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Waiting for Godot in New Orleans: A Field Guide

by Paul Chan





“An unforgettable example of ephemeral public art.”

—The Nation

“An art project that had everything, or at least a lot: objects, words, images, ideas, emotions, discourse, actions, lessons, beauty, politics, criticality and generosity.”

—The New York Times

“The most moving and meaningful ‘Godot’ we are ever likely to see.”

— The Times-Picayune, New Orleans

In November 2007, artist Paul Chan collaborated with the Classical Theatre of Harlem and New York public arts group Creative Time to mount free performances of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot on the streets of New Orleans. Two years after Hurricane Katrina, New Orleanians were still waiting for help to recover and rebuild. Godot rang with fierce immediacy, and thousands attended the play, which starred New Orleans native and television star Wendell Pierce (HBO's The Wire).

Waiting for Godot in New Orleans: A Field Guide, publishes for the first time the research materials, photographs, drawings, writings, and documents produced and gathered during the making of this multifaceted project, which included the free outdoor performances; theater workshops, educational seminars, conversations, and dinners; a Shadow Fund; and a short film.

Reflecting how the project was organized, the book is divided into eight chapters: Remember, Picture, Relate, Organize, Appear, Play, Film, Reflect. Waiting for Godot in New Orleans: A Field Guide is designed to introduce the key ideas, strategies, and histories that motivated the making of the project, in order to create an imaginative roadmap of how public art can respond to and reflect upon what it means to be a public today. It also features new essays and interviews from thinkers, writers, activists, artists, and community members involved in the project.

This enhanced ebook edition includes new audio compositions by Chan that accompanied the premiere of the Waiting for Godot in New Orleans archive at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in June 2010.


ISBN: 978-1-928570-05-9

Ebook ISBN: 978-1-936-44004-7

340 pages

7.5" X 10"


Paul Chan

Paul Chan is an artist who lives in New York. Chan is the winner of the Hugo Boss Prize in 2014, a biennial award honoring artists who have made a visionary contribution to contemporary art. A surve... more