For their Performa Commission, the artists Elmgreen & Dragset (Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset) will present a theatrical performance titled Happy Days in the Art World, a darkly comic self-portrait of the two artists, drawing references from Samuel Beckett’s play Happy Days (1961) and Sarah Thornton’s book Seven Days in the Art World (2008). The play tells the story of two main characters, played by renowned actors Joseph Fiennes and Charles Edwards, using a droll sensibility to unveil their personal history together, their experience of being a “single work of art,” and their fears about what will happen to their substantial art careers when they break up.
“...an affecting, funny way to convey both the deep absurdity and vitality of the art world now.”New York Times
In the tradition of Beckett’s absurdist theater, the production will take place on a traditional proscenium stage with minimal sets designed by the artists. Happy Days in the Art World will also feature a cameo by the artists themselves, and will expand on the artists’ ironic take on contemporary art and the art world’s intrigue with celebrity in general. Produced by Performa and co-presented by Skirball Center for the Performing Arts. Supported by Royal Norwegian Consulate General in New York, Consulate General of Denmark in New York, Office for Contemporary Art Norway, Danish Arts Council Committee for International Visual Arts, Arts Council Norway, The American-Scandanavian Foundation and Producers Circle members Victoria Miro, Emmanuel Perrotin, Galleri Nicolai Wallner, Massimo De Carlo, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, and The Dedalus Foundation.