Jennifer Krasinski

  • Wayne Koestenbaum and walkers on an Elastic City tour of the East Village. (All photos: Kate Glicksberg)
    diary July 29, 2015

    Vital Signs

    SUMMER IN NEW YORK CITY, no matter how heavy the weather, performs its possibilities to those who stick it out. The wealthy vanish, at least on the weekends, and the college students go home, or wherever. The tourists somehow stay in their designated areas, and for these few months, for those or other more charitable reasons, the city feels as though it’s got something of its character back.

    “Pardon my shtick,” Wayne Koestenbaum grinned to a dozen of us gathered one warm July evening in the East Village for “Marking Marks,” a walk the poet-painter-critic was leading in homage to Frank O’Hara’s

  • The Wooster Group, Early Shaker Spirituals: A Record Album Interpretation, 2014. Performance view, St. Ann's Warehouse, Brooklyn, NY, April 14, 2015. Cynthia Hedstrom, Frances McDormand, Suzzy Roche, Bebe Miller. Photo: Paula Court.
    performance June 07, 2015

    Pass It On

    IF VISUAL ART sometimes seems only to mine archives for stuff to appropriate or sell or both, performance is the now-action that reanimates and perverts the past, in large part because performance can’t (won’t) calcify time into objects, or objects in time. This is a very obvious thing to say, but running between galleries and theaters these past weeks, I’ve been considering how to better map these spaces’ relationships to the historical, wondering how to think about their differences in a way that isn’t always reduced to capital. Three recent performances—each by female artists—wrestle history,

  • Richard Maxwell, The Evening, 2015. Performance view, March 11, 2015, the Kitchen, New York. Asi, Beatrice, and Cosmo (Brian Mendes, Cammisa Buerhaus, and Jim Fletcher). Photo: Paula Court.
    performance March 25, 2015

    Death Becomes Her

    THERE MAY BE no experience more excruciating, or more essentially human, than that of rising to the occasion of a loved one’s death. What to do when there is nothing to do? How to tell a story as form is falling away?

    Playwright/director Richard Maxwell wrote his most recent play, The Evening, as his father was dying. It is his first work in a forthcoming trilogy inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy. Rather than adapt or remake, Maxwell has so far loosed threads from the classic, weaving them through a story set not in hell, purgatory, or heaven precisely, but in an unremarkable bar in an unnamed

  • Taylor Mac, A 24-Decade History of Popular Music: 1900–1950s, 2015. Performance view, New York Live Arts, New York, January 20, 2015. Taylor Mac. Photo: Ian Douglas.
    performance February 13, 2015

    Punch and Judy

    “MY GENDER IS PERFORMER,” a bedazzling Taylor Mac announced to a sold-out audience at New York Live Arts. “My pronoun,” he twinkled, “is judy.” Looking like the love-child of Rosalind Russell and a leopard-print-obsessed Lubavitcher, with eyes lashed like Venus flytraps, Mac launched into a six-hour marathon performance of songs and stories of the 1900s to the 1950s—a preview of sorts of his forthcoming opus, A 24-Decade History of Popular Music. Written by Mac, the show reads music history to double as a chronicle of sex, repression, expression, and community, and “to remind people what they’ve

  • Tina Satter, Ancient Lives, 2015. Performance view, The Kitchen, New York, January 7, 2015. Jess Barbagallo and Eliza Bent. Photo: Paula Court.
    performance January 31, 2015

    Mortal COIL

    AH, TECHNOLOGY! The bogeyman that threatens to fetter our bodies to gadgets, entangle our synapses in wires, thieve our memories, erode our free will, etc. Popular stories remain riddled with the plagues and punishments that befall humanity when it believes it possesses the power to create the new, to exceed the limits of the body, to trump mortality. And in the end we always save ourselves somehow, don’t we? (Spoiler alert: There are no spoilers anymore.) How dispiriting to realize that our devices might be updated with greater frequency than the narratives we spin around them.

    However, there

  • Young Jean Lee, Straight White Men, 2014. Rehearsal view, The Public Theater, New York, NY, November 6, 2014. Matt and Ed (James Stanley and Austin Pendleton). Photo: Julieta Cervantes.
    performance November 21, 2014

    The Trouble with Normal

    IT’S ALL IN THE TIMING. The same week that former President George W. Bush published 41: A Portrait of My Father, his “love story” for pater and predecessor George H. W. Bush, the Farrelly Brothers’ (d)ur-comedy sequel Dumb and Dumber To was number one at the box office. Also that week, “The Innovations Issue” of the New York Times Magazine championed failure as the new success: “Welcome to the Failure Age!” “Virtual Reality Fails Its Way to Success,” “A Brief History of Failure.” A prodigal son who sinned and was born again—first into Christ, then into art—writing the record for dear old dad.

  • 600 HIGHWAYMEN, Employee of the Year, 2014. Rehearsal view, April 7, 2014. Photo: Maria Baranova.
    performance October 13, 2014

    Girls, Interrupted

    ANY GOOD STORY has another stowed somewhere inside of it. A young girl is pushed out into the world without warning, before she is ready. Motherless, fatherless, and without a home, she is unprotected from the elements, from threat and harm, and must find her own way to the end of her life. This is the story of J, the heroine of 600 HIGHWAYMEN’s Employee of the Year, a humble, epic tale performed by five girls, all between the ages of nine and ten. Over the course of the performance Candela Cubria, Rachel Dostal, Stella Lapidus, Alice Chastain Levy, and Violet Newman take turns playing J,

  • Trisha Brown's Drift, 1974/2014. (All photos: Meyer & Kangangi.)
    diary September 17, 2014

    Moving and Being Moved

    THE WHIRLWIND began as soon as I arrived in Biel/Bienne, Switzerland. Off the train, down the stairs, I exited the station and entered “Le Mouvement,” the twelfth edition of the Swiss Sculpture Exhibition, curated this year by Gianni Jetzer and Chris Sharp. What had traditionally been a celebration of public sculpture was smartly reimagined this year by Jetzer and Sharp as a three-part, summerlong investigation of the human body in active relation to the concept and experience of public space. In short: Performance was the point on which all of the exhibition’s plots turned.

    I’d come for part

  • Jim Findlay and Jeff Jackson, Dream of the Red Chamber, 2014. Performance view, May 2014, Brill Building, New York. Photo: Josh Higgason.
    performance June 04, 2014

    Sleeping Around

    “YOU HERE for the dreaming thing?” the man asked me. I’d interrupted his smoke break by knocking on a door I thought was the entrance to see Jim Findlay and Jeff Jackson’s performance piece, Dream of the Red Chamber. I apologized for my interruption, but he was unfazed. Whether you live in New York or not, everyone is a tourist in Times Square. “Go back to Broadway,” he waved, “take a left, and go past the door that says Brill Building and you’ll see it right there. Can’t miss it.” I hustled past the packs of not-from-heres, all of us in a kind of high-definition delirium beneath the video

  • Aki Sasamoto, Sunny in the Furnace, 2014. Performance view, The Kitchen, New York, March 2014. Aki Sasamoto (center) and Jessica Weinstein (right). Photo: Julieta Cervantes.
    performance March 19, 2014

    String Theory

    PERFORMANCE IS A CRAFT and not a right, as some artists and related others would have audiences think. Artist/performer Aki Sasamoto, however, is a rare example of someone for whom performance is both craft and right, and her latest show, Sunny in the Furnace, is yet more proof of her uncommon expertise over this slippery medium. Together with her equally accomplished collaborators—composer/musician John Bollinger, performer Jessica Weinstein, sculptor Sam Ekwurtzel, and mathematics professor, Pau Atela—Sasamoto fuses theater, sculpture, storytelling, moving image, mark-making, and music into

  • Robert Wilson, The Life and Death of Marina Abramović, 2011. Performance view, Park Avenue Armory, New York, December 2013. Willem Dafoe. Photo: Joan Marcus.
    performance December 20, 2013

    Growing Pains

    AS THE STORY GOES, performance artist Marina Abramović asked director Robert Wilson if he would stage her funeral as a theatrical event that would double as “a celebration of life and death combined.” Wilson agreed, with the proviso that she grant him permission to stage her life as well. The artist consented and supplied Wilson with personal anecdotes and biographical details; she also promised to participate as a performer. Wilson enlisted actor Willem Dafoe, composer/lyricist/performer Antony, singer Svetlana Spajić, composer William Basinski, as well as an impressive group of other musicians

  • Joan Jonas, Reanimation. Performance view, Roulette, New York. Joan Jonas. Photo: © Paula Court.
    performance November 29, 2013

    Hit or Myth

    THERE WERE UNEXPECTED ZEITGEISTS that bubbled up through the curated themes of Performa 13, one of which was the rewriting of cosmologies both personal and shared. It certainly made sense. The artist, like any creator, makes the world, unmakes the world, and/or remakes the world each according to their own compass. In some cases, the self was very much at the center of the work; in others, the artist seemed to serve as a lens for what lies beyond our present knowledge.

    “This idea of animal does not fit nicely into our typical ideas of city,” wrote Denise Hoffman-Brandt and Catherine Seavitt