’” Goldberg recalls.