Performance: ‘Portnoy (Born 1936) Improvises’, 2018

  • Fri 30 November 2018
  • 7 – 9 pm

Internationally renowned performance artist Michael Portnoy has just revealed the shocking news that he is in fact 35 years older than he has claimed to be, and has been disguising his true age throughout his career with prosthetic makeup. In this performance, Portnoy will present himself to us for the first time without a mask, improvising and confusing us in his inimitable way with the collision of movement, language and alien logics. Art historian Claire Bishop will give an introductory lecture on Portnoy’s newly discovered early history in NY in the late 1950s, discussing his influences and antagonisms within the avant-garde communities of dance, poetry and visual art. Claire Bishop is a Professor in the PhD Program in Art History at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. Her books include Installation Art: A Critical History (2005) and Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship (2012), for which she won the 2013 Frank Jewett Mather award, and Radical Museology, or, What’s Contemporary in Museums of Contemporary Art? (2013). She is a regular contributor to Artforum, and her essays and books have been translated into eighteen languages. Her current research investigates the intersection of attention and technology in contemporary art and performance; this semester she is a research fellow in the Jerome Robbins Dance Division of the New York Public Library. Michael Portnoy is a New York-based visual and performing artist. Coming from a background in dance and experimental comedy, his performance-based work employs a variety of media: from participatory installations to theater, sculpture, video, writing, painting, and curation. He has presented internationally in museums, art galleries, and theaters, including recently Steirischer Herbst, Graz, Austria (2018); Akademie der Künste der Welte, Cologne, Germany (2017); KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, Germany (2017); Playground, STUK, Leuven, Belgium (2016, 2014); Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool, UK (2016); Witte de With, Rotterdam, the Netherlands (2016); the Centre Pompidou, Paris, France (2015); Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, the Netherlands (2014); Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France (2013); The Kitchen, New York, USA (2013); dOCUMENTA 13, Kassel, Germany (2012); 11th Baltic Triennial (co-curator), Vilnius, Lithuania (2012); and the Taipei Biennial, Taipei, Taiwan (2010). For more information visit:

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