• Nicolás Dumit Estévez, C Room, Museo Folklórico Don Tomás Morel, performance, Santiago de los Treinta Caballeros, Dominican Republic. Photo: Raymond Marrero.
  • Christophe Chassol, BIG SUN, video still, 2014. Image courtesy of the artist.
  • Marlon Griffith, Positions + Power, 2014, performance, Port of Spain, Trinidad. © Marlon James.
  • Charles Campbell, Actor Boy: Fractal Engagement, April 21, 2014, performance, Kingston, Jamaica. Photo: Marvin Bartley.
  • Ebony G. Patterson, Invisible Presence: Bling Memories, 2014, Jamaica. Courtesy of the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery. Photo: Monique Gilpin and Philip Rhoden.
  • Cauleen Smith, H-E-L-L-O videostill. Location Holy Cross Levee. Trombone: Michael Watson. Location Lower 9th Levee. Cinematography: William Sabourin, 2014.
  • Lorraine O'Grady, Looking For A Headdress, digital photograph constructed from video stills, dimensions variable, 2014.
  • Hew Locke, Give and Take, performance, August 23, 2014, Tate Modern, London. Photograph: Akiko Ota.
  • John Beadle, Inside-out, Outside-in, work in progress, 2015, Nassau, The Bahamas. Image courtesy of the artist.


Curated by Claire Tancons, Krista Thompson

EN MAS’: Carnival and Performance Art of the Caribbean is a pioneering exploration of the influences of Carnival on contemporary performance practices in the Caribbean, North America, and Europe.

Conceived around a series of nine commissioned performances realized during the 2014 Caribbean Carnival season across eight cities in six different countries, the exhibition considers the connections between Carnival and performance, masquerade and social criticism, diaspora and transnationalism. Taking its title from a pun on “Mas” (short for masquerade and synonymous with carnival in the English-speaking Caribbean), EN MAS’ considers a history of performance that does not take place on the stage or in the gallery but rather in the streets, addressing not the few but the many.

EN MAS’ introduces performance art with a focus on the influence that Carnival and related masquerading traditions in and of the Caribbean and its diasporas have had on contemporary performance discourse and practice, in both the artistic and curatorial realms. Indeed, EN MAS’ takes into account performance practices that do not trace their genealogy to the European avant-gardes of the early twentieth century but rather to the experiences of slavery and colonialism through to the mid-nineteenth century, the independence struggles and civil right movements of the mid-twentieth century and population migrations to and from the former colonial centers for most of the last century.

Throughout the 2014 Caribbean Carnival season, EN MAS’ tracked nine artists – John Beadle, Christophe Chassol, Charles Campbell, Nicolás Dumit Estévez, Marlon Griffith, Hew Locke, Lorraine O’Grady, Ebony G. Patterson, and Cauleen Smith – as they engaged, transformed, or critiqued historical and contemporary Caribbean performance practices from Carnival in Santiago de los Caballeros, Port of Spain, Fort-de-France, Kingston, London and Brooklyn, to Junkanoo in Nassau and the New Orleans second line – or in their own imaginary cartographies and invented performance traditions. The resulting newly commissioned works took place according to different modes of public address and audience engagement including semi-private rituals at the margin of the festival celebrations and street processions in the midst of the carnival revelry.

Prior to a national and international tour organized by Independent Curators International (ICI), EN MAS’ will bring together material remnants or reconstitutions from the performances as well as photographic and filmic interpretations thus also presenting some of the best photographers, filmmakers and videographers working in the Caribbean today including Marvin Bartley, Arnaldo James, Marlon James, Raymond Marrero, Oneika Russell, Nile Saulter, Storm Saulter and Michelle Serieux to name a few. The exhibition debuted at the Contemporary Art Center, New Orleans (CAC) and was designed by Gia Wolff.

An accompanying publication, co-published by ICI and CAC includes critical essays by the exhibition’s curators as well as Shannon Jackson and Kobena Mercer among others, monographic texts by an array of cultural and art critics, and an extensive array of illustrations. In addition to the publication, this website offers additional insights into each artist’s performance while tracking the exhibition tour. For more information on the publication, please continue here.

This exhibition is made possible by an Emily Hall Tremaine Exhibition Award. Additional support is provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and by Institut français in support of African and Caribbean projects. For more information on the CAC, please continue here.



EN MAS’ at Museum of the African Diaspora

In conjunction with the exhibition EN MAS’: Carnival and Performance Art of the Caribbean, Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) in San Francisco has organized a series of performances and films.

September 20, 2017 - March 4, 2018 @ Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD)


EN MAS’ Curators’ Talk

On Friday, April 29, the curators of EN MAS’: Carnival, Junkanoo and Performance Art of the Caribbean, Claire Tancons and Krista Thompson, will lead a discussion on the exhibition.

April 29, 2016 @ National Art Gallery of the Bahamas


En Mas’ An alternative space for Carnival performance

Ray Funk recently wrote an extensive two-part review of EN MAS’ for the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian.

June 8, 2015


Re-Making Fractal Engagement: 6 Perspectives

The Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics recently published a conversation between EN MAS’ artist Charles Campbell and EN MAS’ curators Claire Tancons and Krista Thompson.

June 4, 2015


EN MAS’ Featured in Gambit

D. Eric Bookhardt recently reviewed EN MAS’: Carnival and Performance Art of the Caribbean for Gambit.

May 20, 2015


Reporting from EN MAS’: Carnival and Performance Art of the Caribbean

Nicole Smythe Johnson recently reviewed EN MAS’ for ARC Magazine.

May 8, 2015


EN MAS’ featured in Burnaway

Burnaway recently featured a review of EN MAS’: Carnival and Performance Art of the Caribbean at the CAC New Orleans.

May 1, 2015


LATENT VIBRATIONS, EN MAS’ featured in Oxford American

The Oxford American recently featured an in-depth review of EN MAS’ at the CAC New Orleans.

April 16, 2015


on the Political Aesthetics of Carnival in Art Papers

Art Papers recently featured an interview of EN MAS’ curator Claire Tancons by D. Eric Bookhardt.

April 15, 2015


“Caribbean Dreams” in The New Orleans Advocate

The New Orleans Advocate recently featured a review of EN MAS’ at the CAC New Orleans.

April 2, 2015


EN MAS’ Featured in Artforum

Joshua Jelly-Schapiro of Artforum recently reviewed the premier exhibition of EN MAS’: Carnival and Performance Art of the Caribbean at the CAC New Orleans.

April 1, 2015


EN MAS’ Featured in Gambit

The upcoming opening of EN MAS’: Carnival and Performance Art of the Caribbean at the Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans was recently previewed in an article by Will Coviello for Gambit.

March 4, 2015



Priscilla Frank of The Huffington Post recently highlighted the upcoming opening of En Mas’: Carnival and Performance Art of the Caribbean.

February 13, 2015


Up Hill Down Hall: An Indoor Carnival curated by Claire Tancons at Tate Modern

On August 23rd, artists Hew Locke and Marlon Griffith will participate in Up Hill Down Hall: An Indoor Carnival at Tate Modern in London.

August 7, 2014



Claire Tancons

Trained as a curator and art historian, Claire Tancons practices curating as an expanded creative field and experiments with the political aesthetics of walking, marching, second lining, masquerading and parading in participatory processional performances. She has curated for established and emerging international biennials including Prospect New Orleans (2008); the Gwangju Biennale (2008); the Cape Town Biennial (2009); Biennale Bénin (2012); the Göteborg Biennial (2013); the first biennial edition of Printemps de Septembre (2016); Tout-Monde, Caribbean Contemporary Arts Festival, Miami (2018-2019), and was a guest curator for the BMW Tate Live Series at Tate Modern (2014). She is currently a curator for Sharjah Biennial 14: Leaving the Echo Chamber (with Zoe Butt and Omar Kholeif), slated to open in 2019.

Since 2012, she has initiated a series of collaborations tackling different aspects of public ceremonial culture, civic rituals, carnival and processional performance including Far Festa: Nuove Feste Veneziane, about contemporary civic rituals inspired by the former Venetian Republic (with curatorial collective CAKE AWAY; IUAV University and Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa, summer 2013), Public Practice, about New Orleans’ processional culture (with Delaney Martin; New Orleans Airlift, Fall 2014), Tide by Side, about processional performance’s ability to provide a framework for celebrating and reflecting on community (with the opening ceremony of Faena Forum Miami Beach, 2016), and EN MAS’: Carnival and Performance Art of the Caribbean (with Krista Thompson; CAC New Orleans, 2014-15 and ICI New York 2016-18).

Tancons is the recipient of an Andy Warhol Foundation Curatorial Fellowship (2008), a Prince Claus Fund Artistic Production Grant (2009), two Curatorial Research Fellowships from the Foundation for Art Initiatives (2007, 2009), an Emily Hall Tremaine Exhibition Award (2012), and was selected by Artsy as “One of the 20 most influential young curators in the US” in 2016.

Krista Thompson

Krista Thompson is the Weinberg College Board of Visitors Professor and Professor of Art History at Northwestern University.  She is the author of An Eye for the Tropics (2006) and Shine: The Visual Economy of Light in African Diasporic Aesthetic Practice (2015), recipient of the Charles Rufus Award for distinguished book in the history of at from the College Art Association (2016). She has published articles in Art Bulletin, Art Journal, American Art, Representations, The Drama Review, and Small Axe; curated several exhibitions, including the National Exhibition (NE3) (2006) and Developing Blackness: Studio Photographs of “Over the Hill” Nassau in the Independence Era (2008) at the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas; and coedited (with Claire Tancons) En Mas’: Carnival and Performance Art of the Caribbean (2015). Thompson is currently working on The Evidence of Things Not Photographed, a book that examines notions of photographic absence and disappearance in colonial and postcolonial Jamaica and Black Light, a manuscript about electronic light and its archival recovery in African American art.

Booking Info

Number of artists: Nine
Number of works: Nine artist projects consisting of 1-4 parts each
Space requirements: 5,000 sq feet minimum
Touring dates: Spring 2015 – April 2018

For additional information, as well as to check specific dates of availability, contact Becky Nahom at 212.254.8200 x 129, or

NEW YORK, NY 10013
T: +1 212 254 8200 F: +1 212 477 4781
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