Laurie Anderson in Nam June Paik’s Good Morning Mr. Orwell, 1984. Courtesy Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York.


Performa Telethon

A Global Fundraiser to Celebrate 15 Epic Years of Performa

Wednesday, Nov 18, 2020
2 – 10 PM EST
Broadcast Live from Pace Gallery
Produced by Performa in collaboration with E.S.P. TV

Tune in for Performa's first-ever 8-hour global Performa Telethon fundraiser, including an unforgettable line-up of newly-commissioned performances and limited-edition “homegoods” from some of the world’s leading artists, broadcast live from Pace Gallery in New York.

Viewers will have the opportunity to tune in live from the comfort of their own homes and, through texting or calling in to a phone bank installed at Pace Gallery in Chelsea, will be able to purchase unique limited edition "homegoods" by artists, which will be dropped every hour throughout the primetime segment of the Telethon from 6 – 10 PM.

Event Details

Wednesday, Nov 18, 2020
2 – 10 PM EST
Broadcast Live from Pace Gallery
Produced by Performa in collaboration with E.S.P. TV


Toby Devan Lewis, Founding Patron, Performa


Registration for this event is closed. For any questions regarding events, please contact us at

How to Watch

This event has concluded.

Dedicated to

Nam June Paik


Text “PERFORMA” to 44-321 to give


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Performa, the leading organization in commissioning ground-breaking live performance by visual artists, is pleased to announce details for its first-ever 8-hour global Performa Telethon fundraiser, entering the airwaves on Wednesday, November 18th, from 2 to 10 PM EST.

Artist editions for sale by Korakrit Arunanondchai, Barbara Kruger, Kia LaBeija, Michèle Lamy, Laurie Simmons and Cindy Sherman. Performances by: Derrick Adams & Dave Guy, Laurie Anderson, Jérôme Bel, Torkwase Dyson, David Hallberg, Ragnar Kjartansson, Lang Lang, Marching Cobras, Jason Moran, Oyinda, Yvonne Rainer, Jennifer Rubell, Jacolby Satterwhite, Rufus Wainright and Hank Willis Thomas & Ebony Brown. Testimonials by: Tamy Ben-Tor, Elmgreen & Dragset, Omer Fast, Maria Hassabi, Jesper Just, William Kentridge, Liz Magic Laser, Kelly Nipper, and more.

Since 2005, Performa has transformed the art world with its visionary biennial and commissions, radically changing the understanding of performance by visual artists across disciplines and making artists’ ideas directly accessible to the public. Performa has produced eight biennials, reaching an international audience of over 250,000 people and featuring more than 700 artists at 200 plus venues across New York City. On the occasion of its 15th Anniversary, Performa will honor Toby Devan Lewis, founding patron, who for the past fifteen years has championed Performa, helping it grow into the major organization that it has become. It will also celebrate the legacy of Nam June Paik, the pioneer of video art who coined the term ‘electronic superhighway’ to predict the future of communication in the internet age.

Performa and Pace Gallery

Pace is pleased to partner with Performa for the Telethon, in honor of a longstanding collaboration between the two organizations and Pace’s legacy for facilitating early performance art. In 2019, as part of the inaugural season of Pace Live, Performa and Pace co-presented a specially-commissioned performance by Torkwase Dyson. The work, I Can Drink the Distance, featured Dionne Brand, Autumn Knight, Christina Sharpe, Zachary Fabri, Andres Hernandez, Arthur Jafa, Deja Smith, and Gaika and was performed across two acts in the 7th floor space where the Telethon is taking place.

Torkwase Dyson will read an excerpt from her recent writing Myself a Distance; inspired by two American poets, novelists, playwrights and social activists, Angela Jackson and Alice Walker. Written during Covid, Dyson’s words consider painting, perception and haptic tension. In a moment of precarity and needed dexterity how does one unpack black spatial archetypes as systems of complex composition, architecture and geography? What methods are there for building spatial archetypes in relation to wetter futures?

Marc Glimcher, President and CEO of Pace Gallery, comments: “Performa is a vital organization both for New York City and in the international landscape of performance art. We are very proud to support their work. The reinvention of their gala moment as Telethon is just another example of Performa’s visionary thinking that brings artists’ ideas to the public in an accessible, radical way--a mission with which Pace very much aligns. And now that Performa is out front in reimagining “liveness” in our Digital 2.0 world we are thrilled to provide them a platform to do so.”

Telethon History

Performa returns to the spirit of Nam June Paik’s legendary 1984 live broadcast Good Morning Mr. Orwell, with a telethon fundraiser in the form of an experimental primetime event. Like Nam June Paik’s original broadcast of 1984, which defied the doomsday predictions of George Orwell’s 1984, proposing instead an optimistic notion that technology and the arts could unite the world, the Performa Telethon will be a unique transcultural extravaganza and feature some of the most vital voices in visual art, music, and dance, nearly all of them having previously participated in Performa biennials since 2005.

“Nam June Paik's innovations in broadcast and large-scale architectural installations of television monitors changed the way we think about the screen as an art form,” said Performa Founder and Director RoseLee Goldberg. “Half a century after Paik’s legendary interventions in television, we find ourselves in a unique situation: we must now rely on the screen in new ways in the midst of a pandemic that has cost over one million lives. Like Paik, we approach the screen as an exciting platform for artists to communicate their work and ideas,” she continued.

In 1989, Barbara Kruger famously critiqued Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon for its outlandish format and sheer spectacle, the embodiment of "outrageous schticksterism, oozing with every show-biz cliche, every bad dream of what it might mean to be an 'entertainer.'" Borrowing visual cues from the fast-pace studio environment associated with popular telethons around the world, along with home shopping networks such as QVC and MTV’s heigh-day in the 80s and 90s, the Performa Telethon will be a mash-up of Nam June Paik’s adventurous global broadcasts and the extravagantly staged Jerry Lewis telethon – both subverting and joyfully playing with the consumer format which it embraces.

  • Events — Performa Telethon Fundraiser, Nov 18, 2020