Past & Future
Beginning in 2011, Performance Space 122 embarked on one of the most unusual and potentially radical shifts in its history, including a re-structuring of artist support, a business model overhaul, and the renovation of our building. As PS122’s East Village home undergoes a much-needed interior renovation supported primarily by the City of New York, DCA and DDC, PS122’s core activity continues to be providing audiences with contemporary live performance. We are invigorated by the prospect of this multi-year journey and the re-opening in larger, state-of-the-art, column-free, flexible, ADA-compliant theaters. Programming in 2011 – 2015 traverses the five boroughs of NYC and beyond. As PS122 considers and defines the future of contemporary performance presentation we continue to consider the East Village as our home and look forward to returning when renovations are complete.
For over 3 decades, Performance Space 122 has been a hub for contemporary performance and an active member of the cultural community in NYC and across the globe. Under the curatorial vision of Vallejo Gantner (Artistic Director 2005 – present) PS122 has developed a set of programs designed to re-establish the value of live performance, provide singular experiences for audiences that inspire critical thinking, and sustain the creative process for artists throughout their career. Through partnering with peer organizations as well as contemporary institutions who share our belief in the cultural importance of live performance, PS122 currently commissions and presents artists in all disciplines in spaces all over the city during an annual fall & spring season and COIL festival in January.
Founded in 1980 by Charles Dennis, Tim Miller, Charles Moulton, and Peter Rose, in what was then an abandoned public school building, Performance Space 122 is proud to have brought forward not only artists, like John Leguizamo, Jonathan Ames, Eric Bogosian, the Blue Man Group or Annie Dorsen who have gone on to make waves in commercial arenas on Broadway or at HBO, but also artists who have triggered national debate about political and ethical issues, like the original “NEA four”, Ethyl Eichelberger (HIV/AIDS activist), or more recently Young Jean Lee and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (contemporary social critiques), as well as artists who have radicalized aesthetic form like Meredith Monk, Spalding Gray, Ron Athey, Richard Maxwell, Elevator Repair Service, Radiohole, Adrienne Truscott, Verdensteatret (Norway), Rabih Mroué (Lebanon), Philippe Quesne (France), and Maria Hassabi (Cyprus).
In addition to the commissioning and presenting of artists, PS122 strives to provide audiences with a variety of off-stage access points for the work that is on stage or in the space. These activities have included talkbacks with the artists as well as conversations with luminaries from non-arts disciplines on topics that range from religion to migration, queer real estate, to cultural diplomacy and everything in between. PS122 strongly encourages the asking of questions and debate as well as the taking of creative risks in all forms of contemporary performance.