Performance artist Ryan McNamara explores the way that people understand themselves within their bodies and the cultural zeitgeist through dance and movement. McNamara has used staged group performances as well as solo actions, which are typically documented through video and photography. Those documentary images have been collaged or shown as works unto themselves. For a 2012 exhibition, McNamara took viewers through his still photographs and explained himself, his career, and his performances, starting at childhood and working up to the present. In 2010, as part of MoMA PS1’s “Greater New York” survey, McNamara performed Make Ryan a Dancer, in which he publicly submitted to dance lessons from several instructors, practicing through museum’s corridors, galleries, courtyard, and café. Afterward, McNamara taught museum visitors to dance in a curious continuation and involution of the teacher-student/performer-spectator relationship.
McNamara’s work and performances have been shown at the Whitney Museum of American Art, MoMA PS1, Kunstmuseum Bonn, and Rotterdam’s Showroom for Media and Moving Art, and is held in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York.