Ryan McNamara

New York, NY


Ryan McNamara (b. 1979, Phoenix, Arizona) is a Brooklyn based artist who is known for blending different practices of dance, theater, and history in his work. His works are often situation-specific, and tend to be collaborative or participatory, creating a social discourse and commenting on participation within artistic production. McNamara has held performances and exhibitions at Elizabeth Dee Gallery, The Watermill Performance Center, Barbara Gladstone Gallery, Lehmann Maupin, The Whitney Museum, MoMA PS1, The Kitchen, and in various other locations throughout the world. His work is also in the collection of The Museum of Modern Art. In his solo exhibition, Still, in March 2012 at Elizabeth Dee, McNamara transformed the gallery into a photo studio filled with costumes and props where he staged a series of tableaux using visitor participation that were then captured on camera and posted online on the gallery's website in a nod to social media. The New York Times called the resulting images "spirited and wonderfully improvisatory." McNamara has participated in the past two Performa Biennials. In Performa 09 his work, Any Fag Could Do That, was inspired by the Sacred band of Thebes; a small brigade of homosexual lovers that defeated the Spartan army in 375 BC In Performa 11, he took part in the Performa Commission Three Performances in Search of Tennessee by Laurel Nakadate and James Franco, a three part-project based around Tennessee Williams' famous play The Glass Menagerie.

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