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Performance Space New York. Courtesy of Performance Space.

Performance Space New York to Give Management Over to Artists for One Year

Performance Space New York, which was founded in an abandoned public-school building in the East Village in 1980, announced today an ambitious restructuring plan that will essentially give artists free rein to reimagine the experimental art space’s purpose. The organization, which announced a new name (it was formerly known as as Performance Space 122) and brand identity in 2018 following a major renovation, has invited a group of New York–based artists and collectives to run the venue for the entirety of 2020.

“The artists have received keys to the spaces, have moved into our business offices, and will move into our theaters next month,” reads a letter by Performance Space New York’s artistic director, Jenny Schlenzka, and choreographer Sarah Michelson, who will help the artists take over the space. “They have full transparency into the organization’s inner workings and full artistic control of our programming, including oversight of the website. Our total annual production budget is at the artists’ full disposal to pay themselves a wage and develop their programmatic platforms. The only requirement of their tenure is that the spaces must be utilized.”

The artists chosen to lead the organization for a year as part of a project titled “02020” are Janice Amaya; BRUJAS members Arianna Gil, Dada Coz, Sarah Snider, Antonia Perez, and Ripley Soprano; Jonathan González; Monica Mirabile; and core contributors of the New Red Order collective Adam Khalil, Zack Khalil, and Jackson Polys. Michelson, who was named a MacArthur Fellow last year, will serve as ecologist in service of the group and staff in a continually developing role and relationship. The cohort will announce their initial plans for Performance Space New York on its website in mid-February.

“Shifting our model is shifting our future: toward new institutional structures, new coalitions, new partnerships, new priorities. We know artistic practice is changing, that the world is changing, and that we need to be ready to adjust,” the letter says. “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.”

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