New York

Laurie Anderson and Peter Gordon

U.S. Customs House

Audience participation and viewer completion are familiar enough strategies in the theatre realm: they keep spectators from falling asleep. Giving the viewers a stake in the proceedings encourages responsibility as well as responsiveness. A dividing line between object art and nonobject art is this interchange between observer and observed. In any interchange—psychological, monetary, artistic, theatrical—the rate of exchange is key to the proceedings.

An engaging performance by Laurie Anderson and Peter Gordon prompts the foregoing. “Commerce,” part of Creative Time’s “Customs and Culture” exhibition at the U.S. Customs House, is truly an intermedia event: sociology, schtick and song numbering among the media cheerfully mixed by Anderson and Gordon.

“Commerce” begins in the foyer of the Customs House, where each spectator is given a pencil and a questionnaire. Questions range from your basic,

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