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Performance art is happening all over the place

Philippa P.B. HughesBy Philippa P.B. Hughes on Mar 20, 2013 | Add a Comment Add a Comment (380)

Performance art is happening all over the place

Iona Rozeal Brown. Photo by Paula Court.

Iona Rozeal Brown. Photo by Paula Court.

Does it seem like D.C. is popping with performance art lately? It does to me and I've been trying to figure out why. Performance art seems a little antithetical to the straight-laced, culturally conservative personality of our city. Then again, maybe that is exactly why performance art is thriving here. We need outlets for all the creativity pent up by cubicles, red ties and gray suits, and pantyhose. Performance art is the perfect outlet for the basic human need for self-expression.

Anyhoo, here's a rundown of the numerous performance art things we know about happening over the next couple months and leading up to the mother of all performance art, SUPERNOVA, a performance art festival in Rosslyn, June 7-9. Check it out!

Kathryn Cornelius | Let's Never Ever Be Strangers Again

March 30 - May 11 at Curator's Office

“Cornelius is particularly invested in exploring how technology and media shapes our social landscapes and influences our relationship with objects and each other. Her work often leverages the inherent power dynamic between artist and audience in performance as a vehicle to explore complex social customs and cultural institutions. Cornelius’ practice is largely project-based, situated in research and her interdisciplinary background, informed by methodologies from sociology, linguistics, cultural anthropology, social network theory, and Human Computer Interaction & Design, and she works across various media (performance, video, photography, sound, sculpture, and text) interchangeably. Her intention is to create artwork that engages the audience to rethink established social dynamics, and functions as a catalyst to experience the mundane of the everyday as a source of beauty, connection, and catharsis." Check out Kathryn Cornelius's work here!

Iona Rozeal Brown | battle of yestermore Performance

April 5, 2013, 7 - 9 pm at The Corcoran

On Friday, April 5 from 7-9 p.m., Washington, D.C. native Iona ROZEAL Brown will present battle of yestermore in a special FREE performance at the Corcoran Gallery of Art and College of Art + Design. The piece extends the allegories of the artist’s renowned paintings to her first work of live performance. Originally commissioned for the Performa 2011 festival in New York, battle of yestermore draws from the myth-based genres of
Kabuki and Noh theater, as well as hip-hop culture and vogueing, made famous in the Harlem ballroom scene of the 1960s. This will be the debut performance of battle of yestermore in Washington, D.C. Admission to the performance, timed to coincide with the National Cherry Blossom Festival, is free, and preregistration is encouraged. To register, visit

In 2013, the Corcoran expanded its contemporary exhibition series NOW at the Corcoran to include NOW Performance—new and site-specific live work that addresses issues central to the local, national, and global communities of Washington, D.C. To learn more, visit battle of yestermore is presented by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and the Corcoran Gallery of Art in conjunction with the 2013 National Cherry Blossom Festival. battle of yestermore is a Performa 11 Commission.

NEXT at the Corcoran 2013

*Note: Several students make performance art.

April 6 - May 19 at The Corcoran

This annual festival celebrates work by the graduating students of the Corcoran College of Art + Design. NEXT includes both an exhibition of the thesis work of the Bachelor of Fine Arts class of 2013 and a showcase of the Bachelors and Masters of Arts degree programs at the Corcoran. Visitors to NEXT are welcome to observe thesis critiques—discussions between the artists and their peers and instructors—and gain insights into the artistic process.

Open Studios

May 18-19, 11 am - 5 pm, 52 O Street Studios

One weekend each year, artists in this building open their doors to show their work. This year features live performance, a bike clinic, film screenings and food from neighborhood vendors. Schedule to come, attendance is free.


Opening Reception: April 18, 5 - 7 pm, Artisphere

Exhibit: April 3 - June 30, Curated by Laura Roulet

Seizing on a dynamic moment in D.C. performance art, the exhibition titled Wilmer Wilson IV: the FOREVER Aftermath culminates Wilmer Wilson IV’s performance art series Henry “Box” Brown: FOREVER, and provides through innovative programming a forum for other DC-area artists to explore the evolution of performance as an art form. The exhibit and forums focus on the aftermath of performance art. On display is a rotating selection of documentation and detritus from the Henry “Box” Brown: FOREVER performances, which were commissioned by the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities as part of the spring 2012 5x5 temporary public art project.

Inspired by the historic figure Henry “Box” Brown, a 19th century slave from Richmond, Virginia, who mailed himself to freedom, Wilmer Wilson IV used his own body to examine what freedom means. Artisphere’s Artist in Residence Studio becomes a platform for a discursive, flexible exhibition, collapsing the working space of an artist’s studio and an exhibition gallery, and rethinking spectatorship.

Wilmer Wilson IV: the FOREVER Aftermath helps kick-off of the Rosslyn-wide SUPERNOVA, a performance art festival, June 6-9, curated by the Pink Line Project and commissioned by the Rosslyn Business Improvement District. Wilmer Wilson IV: the FOREVER Aftermath is made possible by the Rosslyn BID and supported in part by the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities' DC Creates! Public Art program.

Closing Reception: FAST FOWARD: Corcoran College of Art and Design 2013 Graduates, a Pop-up Exhibition

April 27, 5 - 8 pm, Brentwood Arts Exchange

Join us Saturday, April 27, 2013 from 5-8pm for the closing of our first pop-up exhibition featuring art by Corcoran College of Art and Design’s 2013 graduates. This one-week show is in celebration of the art and design school's outgoing class and features their artwork. This is a free event all ages are welcome to attend. Refreshments will be provided compliments of the Brentwood Arts Exchange.


Date TBD

Soapbox: Art as Social Practice

A class taught by Mark Cameron Boyd at the Corcoran College of Art + Design, Art as Social Practice will present their final class projects as a Soapbox at Hillyer Art Space.


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