Portnoy (Born 1936) Improvises – with an introduction by Claire Bishop
— Michael Portnoy

Friday, 24 May 2019, 7pm
The Swiss Church, 79 Endell St, London WC2H 9DY

UK premiere, supported by Arts Council England. With thanks to Pramma.

Tickets on sale here.

Renowned performance artist Michael Portnoy has also revealed the shocking news that he is 35 years older than he has claimed and has been disguising his true age with prosthetic makeup throughout his career. At the festival, in Portnoy (Born 1936) Improvises, he reveals himself 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 New York in the late 1950s, discussing his influences and antagonisms within the avant-garde communities of dance, poetry and visual art.

Michael Portnoy (b. 1936, USA) is a visual and performing artist based in New York. Coming from a background in dance and experimental comedy, his performance-based work employs a variety of media: from participatory installations to theatre, sculpture, video, writing, painting and curation. Portnoy has presented internationally in museums, art galleries and theatres, including recently Steirischer Herbst, Graz, Austria (2018); Akademie der Künste der Welte, Cologne (2017); KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2017); Playground, STUK, Leuven (2016, 2014); Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool (2016); Witte de With, Rotterdam, (2016); Centre Pompidou, Paris, (2015); Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2014); Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2013); The Kitchen, New York (2013); dOCUMENTA 13, Kassel (2012); 11th Baltic Triennial (co-curator), Vilnius (2012); the Taipei Biennial, Taipei (2010) and Malmö Art Academy, Malmö, Sweden, among others.

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). Bishop is a regular contributor to Artforum, and her essays and books have been translated into 18 languages. Her current research investigates the intersection of attention and technology in contemporary art and performance.


Photos by   Manuela Barczewski