The first artwork I saw by Nina Beier was her performance Tragedy, which she has staged a number of times, but this particular version took place at Metro Pictures in New York on a muggy night in June 2012. Tragedy stars a dog laying on a Persian rug, splayed out and stock-still, playing dead. The performance inspires double takes on different emotional registers; the first is the need to confirm that one is seeing a live animal and not a hyperrealistic sculpture. After a few seconds of observation, one realizes, yes, the dog is shallowly breathing. But then one wonders how this dog is able to keep it together in a hot room filled with a hundred people. The dog isn’t exactly zen. It is still, but its somewhat anxious stare is directed at one person in the crowd. The dog’s trainer is mixed in with the gallery visitors, reassuringly staring back at the animal with a gaze that invokes supreme trustworthiness, indicating the praise, biscuit or whatever reward will be granted to the performer for a job well done. I am not sure how long the performance lasts, it could be anywhere from five minutes to a half hour. Time gets a bit suspended while watching Tragedy.