Risk+Reward, a Performance Series that Ups the Ante, to Debut this Fall

Works by known practicioners and neophytes will be presented

New York, NY (August 9, 2011)

Risk+Reward, a new public program series designed to enable artists to take new risks in the realm of performance, will be presented by the Museum of Arts and Design this fall. Running from September 10 to November 12, 2011, the series will encompass a diverse group of practitioners, including the legendary vanguardist John Kelly, who will revisit a classic work from his oeuvre, and the enfant terrible choreographer Jack Ferver, who will premiere a piece as part of the Performa 11 biennial. Central to the series is the conviction that only through risk can we pave the way for unexpected and startling rewards.

Risk+Reward extends and continues MAD's dedication to and celebration of contemporary creation—especially those creations that live in the "blur zone," challenging structure and simple categorization.

Notable performers include:

  • Sarah Maxfield, who recently exhibited her multi-layered piece, "We Deserve Each Other" at The Chocolate Factory Theater in Long Island City. That work employed interviews, performance, music, and dance to "write" a "love letter" to New York's experimental dance and theater scene. The New York Times called it "weirdly gripping."
  • Jack Ferver seeks out truths about the human psyche through physically demanding, explicit, visceral and pop-culture inflected pieces, combining dance and theatre. In 2008, he was the first choreographer to be presented at The New Museum, with "I am Trying to Hear Myself;" he returned the following year to debut "A Movie Star Needs a Movie."
  • John Kelly began creating performance works in New York's East Village clubs in the early 1980s. A polyvalent artist, he has worked in the realms of opera, film, painting, drawing, photography, dance, and music. Most of his work explores the minds and lives of other artists, including Egon Schiele ("Pass the Blutwurst, Bitte"); Joni Mitchell ("Paved Paradise: The Art of Joni Mitchell"); and Caravaggio ("The Escape Artist").

Risk+Reward is organized by Jake Yuzna, Manager of Public Programs

All performances will be held in various locations inside the Museum of Arts and Design, at 2 Columbus Circle.


Knowing the Score:
An Investigation of Improvisational Structures

By Sarah Maxfield
Saturday, September 24, 2011
11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Free with Museum admission
Theater, Lobby and 7th Floor

A score is a plan. A score is a preparation. A score is a map, a topography, a terrain. A score is something to explore.

During this one-day, museum-wide event, Sarah Maxfield offers an improvisational score through which to investigate the use of scoring in dance and performance. Maxfield has invited a number of consummate improvisers to participate in the investigation, and visitors to the museum are invited to participate in certain elements of the event as well. The score will be available before the event, so that visitors may choose when and how to join in. Participating artists include Ishmael Houston-Jones, Yvonne Meier, Ursula Eagly, Jen Rosenblit, and more.

Find My Way Home
By John Kelly
September 30, 2011
7:00 pm
$18 General, $15 MAD Members and Students with Valid ID

Revisiting his 1988 work "Find My Way Home," the renowned performance artist will take part in a special week-long, work-in-progress residency at MAD.

"Find My Way Home" resets the Greek myth of Orpheus during the Great Depression. The tragic story of the fabled god of music's decent into the underworld to save his true love is told in part by employing sections from Gluck's Baroque opera "Orfeo Ed Eurydice," originally written for a male castrato, but performed by Kelly in his signature countertenor, along with Depression-era Noel Coward songs, and French cabaret tunes. This highly original interpretation garnered Kelly a 2010 NEA American Masterpieces Dance Award.

In partnership with New York Live Arts, MAD presents John Kelly's "Find My Way Home" as a series of open and closed rehearsals, culminating in a work-in-progress concert version on September 30. This residency and performance will provide a rare glimpse into the process of re-examining and reinterpreting a work before its final staging at New York Live Arts in October.

Schedule of free open rehearsals of "Find My Way Home" in MAD's Theater:
Wednesday, September 28, 2011, 3:00 – 6:00 pm
Thursday, September 29, 2011, 7:00 – 9:00 pm

Seats for open rehearsals are limited. First come, first serve. Open rehearsals are free with museum admission.

Presented through a partnership with New York Live Arts.

A New Discovery: Queer Immigration in Perspective
By QUEEROCRACY & Carlos Motta (and many more allies)
Monday, October 10, 2011
3:00 pm

To highlight the issues faced by queer immigrants, the grassroots organization QUEEROCRACY in collaboration with artist Carlos Motta and several other individuals and organizations will hold a social intervention-based performance this October. Taking place on Columbus Day and in the shadow of Columbus Circle, QUEEROCRACY and Motta utilize this symbol of immigration and the New World to tackle the very real issues and discrimination facing queer immigrants.

Inviting a number of speakers on the topic, this event will create a free and positive dialogue open to the public. Through this collaboration, activists/artists will bring attention to the way immigrant and queer politics intersect in the public sphere in ways that both confront, challenge and transform the state mechanisms that police borders and bodies in the United States and in other receiving states. This dialogue strives to generate new ideas on how to better make a difference in the lives of queer people around the world.

Me, Michelle
By Jack Ferver
November 10 – 12, 2011
8:00 pm $18 General, $15 MAD Members and Students with Valid ID
World Premiere

MAD is proud to present the world premiere of "Me, Michelle," a new work from the choreographer Jack Ferver. A duet by Ferver and fellow dancer-choreographer Michelle Mola, "Me, Michelle" takes the mysteries and myths of the life of Queen Cleopatra as a vehicle for two performers to uncover truths about this historical icon—and ultimately themselves.

Presented as part of Performa 11.

Benjamin Fredrickson, Artist
By Benjamin Fredrickson
Thursday, December 8, 2011
8:00 pm
$15 General, $12 MAD Members and Students with Valid ID
World Premiere

What does it take to be an art star in New York City? That is precisely what Benjamin Fredrickson wants to know. The Midwest born photographer marks his very first foray into live performance this winter at MAD. Examining the reception of his body of photography work by certain NYC galleries, that he would "fit nicely into the cannon of Robert Mapplethorpe" being an HIV positive gay man who works in portrait photography, Benjamin Fredrickson weaves together an unforgettable night that challenges the professionalized artist tract, the history of NYC photography, and preconceived notions of "the artist." Searingly personal, completely honest, and devastatingly funny, Fredrickson's "Benjamin Fredrickson, Artist" reminds us of the risks and reward inherent in pursuing a life in the arts.

Risk+Reward is presented in partnership with New York Live Arts and Performa 11. 




Claire Laporte
Chief External Affairs Officer

Christina Allan
Communications Associate

Tel: 212.299.7737
Email: press@madmuseum.org