Derrick Adams, artist, Mickalene Thomas, artist, and Adrienne Edwards, curator.

Photo by J Grassi/

November 04, 2013 @ Skylight

Performa 13, New York's fifth performance art biennial, kicked off Friday night with a gala at Skylight, in Midtown's Moynihan Station, a decommissioned post office building with a cavernous interior. The evening raised over $198,000.

Previews of several vocal performances slated for opening-weekend concerts curated by Performa curator Mark Beasley included, before dinner, some high-concept human beatboxing by Norwegian vocal artist Stine Janvin Motland. During dessert there was a shouting choir with dozens of members, the Last Course Chorus, organized by artist Brian Belott. (Motland would go on to deliver a stunning performance Sunday night with Taiwanese-born, U.S.-based collaborator C. Spencer Yeh in the concert "In Tones from Light to Dark," at the Angel Orensanz Foundation on the Lower East Side.)

A live-and-online auction, organized by Paddle8 and featuring works by Elizabeth Peyton, Iona Rozeal Brown and Ragnar Kjartansson, raised an additional $120,000. Kjartansson's contribution: "With my frequent collaborator David Thor Jonsson," he wrote, "I will take my little Martin guitar to any space anywhere in the world and perform a two-hour concert of the saddest songs we know."

Among those attending were artists Shana Lutker, Ryan McNamara and Marianne Vitale. Hosting the party were arts patron Toby Devan Lewis, dealer Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn and Nicholas Rohatyn, Performa founding director RoseLee Goldberg, furniture designer Dakota Jackson, and artists Ragnar Kjartansson, Elizabeth Peyton, Iona Rozeal Brown and Cindy Sherman.