The centerpiece of the biennial are the Performa Commissions, where visual artists take a step into the world of performance, many of them for the first time in their careers.
These artists receive significant financial and production support to experiment and realize innovative works, in close collaboration with Performa’s curatorial and production teams from conceptualization to presentation. To date, Performa has awarded over 65 Commissions with several consequently touring internationally after their New York premieres.
Beginning with the first Performa 05 Commissions by artists Jesper Just and Francis Alÿs, Performa has gone on to present Commissions by a wide range of artists including Isaac Julien (Performa 07); Adam Pendleton (Performa 07); Yvonne Rainer (Performa 07); Francesco Vezzoli (Performa 07); Mike Kelley (Performa 09); Arto Lindsay (Performa 09); Wangechi Mutu (Performa 09); Ragnar Kjartansson (Performa 11); Liz Magic Laser (Performa 11); Shirin Neshat (Performa 11); Elmgreen and Dragset (Performa 11); Raqs Media Collective (Performa 13), Rashid Johnson (Performa 13); Rosa Barba (Performa 13); Alex Singh (Performa 13): Edgar Arceneaux (Performa 15); Robin Rhode (Performa 15); Oscar Murillo (Performa 15); Juliana Huxtable (Performa 15), among many others.
Performa Commissions are supported by grants from Toby Devan Lewis, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Ford Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts and the Performa Commissioning Council.