The reemergence of the mass public processional performance charts a history of black performance to be found not in the European avant-garde of the beginning of the last century but in the experience of slavery and colonialism, of independence struggles and civil rights movements.
As performance is recognized as central to contemporary art of the Caribbean, and as contemporary Caribbean art integrates more fully the global contemporary art world, Curating Carnival becomes an urgent proposition.
Is the recurring emergence of the carnivalesque in democratic protest movements a function of their efficiency at clearing the space for the work of the commons?
As much a site of resistance as a relational mode, the carnivalesque occupation of Wall Street is a symbolic struggle to break the high-low binarism that has besieged contemporary American society, whether in class or race.
By blending spectatorship and participation, Carnival realized the postmodern ideal of the viewer completing the artwork. By accommodating the growing crowds of the globalized art world, it updates that ideal to the scale and ethos of the twenty-first century.
If the avant-garde […] is the strategic and ethical position in which artists should always strive to be, they should all become masmen, leaders of Carnival bands or public demonstrations of thousands to whom liberatory, if temporary, power would be conferred through collective artistic creation.