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Performance — 10 May 2014

Entrance price to the Stedelijk Museum + € 2,50 cover charge
Teijin Auditorium, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
10 May 2014, 10 am until 3 pm
Main language
It is necessary to make a reservation. Book here

The Stedelijk Museum is delighted to present 100 Beautiful Jokes (2014), a new performance by the internationally renowned artist Michael Portnoy. This new commission is developed especially for the Stedelijk, and is part of the performance and lecture series Stage It! (Part 3): SCRIPTED. The performce will be performed continually between 12 and 5 pm.

100 Beautiful Jokes proposes a new breed of joke. Rather than simply a means to laughter, Portnoy imagines the joke to be a thing of rare, complicated beauty to linger over and be emotionally transported by; something that makes you shudder for reasons slightly beyond reach. In this performance, Portnoy will perform one beautiful joke every three minutes for five hours, accompanied by a lush cinematic soundtrack. The material for these highly abstract jokes is derived from a collection of his original texts, scores and lexicons, transmitted to him during the show. Both verbally and physically, Portnoy will navigate through a landscape of prompts and source information, and use that to channel and compose the script on the spot.

This project continues Portnoy's long-term exploration of the poetic potential of jokes, which he has explored in many media, from the written word, to installation, pedagogy, dance and conferences with humor theorists. The performance 100 Beautiful Jokes is the first in a series of variations, with the next to be presented at Cricoteca in Krakow, Poland, in September 2014. At the Stedelijk, a film will be shot of the performance. This material will be edited into a one-hour version with added commentary relating the content and mechanics of the jokes to different theories of beauty throughout history.

More information about the artist

With a background in dance and stand-up comedy, Michael Portnoy switched camps to the field of visual arts around 2006. His performance-based practice is realized in a variety of media, from sculpture, participatory installation, and curation to painting, writing, theater, and video. He has presented internationally in museums, art galleries, theatres, and music halls, including the Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2013); KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2013); The Kitchen, New York (2013); dOCUMENTA 13, Kassel (2012); 11th Baltic Triennial (co-curator), Vilnius (2012); Objectif Exhibitions, Antwerp (2011); Wilfried Lentz, Rotterdam (2011); Taipei Biennial (2010); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2010); De Appel, Amsterdam (2010); CAC, Vilnius (2010); Performa 07, 09, and 11 Biennial, New York; Kadist Foundation, Paris (2009); Kunstverein, Amsterdam (2009); SculptureCenter, New York (2008); Ibid Projects, London (2008); Kunsthalle Basel (2008); Second Moscow Biennial (2007); and Art Unlimited Basel (2007). His first book, Script Opposition in Late-Model Carrot Jokes, was published in 2011 and he is a visiting professor at Malmö Art Academy.