Danielle Abrams has performed for over 20 years as personae that emerge from her interracial family, and from a lexicon of figures in art history and popular culture. Some of her past performances include Quadroon, in which she embodied her black Southern grandmother and New York Jewish bubbie. In Routine, Abrams cleansed Catskills entertainment of its racist legacy through performing a comedy routine while bathing in a tub of borscht. In After Before the Revolution, she cast herself in Eleanor Antin's role as a black (and Jewish) ballerina, and reshuffled the tenets of western Modernism as a member of the Ballet Russes accompanied by the Black Panther party. In her latest performance, Nominee, Abrams envisions being interviewed by a panel of African-American artist-politicos, Jewish grandparents, and iconic representations of multiculturalism, including Adrian Piper, the Black Panthers, anonymous notables in the black contemporary art scene, and President Barack Obama. Her nomination launches the panel into a heated, frank, and irreverent discussion about politics, aesthetics, privilege, and interracial identity. Abrams’ performances upend the limits of stereotype and representation. As each of her characters transfigure into new ones, prejudicial assumptions are traded in for complex dialogues. Her work blends scripted and improvised language, and public encounters that rely on engaged participation. She utilizes performance in expansive fields that include film and video, spoken word, puppetry, installation, movement, and stand-up comedy.
Danielle Abrams has performed and exhibited work at galleries, festivals, and museums in New York including the Queens Museum, Bronx Museum of Art, The Jewish Museum, Roger Smith Hotel, WOW Performance Café, The Kitchen, Rush Arts Gallery, ABC No Rio, and Dixon Place. She has also exhibited work nationally and internationally at Detroit Institute of the Arts, the Queer Arts Festival, Labotanica at Project Row Houses, Annie Sprinkle’s and Beth Stephens' Green Wedding, Art Gallery of Windsor, and The Geborgen Kamers Gallery in the Netherlands.
Abrams received her MFA from the University of California, Irvine. She attended artists' residencies at the Yale School of Painting and at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Her work has been awarded by New York Foundation of the Arts, the Franklin Furnace, and Urban Artists' Initiative.
Abrams has taught at the Stamps School of Art & Design, University of Michigan; MFA Program in Interdisciplinary Arts at Goddard College; the School of the Museum of Fine Arts; and at the City University of New York.