Performance Space New York, founded in an abandoned East Village school in 1980 and a downtown destination for outrageous art ever since, announced a sweeping restructuring for the coming year, the duties of running the organization being entrusted to a select group of artists take charge.
“The artists have been given keys to the spaces, have moved into our commercial offices and will move into our theaters next month. …Our total annual production budget is entirely at the disposal of artists to pay themselves salaries and grow their programmatic platforms,” reads a letter signed by Executive Artistic Director Jenny Schlenzka and Sarah Michelson, a celebrity choreographer who will help to direct the artist-led cohort in a project called “02020”.
Artists will have “full transparency over the inner workings of the organization and full artistic control of our programming, including website oversight,” reads the letter, which goes on to say, “We know that the artistic practice changes, that the world changes, and that we must be ready to adapt. We bet on an institutional mission recalibrated by the artist as a catalyst for the practice of futurist art.
The group of artists chosen during a six-month process includes Janice Amaya, members of BRUJAS (Arianna Gil, Dada Coz, Sarah Snider, Antonia Perez and Ripley Soprano), Jonathan González, Monica Mirabile and the New Red Order (a collective led by Adam Khalil, Zack Khalil and Jackson Polys). Michelson, the recipient of a 2019 MacArthur Foundation “Genius” grant, is described as the “creator” of the project and an “ecologist serving the group and staff in an ever-changing role and relationship”.
The letter promises further plans which will be revealed in mid-February. For now, another part of the letter reads: “Our stratified economic and political climate is generating an urgency to open borders and expand access. With artists and staff working together in the belly of the beast, we hope to design 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 to work closely with artists in 2020 and beyond.