Many of you have been to PS122, or at very least heard of it, given its 30-odd years of presenting performance work by all manner of New York artists, famous, infamous, and fleeting. What you may not be aware of are the big changes afoot over on 9th Street and First Avenue—besides the long-awaited removal of the scaffolding that shrouded the building for 10 years.
For the past five years, PS122's artistic director, Vallejo Gantner, an Aussie by birth and a nomad by choice, has been working to reshape and rethink the way the organization operates. While those working in contemporary performing arts know how many changes have been taking place in the field over the past decade, audiences aren't necessarily as aware of how much the earth is moving beneath them. Gantner's vision for PS122 serves as a striking example of how things are shifting within the performance community, if often by nothing more than the force of will of those who want change to happen. It also serves as a window into the ways that the performance world, not unlike many other businesses, is looking for new models to move forward in an era when nothing can be taken for granted.
I sat down with Gantner at a bar around the corner from the space to chat about one of his organization's newest initiatives, PS122 Global, which launched in late October. Through this new program artists like Richard Maxwell, Reggie Watts, and Young Jean Lee are touring as a group to international venues and festivals, all under the PS122 umbrella. It's a model that Gantner hopes will not only extend the reach of the organization, but also that of the artists who cross its stages.The L: Where did the idea for PS122 Global come from?