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Performativity in the Gallery

Staging Interactive Encounters


Outi Remes, Laura MacCulloch and Marika Leino

This book coincides with an increase in the programming of live art elements in many galleries and museums. Traditional art history has, however, been wary of live art’s interdisciplinarity and its tendency to encourage increased formal and conceptual risk taking. Time-based performances have challenged the conventions of documentation and the viewer’s access to the art experience. This book questions the canon of art history by exploring participation, liveness, interactivity, digital and process-based performative practices and performance for the camera, as presented in gallery spaces.
The essays present both academic research as well as case studies of curatorial projects that have pushed the boundaries of the art historical practice. The authors come from a wide range of backgrounds, ranging from curators and art producers to academics and practising artists. They ask what it means to present, curate and create interdisciplinary performative work for gallery spaces and offer cutting-edge research that explores the intricate relationship between art history, live and performing arts, and museum and gallery space.
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7. Playing Ball: Friday Late, Performativity and the Victoria and Albert Museum


← 118 | 119 →AMY MECHOWSKI

7Playing Ball: Friday Late, Performativity and the Victoria and Albert Museum

Launched in June 2000, the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Friday Late programme has become the most popular of its public events, attracting as many as 5,500 visitors in a single evening. Held on the last Friday of every month, the museum doors remain open until 10 pm, offering a variety of free activities to coincide with major exhibitions. It is one of many such Friday evening events held by galleries, museums and other institutions across the capital, including but not limited to The British Museum, the National Gallery, Tate Galleries, the Royal Academy of Art and even the London Zoo. Marketed as both a social and cultural event, the Greater London Authority’s website promises: ‘Have your culture served up late – enjoy it at twilight, evening, sundown or lights-out. This is real grown-up time; after work, post-dinner, pre-club or first date. A cultural free-for-all for connoisseurs, first-timers, doubters and admirers. A time where you can drop-in or pre-book, whiz through or meander, free to guzzle down some after-hours enlightenment.’1 Featuring live performances, debates, film screenings, guest DJs as well as bars serving drinks and food, these events do not just provide an opportunity to view permanent collections and special exhibitions after working hours, but go a step further by, as one reviewer puts it, ‘offer[ing] a seductive alternative to the same old bars and pubs that you’ve been going...

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