For the Performa 15 biennale, the South African artist Robin Rhode has chosen a demanding venue to stage a performance: in the thick of Times Square. This Saturday and Sunday, Rhode will reinterpret the Austrian composer Arnold Schönberg’s operatic monodrama Erwartung in the middle of the bustling tourist hub — a project that represents an unexpectedly classical twist in the artist’s practice, which spans sculpture, video, drawing and the occasional performance.
“I came to the realization that some of my most enriching projects have come out of collaborations. Schönberg used to collaborate with Wassily Kandinsky,” explains Rhode, who came across the composer while researching operas to accompany his sculptures. “My entrance into the piece was through Kandinsky, but then I became invested in the story.”