Thursday, June 13, 2024

Queer New York International Arts Festival has something for everyone

NYU Skirball presents the Queer New York International Arts Festival, featuring works from a diverse group of international artists, running February 7-17, 2024, at NYU Skirball.

The festival, returning to New York after a six-year hiatus, questions traditional definitions and the understanding of queerness in artistic practice in concept and/or form. The 2024 festival features artists from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, and Germany whose works explore a range of contemporary issues related to queer identity and marginalization, opening up topics such as sex work, migration, Indigenous rights, political prosecution, and the new conservatism. QNYIAF, curated and produced by Zvonimir Dobrović (founder and artistic director of Queer Zagreb and Perforations festivals in Croatia), will include performances, a video installation/exhibition, and a series of public talks with artists and curators.

The Festival Schedule

ARIJANA LEKIĆ FRIDRIH: From 5 to 95       Croatia  • Multimedia

Wednesday, February 7 – Saturday, February 17 at 6:30 pm

The festival opens with Croatian artist Arijana Lekić Fridrih’s From 5 to 95, a video installation and art web project documenting intergenerational stories and experiences of girls and women living in Croatia.  Women’s stories have, throughout history, been either censored or auto censored. In a conservative society such as Croatian, some immanently female experiences are not being shared, and certain life lessons of high value are still being transmitted exclusively by oral traditions from one generation to another. The installation will be available for viewing throughout the Festival.

Arijana Lekić-Fridrih was born in Zagreb, where she currently lives and works. She graduated in Film and Video studies in Split, along with Film and TV Directing at the Academy of Dramatic Arts in Zagreb. She has worked as a screenwriter of documentary series and director of two short documentary films, Online and The Parade, but her work is currently focused on video and performance art. She regularly exhibits her work in Croatia and abroad.


Wednesday, February 7 & Thursday, February 8 at 7:30 pm

Co-directors Bruno Isaković and Nataša Rajković spent several months with four Argentinian sex workers, leading to their theater piece, Yira, yira (Cruising, cruising), which reveals aspects of sex work we rarely think about. Performed by the sex workers Leandra, Sofia, Larry and Pichon, and through their stories,  we enter the world of sex work defined both by personal choice and circumstances. We also become aware that at the same time we are talking about work conditions in general, demand and supply curves in an open market, margins and centers and social powers that come with those positions. Sex work therefore becomes a complex crossroad of economy, sex, gender, age, power dynamics, class, and choice. When we think about the exchange of money for sex, we usually consider only the clients who pay sex workers for their service, but what is the full price in reality and who pays it in the end? Clients with their money or sex workers with their social status, legal insecurities and other risks that come with the job? There will be a post-performance discussion on February 7.

Bruno Isaković is a performer and choreographer living in Zagreb, Croatia. He studied contemporary dance in Amsterdam and Rotterdam and has received various scholarships, as well as Jury Award and Best Solo Dance at the Solo Dance International Festival in Budapest, along with a Croatian National Award in 2016 as the best choreographer. His solo Denuded (2013) toured to over 35 countries around the world, from New York, Tokyo, London, Sao Paolo to Hobart. He is the artistic director of the Sounded Bodies Festival in Zagreb, Croatia.

Nataša Rajković is a theatre director, dramaturg, writer, producer and former artistic director of the Culture of Change within the Student Centre in Zagreb. She currently teaches at the Academy of Dramatic Arts in Zagreb. Collaborating with the theatre director Bobo Jelčić, they developed their own theatre concept, won numerous awards, and toured venues and festivals with their performances all over Europe. Culture of Change co-productions have garnered more than 50 national and international awards and recognitions, establishing a new generation of artists from all fields of artistic creation. Most recently Nataša directed Astronaut Wittgenstein at the renowned Wiener Festwochen in Austria.


Friday, February 9 & Saturday, February 10 at 7:30 pm

Croatian choreographers/dancers Mia Zalukar and Bruno Isaković have collaborated on Kill B., a dance performance inspired byQuentin Tarantino’s 2003 cult movie Kill Bill. Zalukar and Isaković create a performative analysis of their own long-term professional relationship, questioning the hierarchical structures inside the theatre-making process and the power dynamic between the two, at least in theory, equal partners. 

Bruno Isaković is a performer and choreographer living in Zagreb, Croatia. He studied contemporary dance in Amsterdam and Rotterdam and has received various scholarships, as well as Jury Award and Best Solo Dance at the Solo Dance International Festival in Budapest, along with a Croatian National Award in 2016 as the best choreographer. His solo Denuded (2013) toured to over 35 countries around the world, from New York, Tokyo, London, Sao Paolo to Hobart. He is the artistic director of the Sounded Bodies Festival in Zagreb, Croatia.

Mia Zalukar is a dancer and choreographer living and working in Zagreb. Zakular collaborates with Croatian choreographers such as Marjana Krajač, Irma Omerzo, Bruno Isaković, Roberta Milevoj and Martina Granić. In 2015 she received an award for Marjana Krajač’s play Variations about senses, and in 2016 she was nominated for a Croatian National Award for her performance in the play The Damned and Decryption. Along with Bruno Isaković, she is the co-founder of the Malo sutra artistic organization, and works at Franjo Lučić Art School, teaching performing arts, rhythm and contemporary dance.


Tuesday, February 13 at 7:30 pm 

In The Goldberg Variations, Canadian performance artist Clayton Lee freely references and entangles queer diasporic sexuality and aesthetics with classical music (Johann Sebastian Bach) and professional wrestling (Bill Goldberg). 

Using deadpan humor, generosity, and a low-vibrating mischievous to facilitate and indulge the “what-ifs” of the live encounter, Clayton guides the audience through his sexual history while conjuring and perhaps manifesting new fantasies at the exact same time. The Goldberg Variations is an unhinged and reckless deep dive into power dynamics, sexual desire, domination/submission, heartbreak, vulnerability, tenderness, and the tensions that exist within.

Clayton Lee (he/him) is a UK-based, Canadian performance artist and curator. Performances include (◕‿◕✿) at The Performance Arcade in Wellington, New Zealand; Chapter’s Experimentica in Cardiff, Wales; Ways of Being, co-created with Michael Rubenfeld; Duets for Beginners; and Informal Beginnings. He was the 2023 Art Gallery of Ontario x RBC Artist-in-Residence. He is currently the Artistic Director of the Fierce Festival in Birmingham, UK and formerly the Rhubarb Festival Director at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre.

TIZIANO CRUZ:CONFERENCE             Argentina Lecture/Performance

Thursday, February 15 at 7:30 pm

Conference, from Argentinian artist Tiziano Cruz, is a lecture-performance created from a selection of autobiographical events. Cruz composes scenic narratives invoking the memory of the body and the power of his Andean ancestors, in a desperate attempt, not only to silence the mourning of his dead sister, but also, as a possibility to reconcile with the world. There will be a discussion following the performance.

Tiziano Cruz is an interdisciplinary artist whose work fundamentally brings together visual and theatrical language, performance, and artistic intervention into public space. Tiziano has been a Fellow of the National Arts Fund and the National Theater Institute ARG. He was the winner of the Biennale of Young Art 2019 and nominated for ANTI prize, Finland, 2023. He is the founder of the ULMUS Cultural Management Platform, dedicated to mediation between different cultural organizations in Argentina and neighboring countries. He currently serves as a Content Producer at the Recoleta Cultural Center in Buenos Aires.

WAGNER SCHWARTZ: La Bête       Brazil Performance/Lecture

Friday, February 16 at 7:30 pm

Brazilian artist Wagner Schwartz performs an interactive and participatory solo, in which he is reactivating the famous figure of the Bicho (or “Beast”), the adjustable metal sculpture which the Brazilian artist Lygia Clark produced as a series in the early 1960s. The performer begins by manipulating a plastic replica of the original object, and playing with its system of hinges, before inviting the audience to do likewise, this time with a different kind of beast: his own naked body. Schwartz’s performance of La Bête in 2017 at the Museum of Modern Art in São Paulo, when a video of the naked artist being touched by a young child was shared online, incited an extensive hate campaign targeting the artist, the museum, and cultural workers.

Based on his experience with La Bête, Schwartz wrote a book “A nudez da cópia imperfeita” (“The Nakedness of the Imperfect Copy”), Editora Nós, which will be discussed, along with the wider context of his artistic practice, on Thursday, February 15 at 5:30 pm in the Department of Performance Studies, Tisch School of the Arts at the Richard Schechner Studio (721 Broadway, 6th Floor) with Professor André Lepecki.

Born in Rio de Janeiro in 1972, Wagner Schwartz lives and works between São Paulo and Paris. After studying modern literature, he participated in several groups of choreographic research and experimentation in South America and Europe. He has created 12 pieces since 2003, for which he has been awarded several prizes. In 2021, he became resident at the Cité International des Arts, winner of the program established by the Daniel and Nina Carasso Foundation. In 2022, he was invited by ICORN (International Cities of Refuge Network) to participate at a PEN International residency in Antwerp (PEN Vlaanderen)—supported also by a grant from the Open Society Foundations. In 2023, he was supported by PEN America’s Artist at Risk Connection. 

RAIMUND HOGHE COMPANY An Evening With Raimund             Germany Dance

Saturday, February 17 at 7:30 pm   

Raimund Hoghe Company members Emmanuel Eggermont and Luca Giacomo Schulte have created an evening of works by the late German choreographer Raimund Hoghe in a tribute performed by his dancers. In this ephemeral performance, danced fragments chosen from Hoghe’s repertoire revive the wave of humanity and poetry that Hoghe was able to delicately place on each of his dancers and spectators. This performance gathers seven dancers who perform some of their most memorable parts from almost two decades of dance pieces with which Raimund Hoghe and his company performed all over the world. 

German choreographer Raimund Hoghe (1949-2021) began his career as a journalist, writing portraits of outsiders and celebrities for the German weekly newspaper “Die Zeit.” These were later compiled in several books. From 1980 to 1989 he worked as dramaturge for Pina Bausch’s Tanztheater Wuppertal and since 1989 he started working on his own theatre pieces for various dancers and actors. His performances have been presented all over Europe, as well as in North and South America, Asia and Australia. During his long career, Raimund received numerous awards and has published books in Germany, France, the UK, and the USA. Hoghe died in 2021 in Dusseldorf.

Zvonimir Dobrović (curator) 

Founder and Artistic Director of Queer Zagreb and Perforations festivals as well as Executive Producer of Sounded Bodies Festival in Croatia. He has been an invited curator of festivals and performing arts programs around the world and regularly presents and produces up to 80 public events a year in Croatia and internationally. He has extensive experience and expertise in arts management and fundraising. He edited over 40 books, taught arts management and curating classes as guest speaker at numerous Universities, Academies and other formal and informal education programs including Yale, Columbia and NYU.

The Queer New York International Festival is partially funded by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia, City of Zagreb – Office for Culture and Goethe-Institut New York.


NYU Skirball is located in the heart of Greenwich Village, historically a center of resistance, dissent and free thinking. NYU Skirball’s programing reflects this history and embraces today’s renegade artists and companies, presenting works that aim to engage, provoke and inspire audiences. NYU Skirball is NYC’s home for cutting-edge performance, artistic research, and discourse, holding close to James Baldwin’s dictum that “artists are here to disturb the peace.” The 800-seat theatre provides a home for internationally renowned artists, innovators, and thinkers and presents ground-breaking events ranging from re-inventions of the classics to cutting-edge premieres, in genres ranging from dance, theatre and performance arts to comedy, music and film.

Queer New York International Arts Festival will play February 7 – 17, 2024 at 7:30 pm. Tickets begin at  $25. Tickets are available here.

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