Dance and the Museum: Samara Davis Responds

I am most interested in the politics of venue--how a work settles into a space, acknowledges it or doesn't, and how a space supports a particular artwork. What can be done in a space or on a stage? Sometimes I find that the weight of a venue flattens or hugs a work too tightly. I think that because dance and performance rely heavily on spatial and temporal conditions—whereas most artworks rely on these conditions but can decide whether or not to include or highlight these considerations in the work—dance and performance have a greater potential to point to the contingencies of art-making in general. This is not to say that because dance and performance are built by/on these concerns that the choices practitioners make in these fields are likely to be more ethical or equitable, I’m just saying that those outside the making of the work could have more access to the way the work is/was made. The process of producing the work is less mystified. I am interested in when/if this makes a difference. What makes an artwork “good” is structured differently in dance/performance than in the visual arts. Provenance certainly matters in the former but I think it may matter differently than in the visual arts.   Samara Davis is a New York–based writer. She is currently a PhD student in NYU's Performance Studies program and an editor at TDR. She focuses primarily on dance and feminism. Download PDF  

Dance and the Museum, Dance and Visual Art, ethics, politics, process, production, Samara Davis, space, time, venue, visual arts


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