Jen DeNike and PERFORMA are “happening” at First Saturday


Academic Programs Coordinator Eleanor Whitney and artist Jen DeNike conduct a walkthrough of the Rubin Pavillion and Lobby in preparation for TWIRL.

For months, the city has been eagerly anticipating PERFORMA, the performance art biennial that is literally “happening” all over New York for the month of November. PERFORMA was founded in 2004, with the mission to support the presentation of performance by visual artists and the efficacy of “live art” within the visual arts. The discipline and practice of performance has been important to women artists since the 1960s and 70s, when the art form began to coalesce into a movement in such downtown art pantheons (though then they were just rough spaces and warehouses) as Judson Church, 112 Greene Street and PS1. Performance, like video, is arguably one of the first art forms to be pioneered equally by both men and women artists. Now performance art is generally considered a serious medium, not unlike painting or sculpture, although critics and historians continue to explore ways of defining, codifying and mapping its history and current importance. When PERFORMA organizers approached curators and educators at the Museum last year about hosting events in conjunction with this year’s consortium of arts organizations around the city–and the representation of Brooklyn venues is stronger than ever before –we jumped at the chance to participate!

This Saturday’s program features original performances by Terence Koh, and Brooklyn based artist, Jen DeNike, whose meditative and dreamlike video, Happy Endings, 2006 is currently on view in the Center through January 10th, 2010 in Reflections on the Electric Mirror: New Feminist Video. Jen’s performance on Saturday titled TWIRL, will include an award-winning fifty-piece student marching band from Weehawken, New Jersey, along with baton twirler, Erica Henschel, and a few other surprises. When we met with Jen last spring, all immediately hit it off, and were thrilled at the possibility of hosting her unique spectacle in the beautiful Rubin Pavillion and Lobby. Because Jen’s performance coincides with our monthly blow-out First Saturday, we know that hundreds of people will be milling about the area early Saturday evening. We also hear that local photographers are invited to shoot the bands on Saturday and post photos to the Brooklyn Museum’s flickr group. You can shoot the performances too! Jen is enthusiastic about organizing a critical mass to capture many and varied perspectives, and crowd views of the performance as it unfolds.

Jen DeNike’s performance TWIRL begins at 6PM on Saturday, in and around the Rubin Pavillion and Lobby.

Check out this recent interview with Jen about her art and performance on!


TWIRL artist Jen DeNike visits the Weehawken Marching Band as they prepare for a Halloween parade led by Vice Principal Steven Spinosa.