london-lisbon

View of “The World as a Stage,” 2007, Tate Modern, London. Foreground: Jeppe Hein, Rotating Labyrinth, 2007. Background: Rita McBride, Arena, 1997–2006.

“The World as a Stage” and “A Theatre Without Theatre”

Tate Modern, London & Bernardo Collection, Lisbon

View of “The World as a Stage,” 2007, Tate Modern, London. Foreground: Jeppe Hein, Rotating Labyrinth, 2007. Background: Rita McBride, Arena, 1997–2006.

ONE WOULD THINK I’d have been ready. Performance has become such a catchword in contemporary art circles, as artists and critics alike seek to characterize the current shifts in production toward acting out or interacting with audiences—frequently in order to intersect artistic practice with political agency and redefinitions of protest—that I ought to have entered Tate Modern’s “The World as a Stage” with ears prickling and eyeballs peeled. Yet here we were: The museum attendant, handing me the exhibition pamphlet, looked me straight in the eye and said, “Saturday night parking.” And what did I do? Flummoxed, I barked, “Thank you!”

Round one—or act one?—goes to Tino Sehgal. In This Is New, 2003, a gallery attendant recites a headline from the day’s newspapers (if the visitor responds, the guard then states the title, artist, and date of the artwork). As most

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