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‘Risk x Reward’ Performance Series Returns This Fall With 7 Daring New Commissions

New works by item idem, Katherine Hubbard, Marie Karlberg, Irena Knezevic, The Museum of Non Participation, Julika Rudelius and Alaina Stamatis to be presented


New York, NY (October 23, 2013)

Risk x Reward, MAD’s annual performance series dedicated to expanding the possibilities of performance within a museum setting, returns this fall with seven new commissions that explore contemporary use of the theatrical in the shaping of worldviews. Cheat Out To The Audience: Risk x Reward 2013—the title referring to the theatrical stage term for engaging an audience through a sleight of hand—will run from October 24, 2013 through February 13, 2014 and highlight the ability of the theatrical to shape learning and opinion through dramatic performance and engagement with an audience, while borrowing techniques from fields as varied as politics, pop, fashion, marketing, and the arts. 

This year’s series features a diverse group of artists who explore how we attempt to influence one another through performance, the motivations behind these displays, and who influences and is influenced by the action on today’s public stage. Katherine Hubbard explores countercultural archetypes as cultural commodities reprocessed by mass-media, while Alaina Stamatis’ free public tours of MAD peel off the educational and interpretative layers of the museum experience. Enlisting MAD’s female employees for her project, Irena Knezevic aims to “suspend” the formal dissolution of the country of Yugoslavia via fashion production, whereas Julika Rudelius hosts a cocktail party manned by professional orators who engage the audience about the pursuit of happiness. item idem (Cyril Duval) examines the impact of spectacle on performance practices by staging a “disco cube” in a downtown Manhattan storefront during Fashion Week, offering an empty nightclub space for the audience to perform for one another, while Karen Mirza and Brad Butler of The Museum of Non Participation invite local residents to workshop and stage one of Bertolt Brecht’s political “learning plays,” as part of Performa 13. 

Cheat Out to The Audience: Risk x Reward 2013 underscores MAD’s continued dedication to and celebration of contemporary creation that defies simple categorization. Risk x Reward offers a platform for the presentation of new performance pieces and supports the development of bold and risk-taking works through residencies, rehearsals, and critical dialogs. 

Cheat Out to The Audience: Risk x Reward 2013 is organized by Jake Yuzna, Director of Public Programs. 

For more information about the series, visit

A thing and its thing-ness. It’s all just nouns and adjectives baby.
Katherine Hubbard
Thursday, October 24, 2013 – 7pm
Friday, October 25, 2013 – 7pm
$10 general, $5 MAD members and students

Gathering elements of image production—camera, light, clothing, position, and iconography—to examine the politics of looking, artist Katherine Hubbard stages her first performance work at MAD. The work will address the ways countercultural archetypes become cultural commodities, and sometimes operate as a type of shorthand in mass media’s rhetorical arsenal.

The artist provided the following statement:
“Peel back back back static plastic off a recent purchase. A film of dank moisture caught between the layers. Lay back. Lay down. Lean down. Tuck in and hold hold steady still and stay. Stay language stay letters accumulating and spilling over you, ****ing mess on the floor falling leaking over the edge of the desk. You’re all over the carpet between the wooly nubby humps gathering to force a whole. But hold steady and still because it looks real good now. Reframe and start again. This is a take so grab as much as you want. Don’t stress I’ll be here when there’s nothing left. I’ll still be here, an amorphic form of tight-wadded rubber banded pain even if I don’t seem my usual self. I will still say hi even if I don’t have a mouth. I will still hear you even if I don’t have ears. The skin organ is a loose blanket taking the shape of a ghost dividing us. But please whatever happens just don’t pity me, just speak to me as if nothing has changed.” 

The Guest of Citation
Karen Mirza and Brad Butler’s The Museum of Non Participation
As Part of Performa 13
Tuesday, November 19, 2013 – 7pm
Offsite: POPS (Privately Owned Public Space), Wall St & Pearl St

For Performa 13, the 2013 edition of New York City’s performance art biennial, and in conjunction with Cheat Out to the Audience: Risk & Reward 2013, the Museum of Arts and Design has commissioned London-based artists Karen Mirza and Brad Butler to present The Museum of Non Participation: The Guest of a Citation–an installment of the artists’ fictional museum and ongoing body of work that confronts (non) participation and the socio-political in art works. 

For this presentation, Mirza and Butler ask local residents to workshop and stage one of Bertolt Brecht’s short “learning plays,” The Exception and the Rule. Through the story of a merchant and his servant, the play explores themes of capitalism and economics, labor and hierarchy, legislation and state ideology, hiding and secrecy, and the lack of union rights. The audience is invited to eat, talk, rehearse, and perform together in order to explore and enact how these themes play out in their daily lives. 

The Exception and the Rule is one of Brecht’s several Lehrstücke or teaching plays. Brecht himself translated the term as “learning play” intended to educate people primarily about socialist politics. Typically, this form of political theater privileges function above content and foregrounds collective teaching and learning through various modes of performance. It attempts to break down any division between author and audience through reflexive gestures that reveal the “mechanics of theater.” Through this and other plays, Brecht developed a way for non-actors to learn through playing roles, adopting postures, getting rid of the divide between actors and audience, and focusing on process rather than a final project.

Working in the same vein, Mirza and Butler encourage the audience to enter into the project with the spirit of mutual enrichment and collaboration, where personal experiences, expertise and collective interpretation ultimately converge in the public presentation of the play.

Alaina Stamatis
Thursday, November 21, 2013 – 6:30pm
Thursday, December 12, 2013 – 6:30pm
Thursday, January 9, 2014 – 6:30pm
Thursday, February 6, 2014 – 6:30pm
Free with pay-what-you-wish admission

Leading free public tours of MAD, artist Alaina Stamatis examines the ways current exhibitions theatrically engage with and manipulate viewers. Exploring what is behind  the usually seamless educational and interpretive visitor experience, Stamatis demonstrates that museum pedagogy engages individuals through performance, informing how we build our own views on art and education. Tour participants will be provided with neon orange construction vests.

Julika Rudelius
Friday, December 13, 2013– 7pm
Free with RSVP (RSVP required:
7th floor, MAD 

German artist Julika Rudelius organizes a cocktail reception where professional orators will be invited. Hailing from a variety of backgrounds, from Scientology to Wall Street, each of these motivational speakers will engage the audience on the same subject: the pursuit of happiness.

 Addressing capitalism as a faith formed through collective belief systems, be they religious, neoliberal, new age, or other, Believe gives its invited speakers an opportunity to reach audiences they don’t normally have access to. Simultaneously, the performance tests the use of theatrical performance in crafting successful arguments in political, religious, and cultural spheres.

Nine Hour Delay
Irena Knezevic
Tuesday, January 28 to Sunday, February 2, 2014
All day, every day the museum is open
Free with Museum Admission
Throughout MAD 

Engaging the female employees of the Museum of Arts and Design through fashion, Serbian artist Irena Knezevic stages Nine Hour Delay, a project about Borovo, a footwear and rubber goods manufacturer and the last remaining public Yugoslav company. The inability to split and privatize the company’s public assets including its vast manufacturing infrastructure prevents Yugoslavia from splitting formally to this day. After the Balkan wars of the 1990s, each of the ex-Yugoslav republics has developed their own version of Borovo, all of which remain public, in limbo of economic transition. They all claim their own version of Borovo's design history. This project facilitates the reintroduction of the ergonomic Borosan shoe, which had been discontinued during the declining years of Yugoslav communism, and works with all the manufacturing resources of ex-Borovo as one.  

Designed by an orthopedic surgeon in collaboration with Borovo, the Borosan shoe was produced and tested by the Borovo female workers and public sector employees in Yugoslav factories, hospitals and schools. In the 1960’s, the model was first launched in white and navy colors, featuring an ergonomic platform, calculated as ideal for nine hours of standing without hurting the wearer’s spine. The ankle was secured by the boot depth and the feet could breathe through the porous canvas exterior.  

MAD female employees will sport a new version of the Borosan in a color selected by them and will wear the shoe during their workday for the duration of the project. MAD will become a site of Borosan re-institutionalization, keeping alive its constructivist maxim of great utilitarian design in service of the working woman. The ultimate goal of Nine Hour Delay is to keep Borosan in production suspending the formal dissolution of the country of Yugoslavia. With each new nine-hour work day, Yugoslavia persists. 

item idem
Thursday, February 6, 2014 to Thursday, February 13, 2014
Free, Offsite

Artist/designer item idem (Cyril Duval) unveils his P.R.I.S.M. (Parallactic & Revolutionist Illuminance of a Self-Sufficient System of Monstrance) project, which explores the impact of spectacle on performance practices. Open every night over the course of a full New York fashion week, P.R.I.S.M. will manifest as a room-sized black disco ball in the shape of a rotating cube–recalling Alamo, the iconic “Astor Place Cube” by Tony Rosenthal, as an ode to Downtown’s legendary nightlife. 

The disco cube will fill a storefront in downtown Manhattan, with nightlife hosts, smoke and white laser shows and original DJ mixes performed without their authors. Recreating a frozen, absent and/or dead nightclub as spectacle, P.R.I.S.M. will deliver an environment in which audience members become performers and that helps reveal how we perform for one another. 

Marie Karlberg 

New York-based performance artist, cult nightlife icon and host of late night rave XTAPUSSY, Marie Karlberg will participate in Cheat Out To The Audience: Risk x Reward 2013.

Details of her performance to be announced soon on 

The Museum of Arts and Design explores the value of making across all fields of contemporary creative practice. The Museum focuses on the ways in which artists and designers transform the world around us, through processes ranging from the artisanal to the digital. MAD’s exhibition program is dedicated to creativity and craftsmanship, and demonstrates the limitless potential of materials and techniques when used by gifted and innovative artists. The Museum’s permanent collection is global in scope and includes art, craft, and design from 1950 to the present day. At the center of the Museum's mission is education. The Museum houses classrooms and studios for master classes, seminars, and workshops for students, families, and adults. Three open studios engage visitors in the creative processes of artists at work and enhance the exhibition programs. Lectures, films, performances, and symposia related to the Museum’s collection and subjects across the full spectrum of making practices are held in a renovated 143-seat auditorium. 


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