Tate Modern Course

In the Frame: Displaying Performance

Trisha Donnelly, ‘The Redwood and the Raven’ 2004
Trisha Donnelly, The Redwood and the Raven 2004. Tate. © Trisha Donnelly, courtesy Casey Kaplan, New York

Discover what the future holds for performance in the gallery

Taking a performance-oriented approach to Tate’s new building and its displays, this course will reflect on current shifts in contemporary curatorial practices and the relationship between performance and visual culture.

Sessions will include talks and discussions with the course tutor, as well as individual and small-group work. You will be introduced to perspectives from artists, curators, and theorists, as well as approaches to think about visual and performance-based works and the challenges and opportunities of exhibiting live work.

Meeting after hours in the Switch House and rehung galleries of Tate Modern you will be able to explore new collection displays or temporary exhibitions to investigate particular ideas and aesthetics moving between performance and art.

Key Questions:

  • What opportunities are created by situating performance among other art forms? 
  • How does performance fit into and challenge curatorial and visual arts practices?
  • Does the gallery offer alternative frames through which performance might appear? 
  • Are visual artists working in other media generating new modes of performance?

Week 1. Performer and exhibit

Engaging with the new building’s displays, this session explores the means by which performance comes to occupy the gallery – as document, action, reenactment and object. What opportunities are created by situating performance among other art forms? 

Week 2. Theatre and gallery

Only recently have specialised departments and spaces for performance come to exist in art museums. This session will take a critical approach to the increased programming of live art in the gallery, and questions how performance fits into and challenges curatorial and visual arts practices. 

Week 3. Visitor and performer

Playing with Hatoum’s distorted everyday items, this session investigates the place of the body in the contemporary art museum and how such objects invite or prohibit action. Does the gallery offer alternative frames through which performance might appear?  

Week 4. Gesture and object

Addressed to the future of performance in the gallery, the final session considers what theatricality offers to adjacent forms of representation. Are visual artists working in other media now generating new modes of performance?


Dr Georgina Guy is a Lecturer in Theatre and Performance in the Department of Drama and Theatre at Royal Holloway, University of London. She is co-convenor of the Theatre & Performance Research Association (TaPRA) Documenting Performance Working Group and her research centres on the exhibition as a dynamic context in which established traditions of display and performance interact. This course distils core ideas from her new book Theatre, Exhibition, and Curation: Displayed & Performed (Routledge, 2016) and pursues further these key principles through Tate Modern’s collection and programme.

This event has been provided by Tate Gallery on behalf of Tate Enterprises LTD

Tate Modern

London SE1 9TG
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27 June – 18 July 2016 at 18.45–20.45

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