2019 Interrogations of Form

“The Park Avenue Armory has two consistent modes: The first is to overwhelm; the second is to inspire a quiet conviction that you’re missing something amazing in another part of the building. Both struck with full force…filling the gilded, schizo-baroque rooms and halls with a dazzling mix of artists, thinkers, and impresarios”

Held in our historic period rooms, these insightful conversations throughout the year feature artists, scholars, cultural leaders, and social trailblazers who gather to offer new points of view and unique perspectives on Armory productions, explore a range of themes and relevant topics, and encourage audiences to think beyond conventional interpretations and perspectives of art.

Symposium: Culture in a Changing America
Sunday, February 17, 2019 at 12:00pm, 3:00pm, & 6:30pm


Join an interdisciplinary group of artists, thinkers, activists, academics, and community leaders as they explore the role of culture in a changing America. Two main tracks feature keynote conversations, artist salons, open studios, intimate performances, and interactive workshops. The Art & Identity track explores how artists’ creative practices and individual identities reflect or respond to societal concerns; topics include artistic use of ever-evolving technology, shifting notions of gender, and courageous responses to the impact of racism on art. The Art & Activism track focuses on the power of artists to affect change in their communities through artistic endeavors and activism; it features artist-activists from the film, television, and food industries, architecture practices, as well as artists working in partnership with New York City agencies.

The symposium concludes with a special keynote conversation moderated by The Studio Museum in Harlem’s Director and Chief Curator Thelma Golden, with choreographer, director, and dancer Bill T. Jones, the Kennedy Center’s Marc Bamuthi Joseph, visual artist Julie Mehretu, and musician Toshi Reagon centered on the state of American culture in the age of Trump, followed by a musical performance by Toshi Reagon and special guests.

This symposium is presented in collaboration with The Studio Museum in Harlem.

Artist Talk: The Lehman Trilogy
Saturday, March 23, 2019 at 6:00pm

Watch the Conversation

Director Sam Mendes and Ben Power discuss adapting Stefano Massini’s epic and realizing the immigrant story in modern times. Playwright Lynn Nottage moderates.

Sunday Salon: Museum as Sanctuary
Sunday, April 14, 2019 at 3:00pm

Tania Bruguera, installation artist and Armory Artist-in-Residence best known for challenging institutions and power structures with her socially-engaged art projects, invites us to engage with the concept of “Museum as Sanctuary.”

The Salon begins with an introduction by Tania Bruguera, followed by a gathering, “Make Sanctuary Not Art”, featuring a sanctuary training and rite led by Luba Cortés (Make the Road New York), Geoff Trenchard (New Sanctuary Coalition), Jackie Vimo (The National Immigration Law Center), and Abou Farman (Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, The New School). The training offers key strategies for fostering and maintaining safe art spaces (even sanctuary neighborhoods) for all people, especially people with precarious immigration status.

On View from 4:30pm–5:30pm
Conversation with the Artists at 4:45pm

The central part of this Salon incorporates artists directly impacted by immigration and uplifts art that shows the complexity and layered experience of being migrant. Throughout the afternoon, the pop up exhibition “You See Me?!?” will be on display. Curated by Sonia Guiñansaca and CultureStrike, the exhibit highlights the art work of undocu-artists Julio Salgado and Emulsify. The video installation, “Con Cámaras Y Sín Papeles”, an archive of a decade of undocumented films spanning from 2007 to 2018, will also be shown.

The Salon concludes with a conversation, “Institutions as Sanctuary in times of Exclusion”, moderated by Tania Bruguera, with Alexandra Délano Alonso (Chair of Global Studies, The New School), Camilo Godoy (Visual Artist), Sonia Guiñansaca (Poet, Activist, Managing Director of CultureStrike), Bitta Mostofi (Commissioner, The Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs), and Verónica Ramírez (Women in Motion).

Confrontational Comedy
Friday, May 17, 2019 at 7:00pm

Confrontational Comedy returns for a fourth year, headlined by Nish Kumar (host of BBC’s late-night comedy show, The Mash Report, as well as appearances on Comedy Central’s Stand-Up for Central, Drunk History, The Alternative Comedy Experience & Live At The Comedy Store). Joining him are comedians Charla Lauriston (former writer Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Comedy Central’s Why? W/ Hannibal Buress, TBS’ People of Earth, and FOX’s Ghosted), Billy Wayne Davis (appearances on Conan, Last Comic Standing; comedy albums “Billy Wayne Davis” & “Billy Wayne Davis: Live at Third Man Records”) and Tien Tran (former member of The Second City’s 106th Mainstage revue, Dream Freaks Fall From Space). This unforgettable evening of comedy sets and conversation highlights the power of humor to confront stereotypes and engage audiences around uncomfortable topics. Hosted by Warrington Hudlin (Founding President, Black Filmmaker Foundation; producer of House Party and Boomerang).

Artist Talk: Everything that happened and would happen
Thursday, June 6, 2019 at 5:30pm

Watch the Conversation

Artist and composer Heiner Goebbels and composer, vocalist and scholar Gelsey Bell discuss the creation of work that defies categorization and the realization of productions in unconventional spaces.

Artist Talk: Drill
Thursday, June 20, 2019 at 6:00pm
Tickets: $15

Hito Steyerl is joined by Anton Vidokle (artist and founder of e-flux), Christopher B. Toepfer (founder of The Neighborhood Foundation), and Ayham Ghraowi (Producer and Assistant Director of Drill) for a conversation about the inspirations, ideas, and creative development of her Armory installation. Curator Tom Eccles moderates.

Performance Lecture: Drill
Saturday, June 29, 2019 at 3:00pm
Tickets: $10

Learning/Unlearning of Violence: Performance Lecture by Vanessa Gravenor
What remnants remain from the US-Pakistani-Saudi proxy war in 1980s Afghanistan – those that continue to write themselves on bodies involved in terrorism, and in the War on Terror? This performance lecture by artist Vanessa Gravenor critically approaches political language coming from the upper echelons of the American government through its inverse: language inserted from below in pedagogy books funded by USAID and other American backers trying to defeat the Soviets and distributed among the Afghani refugees along the Afghan-Pakistani border. Linguistic “lines of fire” are reversed in order to understand present-day feedback loops. The artist will additionally analyze a biographical vocabulary list used when undergoing PTSD therapy, following her injury in the November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris.

Screening & Conversation
Saturday, July 20, 2019 at 3:00pm & 5:00pm
Tickets: $10

The Dead Walk Into a Bar: Screening & Conversation with Anton Vidokle, Adam Khalil, and Bayley Sweitzer
The distant future. An orbital facility of unknown origin. Here, the debt of taking a life will be finally repaid…. through resurrection. The victims of military violence across time are systematically brought back to life and guided through the all-too-familiar facility. As a staff of identical ushers draws back layers of confusion and pain, the freshly resurrected gradually become aware of the reality of their corporeal reinsertion: perhaps the world of the living is not a world at all; to be alive in this place may merely be an exhibit. We, the resurrected, overwhelmed by a literal second life, will of course discover our one inevitable destination: a place to sit, have a drink, and talk it out.

Content advisory: The Dead Walk into a Bar contains nudity and material that some may find challenging.

Sunday Salon: Spoken Word
Sunday, September 22, 2019 at 3:00pm
Tickets: $25

Park Avenue Armory and the Nuyorican Poets Cafe mark the 20th anniversary of the Friday Night Poetry Slam (and the 45th anniversary of the Cafe) with an afternoon of literature, performance art, poetry slam, and hip-hop theater. Headlined by Ishmael Reed and Staceyann Chin, featuring Craig “muMs” Grant, Erik “Advocate Of Wordz” Maldonado, Darian Dauchan, and Caridad “La Bruja” De La Luz. The afternoon culminates in a performance by Malik Work, with Quincy Valentine and Jazmin Yvonne: Nostos in Verse, a condensed version of the actor-writer-emcee’s acclaimed hip hop theater piece, Verses @ Work.

3:00–4:00pm: Board of Officers Room
Spoken Word Performances & Open Mic

Hosted by Anthony “Advocate of Wordz” Maldonado
Featuring:Caridad “La Bruja” De La Luz, Darian Dauchan, Craig “muMs” Grant

4:00–5:00pm: Board of Officers Room
Readings & Conversation

Ishmael Reed & Staceyann Chin
Moderated by Craig “muMs” Grant

5:00–6:00pm: Veterans Room
Hip-Hop Theater Performance

Malik Work, with Quincy Valentine & Jazmin Yvonne


Poet, actor, and performing artist, Staceyann Chin is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir The Other Side of Paradise, co-writer and original performer in the Tony Award–winning Russell Simmons’ Def Poetry Jam on Broadway, and author of the one-woman shows Hands Afire, Unspeakable Things, Border/Clash, and MotherStruck. She has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show and 60 Minutes and has been featured in The New York Times and Washington Post. She proudly identifies as Caribbean, Black, Asian, lesbian, a woman, and a resident of New York City, as well as a Jamaican national. Her new book, Crossfire: A Litany for Survival will be released October 1.


Ishmael Reed is an author whose novel Mumbo Jumbo has been cited as one of 500 great books of the Western Cannon. He has received the Otto and Audelco awards for theater, the John D. MacArthur Genius award and is one of few authors to be nominated for two National Book Awards in the same year. He is also a songwriter whose songs have been recorded by Gregory Porter, Cassandra Wilson, Macy Gray, Taj Mahal, and Bobby Womack. His poem, “Just Rollin’ Along,” was chosen for The Best American Poetry. 2019 and is included in his forthcoming collection, Why the Black Hole Sings the Blues: Poems 2007-2019.


Caridad De La Luz, a performer known as"La Bruja,” recently won a Jerome Hill Artist Fellowship and was named one of the ‘Top 20 Puerto Rican Women Everyone Should Know.’ Known for her performances on Russell Simmons’ HBO Def Poetry Jam and HBO Latino’s HABLA Women, she received the Puerto Rican Women Legacy Award, The Edgar Allan Poe Award from The Bronx Historical Society and has been titled a Bronx Living Legend with a Citation of Merit from the Bronx Borough President. Since her debut at Nuyorican Poets Cafe in 1996, she continues to host the Open Mic Monday nights there and a new monthly series called BEATNIX – a showcase of Latinx artists in the Beatnik Tradition. 


Darian Dauchan is an award winning solo performer, actor, and poet who has appeared in both Broadway and Off Broadway Theatre. TV and Film credits include Law and Order, Nickelodeon’s Bet the House and the Lionsgate film Things Never Said. He was a member of the 2006 National Poetry Slam Team for the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, and was crowned the 2007 Urbana Grand Slam Champion for the Bowery Poetry Club. He is the 2016 Loop Station Vice Champion of the American Beatbox Championship and just recently completed The Brobot Johnson Project, a Sci Fi Hip Hop transmedia piece. The album Brobot Johnson: Bionic Boom Bap is available on iTunes, and the show The Brobot Johnson Experience is a critically acclaimed Ben Brantley The New York Times Critics’ Pick.


Craig “muMs” Grant is a NYC based playwright, actor and performance poet. His critically acclaimed solo play, A Sucker Emcee, premiered in NYC to sold out audiences. As an actor he is best known for his role of POET on the HBO hit show OZ. As an internationally known spoken word artist, muMs has performed at various cafes, poetry houses and colleges campuses across the U.S., Europe and Africa. muMs’ is also a proud company member of The Labyrinth Theater Company and Poetic Theater Productions.


Erik “Advocate Of Wordz” Maldonado is an award-winning published writer and performer. His work has been featured and/or covered by many major publications including PBS, LA Times, Fox News, BET and Univision. Aside from being a teacher and director, he is also the creator of Poetry Defined, an animation series that breaks down the varying facets of what poetry is (currently being distributed through Knowledge Motion Ltd., England).


Malik Work is a NYC based, born and bred actor-writer-musician. He is a founding member of The Real Live Show, a groundbreaking jazz/hip hop conglomerate. He’s written and performed a hip hop musical called Verses @ Work, a one-man show that garnered him a nomination for Best Solo Performance at the 2017 AUDELCO Awards. The film version of Verses was recently featured in the Hip Hop Film Festival, the Harlem International Film Festival, and won the International Spotlight Award at the Los Angeles Brazilian Film Festival. As an actor, he has worked on off-Broadway, network television, and the big screen.

Artist Talk: Antigone
Friday, October 4, 2019 at 6:30pm
Tickets: $15

Director Satoshi Miyagi and Carol Martin (Professor of Drama at Tisch School of the Arts, New York University) discuss the infusion of Japanese Noh theater and other global traditions in his re-imagining of this classic Greek tragedy.

Symposium: Theaster Gates & The Black Artists Retreat
Opening Celebrations:
Friday, October 11, 2019, 7:30pm–12:00am
Sonic Musings, Meditations & Testimonies:
Saturday, October 12, 2019, 11:00am–6:00pm
Sonic Soul Session #1: Roller Skating Party:
Saturday, October 12, 2019, 7:00pm–11:00pm

Learn More

Theaster Gates, a charismatic figure in the contemporary art world, with a practice situated both within and without gallery walls, vacillating between aesthetics, urban planning, and activism, hosts his renowned Black Artists Retreat for the first time outside of Chicago.

For this year’s retreat, Gates, an Armory Artist-in-Residence, welcomes black artists and allies from Chicago, New York, and beyond for a weekend of communion, celebration, and multi-disciplinary exploration of this year’s theme: sonic imagination.

Artist Talk: Judgment Day
Thursday, December 12, 2019 at 6:00pm
Tickets: $15

Director Richard Jones and playwright Anne Washburn discuss adapting Ödön von Horváth’s play for the stage and mounting it in an unconventional space.

Sunday Salon: Dance
Sunday, December 15, 2019 at 3:00pm
Tickets: $25

With diversity moving into the mainstream and ballet at a crossroads, pioneering artistic directors, choreographers and dancers gather for an afternoon salon to explore what 21st-century beauty looks like.  For ballet, an art form that traditionally has looked backward for inspiration and prided itself on its exclusivity, evolving perspectives present both opportunities and challenges. The Salon includes conversations, demonstrations, and interactive conversations and is presented in partnership with Dance Theatre of Harlem.

3:00pm: Beauty, Identity and Ballet in the 21st Century: Re-imagining Ballet
A Conversation with Choreographers
Choreographers explore the intersection between creative vision, beauty, and cultural context in the imagining of a future for the art-form. Welcome and dance demonstration hosted by Virginia Johnson, Artistic Director, Dance Theatre of Harlem. Conversation between choreographers Silas Farley, Francesca Harper, Jessica Lang, and Darrell Grand Moultrie; moderated by Thomas F. DeFrantz (Professor, Duke University, Department of African and African American Studies & Program in Dance).

4:00pm: Beauty/Process
Opportunities to observe choreographers Stephen Mills and Francesca Harper at work with dancers, reflecting on beauty through movement; discuss and engage with topics of beauty and identity, guided by the Park Avenue Armory Youth Corps; and view documentation of the shift in ballet’s aesthetic ideals over the centuries, assembled by Joselli Audain Dean.

6:00pm: Beauty, Identity and Ballet in the 21st Century: The Form
A Conversation with Artistic Directors
The Salon concludes with a discussion between innovative Artistic Directors about the challenges of confronting and updating the long tradition of ballet. Participants include Stephen Mills (Artistic Director, Ballet Austin), Dwight Rhoden (Co-Founder, Complexions Contemporary Ballet), Kevin Thomas (Co-founder & Artistic Director, Collage Dance Collective), and Wendy Whelan (Associate Artistic Director, New York City Ballet). Moderated by Jennifer Homans (Founder & Director of The Center for Ballet and the Arts, New York University).



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