Performa announces Rashid Johnson as board chair, and Todd Bishop as treasurer

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Performa announces Rashid Johnson as board chair, and Todd Bishop as treasurer
Todd Bishop. Photo by Mike Rubio.

NEW YORK, NY.- Performa, the internationally acclaimed organization dedicated to live interdisciplinary performance by visual artists, announced artist Rashid Johnson as Chair of the Board of Directors, and former MoMA Senior Deputy Director Todd Bishop as Treasurer. Johnson and Bishop assume their new roles in advance of the Performa 2021 Biennial, which will take place this October 12-31 across New York City, and feature new time-based commissions by visual artists working in every medium across generations, including: Kevin Beasley, Ericka Beckman, Sara Cwynar, Danielle Dean, Madeline Hollander, Andrés Jaque (Office for Political Innovation), Tschabalala Self, and Shikeith.

Rashid Johnson first worked with Performa when he created a Performa Commission for the Performa 13 Biennial, his first live performance. A reimagining of Dutchman––an Obie Award winning theatrical play written in 1964 by LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka)––the commission was presented at the infamous Russian and Turkish Baths in the East Village. Johnson’s directorial debut at Performa 13 later inspired his interest in directing film, which in turn led to the artist’s critically acclaimed feature film, Native Son (2019). Johnson has served on Performa’s Board since 2014, bringing his vital voice, leadership, and generous spirit to the organization.

Comments Rashid Johnson: "We're living in complicated times, and I don't think that can be disputed. One of the things that's most interesting is how quickly performance is able to react, perhaps more so than we are able to see. Performance is able to really viscerally respond to complicated times, complicated terms, and complicated conditions. An organization like Performa, that's nimble, can make these things happen more quickly than a lot of bigger, clumsier institutions. Performa is really capable of responding, in real time."

Following his participation in Hauser & Wirth’s Artists for New York––a major initiative this past October to raise funds in support of pioneering non-profit arts organizations across New York City that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic––Johnson contributed half of the funds raised from the sale of his painting, Standing Broken Men (2020), to Performa. The generous donation of $209,000 will support Performa Commissions and the Performa Fellowship program, which brings together a diverse cohort of emerging arts administrators, curators and producers to work with artists and staff to learn the many details of creating and executing a multidisciplinary biennial.

Comments Founding Director RoseLee Goldberg: “As a Performa alumnus and longtime board member, Rashid understands from experience how we work, the experimental nature of what we do, yet always providing a safe place for artists to try entirely new things. His extraordinary generosity recognizes our year-round commitment to artists, to providing a platform for their ideas and beliefs, as well as hands-on training for next generation curators and producers. He is a natural leader, and participates fully in shaping our vision for the future. Rashid follows previous board Chairs, Founding Patron Toby Devan Lewis and Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn, and continues his relationship with Board President Richard Chang, artist Shirin Neshat and other members of our deeply appreciated and wonderful Board of Directors.”

Todd Bishop, who has a long history with Performa and has been with the organization as a Board member since its foundation, will take on a new role as Treasurer of the Board. Most recently, Bishop served as Senior Deputy Director of External Affairs at The Museum of Modern Art, a position he held since 2012. Comments Bishop: “I’m honored to have been part of Performa since its inception. The great thing about Performa is that it is nimble and inventive, as well as deeply collaborative across New York’s many arts communities. This organization has been an inspiration in shaping the public’s understanding of performance art, and I look forward to increasing my role and spearheading future plans for the organization’s growth."

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