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Art is one of the ways people communicate with one another. Every work of art brings the viewer to into a special kind of relationship, both with whoever has created or is creating the art and also with everyone else who—together with him, or before or afterwards—is subject to that
artistic impression.
—Leo Tolstoy

It would be a mistake to ascribe this creative power
to an inborn talent.
In art, the genius creator is not just a gifted being, but a person who has succeeded in arranging for their appointed end, a complex of activities, of which the work is the outcome, requiring an effort.
—Henri Matisse

Art is so varied that to reduce it to any single purpose, be it even the salvation of mankind, is an abomination before the Lord.
—Nikolai Gumilev

Conception, my boy, fundamental brain work,
is what makes all the difference in art.
—Dante Gabriel Rosetti

Art is art.
Everything else is everything else.
—Ad Reinhardt

It is art that makes life, makes interest, makes importance…
and I know of no substitute whatever
for the force and beauty of its process.
—Henry James

It's not what you look at that matters,
it's what you see.
—Henry David Thoreau

Actual Performance

Verbal Art Made Moving Image

New art forms took center stage in the latter part of the 20th century. Foremost among these were creative acts generating no artistic “product,” particularly performance art. There is an set for which performance is all around, who know where to find it and how to engage it. And yet how many—even among highly educated who know the museums inside and out,—have never seen performance art?! Central as performance is in the contemporary art context, educated and cultured people require a knowledge and understanding of it. Actual Performance! makes that possible.

Of course, we extend a special welcome to all who have already engaged the performance scene. As they know, seminal works of the genre often exist only as a series of anecdotes punctuated by a few snapshots. As layers upon layers of narrative accumulate, what actually happened is shrouded in mystery. Actual Performance! delivers the direct experience at the heart of performance, raising diverse and exciting ways to view contemporary performance art.

(The title of the series is a play on words. On the one hand, the program makes it possible to see, “in real life,” actual performances, which is the essence of the program. In Russian, though, “actual” denotes what is relevant, meaningful influential, or important right now—sometimes aktual’noe iskusstvo is even translated simply as contemporary art—and Actual Performance! means to bring you the best of performance art, illuminating every side and aspect of its practice today.)