Walker Art Center

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Presenting and commissioning innovative performances since 1940, the Performing Arts program offers a season that spans contemporary dance, experimental theater, new jazz, avant-folk, new global and alt-classical music, and the multiple hybrids of forms in between. More

Featured Performance


Sarah Michelson

The Walker Art Center’s Performing Arts season launches with the world premiere of a new work by New York–based innovator Sarah Michelson. The Walker-commissioned work, tournamento, will be performed in the William and Nadine McGuire Theater Thursday–Sunday, September 24–27. More

Featured Article


Performing Arts 2015-2016 Season Trailer

The global, multidisciplinary spectrum of artists we have invited in 2015–2016 demonstrate the force of the individual imagination and the power of collective art-making. These 27 events offer a window on a vast and ecstatically innovative world of contemporary dance, experimental theater, and forms… More

Greg Tate

Why the Hell Ornette Went All Up In Eden

“It’s hard to think of any musician whose sonic convictions have been so personally liberating for themselves and so determined to liberate others,” writes Greg Tate of Ornette Coleman, who passed away June 11. “His music did all… More

Marvin Lin

Expiring Aesthetics

In a time of digital hyperacceleration and an ever-shifting technocultural landscape, we encounter an influx of trends, microgenres, and fads. But how do we talk about music when so much of what we listen to feels transitory and historically inconsequential… More

Andrew Flanagan

No !%@#s Given

“The web is where the exceptional force the hands of the famed and established to recognize they’ve been pushing things forward, without their blessing or awareness,” writes Andrew Flanagan of thestand4rd, the St. Paul independent hip hop/R&B quartet that has… More

Mia Lopez

A Culture Wars Chronicle

As identity politics made their way into galleries and museums in the ’80s and ’90s, social conservatives took note, lashing out at artists like Robert Mapplethorpe, Karen Finley, and Ron Athey for work that addressed sexuality, multiculturalism, and LGBT rights… More

Ron Athey

Polemic of Blood

Ever since a suicide attempt at age 15, death has been a constant companion for Ron Athey—even more so since 1985, the year he tested positive for HIV. Until it wasn’t. Healthy on the 30th anniversary of his diagnosis, the 53-year-old performance artist reflects… More

Greg Tate

Five Decades, Six Galaxies, and Counting: The AACM at 50

Musical revolutions tend to have a spontaneous outlier quality about them, writes Greg Tate. Fifty years ago in Chicago, far from the Manhattan clubs that drew jazz luminaries like John Coltrane… More