Between Gestures: Notes on Agency, Dance in the Museum Panel Discussion

  • The Commons
    Second Floor, East Side
    220 E Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60611


This program is free and open to the public with RSVP. Please reserve a seat.

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Trajal Harrell, Okidoki, Centre National de la Danse, Paris
Photo: Marc-Domage

Program Description

A panel of curators and scholars including Elisabeth Lebovici, Mlondi Zondi, January Parkos Arnall, and Hendrik Folkerts as moderator collectively envision next steps for dance in the museum, a widely discussed and visible practice in 21st century museum curation. Often the work of choreographers and dancers in gallery and museum spaces is focused on particular forms of dance, rooted in the American and European neo-avant-gardes of the 1960s–70s and 1990s, and the panel will reflect on how "dance in the museum" might become a more inclusive and encompassing practice. Lebovici is an art historian and critic; Zondi is a performer and PhD candidate in Performance Studies; Parkos Arnall is a curator at the MCA; and Folkerts is the Dittmer Curator of Contemporary Art at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Panelists will address questions around merging paradigms of display, spectatorship, and materiality, and how to discuss the notion of "agency" in more detailed terms. Some questions they'll discuss are below:

  • What are the limits and conditions of artistic agency in relation to the museum?
  • What agency is held by the performers both in relation to the artist-choreographer and as bodies moving in what is at times an unaccommodating space?
  • What is the agency of the audience as both spectator and participant?

This program is part of Between Gestures, a one-week festival connecting Chicago to international contemporary performance and dance through performances, workshops, conversations, and screenings, proposed by the Cultural Service of the Consulate of France in Chicago and the Goethe Institut Chicago.

About the Speakers


Between Gestures is a program supported by the Cultural services of the French Embassy in the US, the Goethe Institut, the Franco-German Cultural Fund, FACE in Chicago and the Friends of the Goethe.

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