Performa 07 Closes With Accordion, Various Bird Noises

Photo: Chris Woltmann

Performa 07 went out not with a bang but with an accordion. New York’s second-annual biennial of performance art finished up last night at the Millennium Theater to a packed house of downtown intellectuals complaining about the cash bar. For the past 25 days, a nonstop series of performances, from an important historical re-creation of the Allan Kaprow “happenings” of 1959 to a backward-marching army at MoMA to synchronized rooftop hula-hopping, have drawn crowds — and vexed celebrities (Francesco Vezzoli’s 90-minutes-late performance piece kept Uma Thurman, Lou Reed, Mary-Kate Olsen, and several hundred others waiting outside the Guggenheim).

Last night, in a smorgasbord of synergy, would-be-comedian-slash-singer Dynasty Handbag did a monologue, a Finnish troupe performed a sci-fi dance in a moonscape, and a talented young woman with an accordion sang about evolution, death, and time. (We’d tell you who she was, but there were no programs left.) Throughout the evening, for no apparent reason, there were many recorded bird noises. Director RosaLee Goldberg summed up the biennial by noting it “was about bringing people together in this mad, wonderful city,” and she promised Performa 09 will be even better. “Caw! Caw!” —Alexandra Peers