Grant Recipients Grants to Artists Performance Art/Theater 2024

Nile Harris

Nile Harris faces directly into the camera while his body is turned towards the right. He sits before a stark black backdrop and is dressed in a bright red shirt.
Photo by Maria Baranova
  • 2024 Grants to Artists
  • Performance Art/Theater
  • Performer, Director
  • Born 1995, Miami, FL
  • Lives in Brooklyn, NY
  • He/Him
  • Additional Information

This award is supported by the FCA Friends.

Artist Statement

I forgot what I wanted to say.

- December 2023


Nile Harris is a performer and director of live works of art. Through performance, Harris creates immersive experiences that use the body on stage to manipulate one’s relationship to time and self perception. Core to his art is an interrogation of cultural histories and narratives that construct and enforce systems of power that make up “the American project”. Harris often employs improvisation, embracing its inherent relationship to failure, as a critical strategy of temporal transformation inside the apparatus of the theater. 

His performance this house is not a home explores absence, abjection, and American nationalism. Through the insurrection of an amplified bounce house, the ensemble performance jukes and careens in paying homage to his childhood friend and late collaborator Trevor Bazile (1996-2021). The performance premiered at Abrons Arts Center, New York, NY, was co-commissioned and presented by Ping Chong and Company, and restaged as a part of the Under the Radar Festival in 2024. this house is not a home emerges out of Harris’ collaborative work with Bazile, you niggas in trouble, a live Google-document-based manifesto that was performed in 2021 at the Prelude Festival in New York. Constructed as a metaphorical board meeting, the piece asks, “will the revolution have 501c3 status?” 

Harris’ other works include testify (the worst is yet to come) performed in 2021 at the Under the Radar Festival in New York, NY, The Rise and Fall of the Huxtable Family in 2019 at Palais de Tokyo in Paris, France, and A Monkey on One’s Back (Love Laboratory) performed in 2017 at The Watermill Center in Water Mill, New York.

Harris has been recognized as a MAP Fund Grantee (2022), received the Nina Von Maltzahn Fellowship in Performing Arts from the Watermill Center (2022), the Franklin Furnace Fund Grant (2022), and was a Performance AIRspace Resident with the Abrons Art Center (2021).

Harris is the director of his own performance company called Social Security, and is a Co-Artistic Leader with Ping Chong and Company.

Three performers are centered at the front of a stage, lit with stark white light from below against a green backdrop. Behind them is a clear plastic curtain that reads in large red lowercase text,

Performance still from this house is not a home at Abrons Arts Center, New York, 2023. Performers: Nile Harris, Crackhead Barney, Malcolm-x Betts. Photo by Alex Munro.

A performer is centered, standing in a concrete performance space holding a large empty picture frame. They are barefoot and wearing tan coveralls with the top lowered and the arms tied around their bare waist. They wear a smiling Obama mask.

Performance still from The Rise and Fall of the Huxtable Family at Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France, 2019. Performers: Nile Harris and Kellian Delice. Photo by Ayka Lux.

Crackhead Barney and Nile Harris perform on a dark stage lit from the sides with giant iridescent bubbles behind them. Crackhead Barney poses on the left side of the stage, she balances on her hands and right leg, belly up, with her left leg kicking upwards. Her face and body are smeared with white body paint, she wears a blond, curly wig, diaper-like underwear, tape covering her breasts, and red sneakers. Nile Harris stands on the right side of the stage in front of a paint bucket, he is making a bubble with a wand created from two sticks and a string. He is wearing a white suit and red dress shoes.

Performance still from this house is not a home at Abrons Arts Center, New York, 2023. Performers: Nile Harris and Crackhead Barney. Photo by Alex Munro.

Nile Harris stands towards the top of a pile of yellow and green bananas in a forest of thin trees lit by sunlight. The bananas surround a cluster of four trees at the center of which Nile Harris stands. He is visible from the chest up, each hand clutches a banana, resting on the bananas below him. He is shirtless and wears a noose, the end of which disappears into the bananas. There are production crew members visible in the distant background.

Performance still from A Monkey on One's Back (Love Laboratory) at the Watermill Center, Water Mill, NY, 2017. Performer: Nile Harris. Photo by Chloe Bellemere.

Nile Harris stands in the middle of a backlit stage, bent forward towards the audience with brightly colored posters, stage sets, and other props includeing a ladder, a rolling trolley, a portrait of a gingerbread man, and a white graphic t-shirt, arranged behind him. His feet are apart, torso pitched forward, and his left hand is raised making a peace sign above him. He is wearing a gingerbread cookie costume with his upper half removed from the sleeves, a white longsleeved t-shirt is underneath.

Performance still from this house is not a home at Abrons Arts Center, New York, 2023. Performers: Nile Harris. Photo by Alex Munro.

this house is not a home video trailer, 2023.