Sehgal and Maxwell's Cannonballs

The Guggenheim is emptied of all its precious objects in favor of the ephemeral. Performance Space 122 has no live bodies in its theater. What is this world coming to??!

The city has been aflutter with Tino Sehgal’s new Gugg work, from breathless spreads in the New York Times Magazine to dark mutterings about his insistence on distancing his art from all things performance (See this Observer article, as well as some thoughts by Performance Clubbers).

I won’t get to see Sehgal’s non-performance performance piece till next week, but I’m skeptical at best about the way he’s choosing to contextualize what he’s doing. And it’s pretty amazing how performance is getting written out of the whole conceptual art history he trucks in. I thought Holland Cotter laid out the pros and cons pretty adroitly in his review.

Meanwhile, Richard Maxwell’s “Ads” has been extended yet again. As P.S. 122’s artistic director, Vallejo Gantner, puts it, the work is in rather pointed, if inadvertent, conversation with Sehgal:

“Tino does live movement performance re-structured into a collectible, gallerised context and only in that context. Rich is making a video, two dimensional video piece of people talking about themselves - it ‘should’ be in a gallery but is only in a theatrical one - and is presented as a live experience. They are cannonballs passing each other en route to sinking each art form's sacred ships - of dance not being time based in any meaningful way, and of being a collectible object, and of theatre not being live in any meaningful way and only video being available in a live performance.”

I’ll be seeing “Ads” on Saturday at 8pm. Come join me! P.S. 122 has given us a nifty little discount code: Use PC15 to get $15 single tickets to Thursday, Friday, Saturday shows at 8. And use NYCP10 for $10 single tickets to the 10 p.m. Saturday show.*

*Obligatory fine print: codes must be used in advance online at or by phone at (212) 352-3101; cannot be applied to previously existing sales; limited availability.