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Laurie Anderson will revisit Nam June Paik’s 1984 Good Morning, Mr. Orwell for Performa telethon (photo courtesy Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York)

Who: Jason Moran, Ragnar Kjartansson, Lang Lang, Yvonne Rainer, Jennifer Rubell, Laurie Anderson, Omer Fast, Maria Hassabi, Jesper Just, William Kentridge, Liz Magic Laser, Rashid Johnson, Shirin Neshat, more
What: Virtual benefit gala for Performa
Where: Pace Gallery
When: Wednesday, November 18, free with RSVP, 2:00 to 10:00 pm
Why: Performa is celebrating its fifteenth anniversary with an eight-hour gala fundraiser featuring live performances, specially commissioned artist editions, and testimonials, an online mashup of Nam June Paik’s 1984 Good Morning, Mr. Orwell and Barbara Kruger’s 1989 critique of Jerry Lewis and his annual MDA Labor Day Telethon, aired live from the seventh floor of Pace Gallery in Chelsea. “Nam June Paik’s innovations in broadcast and large-scale architectural installations of television monitors changed the way we think about the screen as an art form,” Performa founder and director RoseLee Goldberg said in a statement. “Half a century after Paik’s legendary interventions in television, we find ourselves in a unique situation: We must now rely on the screen in new ways in the midst of a pandemic that has cost over one million lives. Like Paik, we approach the screen as an exciting platform for artists to communicate their work and ideas.”

Produced in collaboration with E.S.P. TV, the fundraiser honors founding patron Toby Devan Lewis and will include a giant tally board, confetti, giant checks, balloons, a bank of people on telephones, and other telethon staples while acknowledging the Covid-19 crisis, election unrest, the BLM movement, and other critical contemporary social issues. The show will be highlighted by performances from Derrick Adams & Dave Guy, Jérôme Bel, Torkwase Dyson (reading an excerpt from Myself a Distance), David Hallberg, Glenn Kaino, Ragnar Kjartansson, Lang Lang, Marching Cobras, Jason Moran, Oyinda, Yvonne Rainer, Jennifer Rubell, Jacolby Satterwhite, Rufus Wainwright, Hank Willis Thomas & Ebony Brown, Samson Young, and Laurie Anderson, who will pay tribute to Paik; there will also be screenings of Lynda Benglis’s On Screen, The Grunions Are Running, and Document and testimonials from Tamy Ben-Tor, Elmgreen & Dragset, Omer Fast, Maria Hassabi, Jesper Just, William Kentridge, Liz Magic Laser, Kelly Nipper, Rashid Johnson, Shirin Neshat, and others, along with archival footage and never-before-seen behind-the-scenes outtakes. Six artist editions will make their debut and will be available only during the broadcast, by Korakrit Arunanondchai, Barbara Kruger, Kia LaBeija, Michèle Lamy, Cindy Sherman, and Laurie Simmons. The twentieth Performa Biennial, curated by David Breslin and Adrienne Edwards, is scheduled for 2021, but it might look very different from previous ones depending on the state of the pandemic.

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