Performance Space New York, founded in an abandoned school in the East Village in 1980 and a downtown destination for outré art ever since, announced a radical restructuring for the coming year, with duties related to running the organization handed over to a group of artists chosen to take the charge.
“The artists have received keys to the spaces, have moved into our business offices, and will move into our theaters next month. … Our total annual production budget is at the artists’ full disposal to pay themselves a wage and develop their programmatic platforms,” reads a letter signed by executive artistic director Jenny Schlenzka and Sarah Michelson, a celebrated choreographer who will help lead the artist-led cohort in a project called “02020.”
The artists will have “full transparency into the organization’s inner workings and full artistic control of our programming including oversight of the website,” reads the letter, which goes on to say: “We know artistic practice is changing, that the world is changing, and that we need to be ready to adjust. We are betting on an artist-recalibrated institutional mission as a catalyst for futurist art practice.”
The group of artists chosen during a six-month process comprises Janice Amaya, members of BRUJAS (Arianna Gil, Dada Coz, Sarah Snider, Antonia Perez, and Ripley Soprano), Jonathan González, Monica Mirabile, and the New Red Order (a collective led by Adam Khalil, Zack Khalil, and Jackson Polys). Michelson, a recipient of a 2019 MacArthur Foundation “Genius” grant, is described as the “inceptor” of the project and an “ecologist in service of the group and staff in a continually developing role and relationship.”
The letter holds out the promise of further plans to be revealed in mid-February. For now, another part of the letter reads: “Our stratified economic and political climate generates an urgency to open boundaries and widen access. With the artists and staff working together within the belly of the beast, we hope to devise future modeling for more lateral working partnerships and reform the mission statement to reflect this changing world. The entire Performance Space staff has been and will continue working in close collaboration with the artists during 2020 and beyond.”