For Immediate Release

November 2, 2017


Performa 17 Celebrates Opening Night Gala and Artist Party Honoring Yoko Ono and Wendy Fisher on Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Annual Gala celebrating the opening night of Performa 17 Biennial, kicking off three weeks of programming through NYC (November 1-19)


Hosted by Performa Board President Richard Chang, Board Vice Chair and Artist Rashid Johnson, South African Designer Hanneli Rupert, and newly appointed Board Member Roya Sachs

New York - On Wednesday, November 1, Performa held its annual gala celebrating the opening of Performa 17, taking place throughout New York City from November 1 to 19, 2017. The evening honored Yoko Ono, dedicated peace activist and pioneering figure in the development of conceptual, performance, and Fluxus art and Wendy Fisher, Performa Board Member since 2009, President of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, and longtime supporter of the institutions and artists of South Africa, which Performa 17 will explore in greater depth throughout the Biennial. Remarks and tributes were delivered by Laurie Anderson for Yoko Ono, and William Kentridge for Wendy Fisher.

The evening is chaired by Performa Board President Richard Chang, Board Vice Chair and Artist Rashid Johnson, South African designer and Hanneli Rupert, and newly appointed Board Member and independent curator Roya Sachs.

The gala was held at Harlem Parish and featured several of Ono’s iconic performance pieces, installations, films, public, and interactive artworks, such as Sky Piece to J.C. (1965), Touch Poem for Group of People (1963 winter), and Painting to Be Stepped On (1960). The night ended with a rousing performance of Imagine led by South African singer Vuyo Sotashe in both English and Zulu, accompanied by the Ono Orchestra. The Yoko Ono program was organized by Roya Sachs and Esa Nickle in consultation with Ono and Jon Hendricks.

The evening’s meal was conceived by renowned chef Peter Hoffman, who drew inspiration for the menu from the Biennial’s historical anchor, Dada. Paying homage to the movement’s radical energy, guests were instructed to create their own salad with scissors and fresh vegetables for the first course.

“Thinking about Dada in the context of food and interactions at the table was a wonderful opportunity to be playful while still making sure the food was delicious and grounded. We seem to be in a similar period of despair and disbelief in our government's irrationality with regard to the planet and respect for all our citizens. Here's hoping that connecting the Da-dots from Tzara to Ono helps point a way forward,” comments Peter Hoffman, chef, activist, food curator.

Following the gala, festivities continued at the Performa 17 Artist Party hosted Roya Sachs and David Ajaye at the iconic Halston House, where guests enjoyed cocktails and desserts, while dancing to DJ Oscar Nñ. The party was sponsored by La Perla, with additional support provided by Morris Kitchen, VDKA6100 and Aesop. Guests at the Artists Party included Zoe Buckman, Chloe Wise, Mia Moretti, Xavier Cha, and Stacy Engman.


Performa 17 Opening Night Gala attendees included:

Artists: Laurie Anderson, Korakrit Arunanondchai, Hope Atherton, Yto Barrada, Zoe Buckman, Xavier Cha, Christo, Teju Cole, Vibha Galhotra, William Kentridge, Barbara Kruger, Julie Mehretu, Marilyn Minter, Zanele Muholi, Shirin Neshat, Yvonne Rainer, Jimmy Robert, Tracey Rose, Xaviera Simmons, Quentin Stuckey, Chloe Wise, Kemang Wa Lehulere.

Art, Architecture, and Fashion Luminaries: Cole Akers, Ian Alteveer, Nicholas Baume, Mark Beasley, Klaus Biesenbach, Todd Bishop, Jo Bonney, Felix Burrichter, Gonzalo Casals, Germano Celant, Richard Chang, Stuart Comer, Cecilia Dean, Lisa Dennison, Bil and Ruth Ehrlich, Pari Ehsan, Carol Englander, Stacy Engman, Jia Jia Fei, Wendy Fisher, Andrea Glimcher, Angela Goding, Wes Gordon, Alexander Gorlin, Jon Hendricks, Andre Herrero, Anne Huntington, Adam Charlap Hyman, Alexander Charlap Hyman, Anastasia Kidd, Young Kim, Eileen Kornreich, Prem Krishnamurthy, Jeanne and Dennis Masel, Mafalda Millies, Edoardo Monti, Mia Moretti, Alexandra Munroe, Ed Nahem, Charlie Pohlad, Fred and Nancy Poses, Ivan Pun, Steve Rodriguez,  Hanneli Rupert, Tracey Ryans, Lisa Schiff, Richie Shazam, Carla Shen, Larry Warsh, Christian Wassman, Afrodet Zuri.

Gallerists: Mary Boone, Gavin Brown, Liza Essers, Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn, Dominique Levy, Monique Meloche, Louise Neri, Ales Ortuzar, Yancey Richardson, Elisabeth Sann (Jack Shainman Gallery), Monika Sprüth. 

Performa Board of Directors: Todd Bishop, Richard Chang (President), Wendy Fisher, RoseLee Goldberg (Founder and Curator), Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn, Ronald Guttman, Barbara Hoffman, Rashid Johnson (Vice Chair), Shirin Neshat, Ivan Pun, and Roya Sachs

Sponsored by: La Perla

Supported by:  Aesop, Material Vodka, Frieze, Brooklyn Brewery, Morton Williams Wine & Spirits, David Bowler Wine, Louis Dressner Selections, Morris Kitchen, VDKA6100 and Project Projects

To learn more about Performa or partnerships, please contact Job Piston, Special Projects,

To support Performa, purchase tickets, please contact Sarah Haimes, Manager of Individual Giving,




Founded in 2004 by art historian and curator RoseLee Goldberg, Performa is the leading organization dedicated to exploring the critical role of live performance in the history of twentieth-century art and encouraging new directions in performance for the twenty-first century. Since launching New York’s first performance biennial, Performa 05, in 2005, the organization has solidified its identity as a commissioning and producing entity. As a “museum without walls,” Performa provides important art historical heft to the field by showing the development of live art in all its forms from many different cultural perspectives reaching back to the Renaissance. The Performa Biennial is celebrated world-wide as the first biennial to give specialized attention to this remarkable history, transforming the city of New York into the ‘world capital of artists’ performance’ every other November. Performa attracts a national and international audience of more than 240,000 and receives more than 5,000,000 website hits during its three week run. In the last decade, Performa has presented nearly 600 performances, worked with more than 700 artists, and toured commissioned performances in nearly 20 countries around the world.

The Performa curatorial team is led by Founding Director and Chief Curator RoseLee Goldberg, and includes Performa Curators Adrienne Edwards and Charles Aubin, with contributions from Performa Consortium curators. The Performa program is produced by Esa Nickle and Maaike Gouwenberg.

For more on Performa and its programs including the Performa Biennial, please visit Join the conversation: @PerformaNYC #Performa17 #PerformaNYC

Coverage is by invitation and advanced arrangement only.



Victoria Kung


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