Enacting Text: Performing with Words

Organized by Nicolás Dumit Estévez Raful, artist and Independent Curator.

While performative art practice, with all of its nuances, remains largely fleeting, a significant number of artists, working mainly in interventions, performances, situations, and experiences, have generated a substantial material culture. Whether drafting steps for an action, making lists of performance materials, or giving directions for participants, the use of written language becomes a recurrent element in the enactment of the practice. This exhibition gives center stage to artist books, letters, notes, scripts, and texts produced side-by-side to, or in complicity with, these short-lived gestures.

About the curator

Nicolás Dumit Estévez treads an elusive path that manifests itself performatively or through experiences where the quotidian and art overlap. He has exhibited and performed extensively in the U.S. as well as internationally at venues such as Madrid Abierto/ARCO, The IX Havana Biennial, PERFORMA 05 and 07, IDENSITAT, Prague Quadrennial, The Pontevedra Biennial, The Queens Museum of Art, MoMA, Printed Matter, P.S. 122, Hemispheric Institute of Performance Art and Politics, Princeton University, Rutgers University, The Institute for Art, Religion, and Social Justice at Union Theological Seminary, The MacDowell Colony, Provisions Library, El Museo del Barrio, Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, The Center for Book Arts, Longwood Art Gallery/BCA, The Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, Franklin Furnace, and Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, among others. During the past seven years Estévez has received mentorship in art in everyday life from Linda Mary Montano, a historic figure in the performance art field. Montano and Estévez have also collaborated on several performances. Residencies attended include P.S. 1/MoMA, Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony. He has received grants from Art Matters, Lambent Foundation, National Association of Latino Arts and Culture, Printed Matter and Puffin Foundation. Estévez Holds an MFA from Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA; and an MA from Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. Estévez has curated exhibitions and organized programs for El Museo del Barrio, the Institute for Art, Religion and Social Justice at Union Theological Seminary, Longwood Art Gallery/Bronx Council on the Arts, and the Queens Museum of Art, New York; and for the Filmoteca de Andalucía, Córdoba, Spain. He is currently curating an exhibition from El Museo del Barrio’s permanent collection. Publications include Pleased to Meet YouLife as Material for Art and Vice Versa (editor) and For Art’s Sake. Born in Santiago de los Treinta Caballeros, Dominican Republic, in 2011 Estévez was baptized as a Bronxite; a citizen of the Bronx.

Relevant Links


Maria Alós, Josefina Báez, Paco Cao, Papo Colo, Billy X. Curmano, Irina Danilova, Jean-Ulrick Désert, Lesley Dill, Coco Fusco, Beatrice Glow, Alicia Grullón, Guerilla Girls, Pablo Helguera, Nancy Hwang, Alison Knowles, LuLu LoLo, Linda, Mary Montano, Pat Oleszko, Pedro Pietri, Praxis (Brainard and Delia Carey), Quintin Rivera-Toro, Jack Smith, Elizabeth M. Stephens and Annie Sprinkle, Cecilia Vicuña, and Martha Wilson

Exhibition Views

gallery with two large vitrines
Enacting the Text (exhibition view) photo courtesy Megan N. Liberty
grid of defaced self portaits
Deface Billy Project (1981 & 2016) Bully Curmano
self portraits scattered on the floor
Deface Billy Project (detail, 2016) photo courtesy Megan N. Liberty
billy curmano with beard
booklets in vitrine
Performance Ephemera from Leslie Dill (installation view) photo courtesy Megan N. Liberty
books and tablet with video
Enacting the Text (2016) photo courtesy Megan N. Liberty
documents in a vitrine
Nancy Regan Beats Cancer (1985) photo courtesy Megan N. Liberty
close up of typewritten documents
Nancy Regan Beats Cancer (detail, 1985) photo courtesy Megan N. Liberty
woman wearing orange wig with red tie and hands up
Martha Wilson as Donald Thump (performance at CBA, 2016) photo courtesy Megan N. Liberty
woman holds card with three e's on it while snapping on the cover of a book
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