Unmasking the World of Performance Art

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9 Questions

What are the five basic elements of performance art?

What is the main difference between performance art and traditional art?

Which artistic movements are cited in the beginnings of performance art?

What was the name of the first experimental theatre group in the US?

Which artist was shot with a firearm and spent twenty-two days in a bed inside an art gallery?

Which artist founded the collective The Other in Amsterdam in the mid-1970s, exploring concepts of ego and artistic identity through their collaborative works?

What is the name of the French artist known for her self-inflicted pain performances, such as lying on a metal bed spring over lit candles in The Conditioning?

Which artistic movement rejected the traditional art object as a commodity and focused on interdisciplinary, sociological art?

Which artists have used performance art to explore themes such as rape, shame, and sex exploitation?

Summary

Performance art: an overview

  • Performance art is an artwork or art exhibition created through actions executed by the artist or other participants.

  • It involves five basic elements: time, space, body, and presence of the artist, and the relation between the creator and the public.

  • The term "performance art" and "performance" became widely used in the 1970s, even though the history of performance in visual arts dates back to futurist productions and cabarets from the 1910s.

  • Performance art is a term usually reserved to refer to a conceptual art which conveys a content-based meaning in a more drama-related sense, rather than being simple performance for its own sake for entertainment purposes.

  • Performance artists often challenge the audience to think in new and unconventional ways, break conventions of traditional arts, and break down conventional ideas about "what art is".

  • Some artists, e.g. the Viennese Actionists and neo-Dadaists, prefer to use the terms "live art", "action art", "actions", "intervention" (see art intervention) or "manoeuvre" to describe their performing activities.

  • Performance art is a form of expression that was born as an alternative artistic manifestation in 1916 parallel to Dadaism, under the umbrella of conceptual art.

  • The Cabaret Voltaire was founded in Zurich, Switzerland by the couple Hugo Ball and Emmy Hennings for artistic and political purposes, and was a place where new tendencies were explored.

  • Futurism, Bauhaus, Action painting, Nouveau réalisme, Gutai, and Land art are some of the artistic movements cited in the beginnings of performance art.

  • Viennese Actionism is a brief and controversial art movement of the 20th century, which is remembered for the violence, grotesque and visual of their artworks.

  • New York City in the early 1960s harbored many movements, events, and interests regarding performance art.

  • Indirectly influential for art-world performance, particularly in the United States, were new forms of theatre, embodied by the San Francisco Mime Troupe and the Living Theatre.

  • Performance art had an important and fundamental role in 20th century avant-garde art.Overview of Performance Art and Artists

  • Performance art is a form of art where the artist uses their own body or actions as the medium, often in a live setting.

  • The Living Theatre, founded in 1947, is the oldest experimental theatre group in the US and was dedicated to transforming power structures in society.

  • Fluxus was a visual arts movement that rejected the traditional art object as a commodity and focused on interdisciplinary, sociological art.

  • John Cage was a composer, music theorist, and philosopher who was a pioneer of indeterminacy in music and influenced the development of modern dance.

  • Process art is an artistic movement that values the process of creating art over the finished product.

  • Happenings were performance events organized by Allan Kaprow that allowed the audience to participate and experiment with different mediums.

  • Key performance artists after 1968 include Barbara T. Smith, Carolee Schneemann, Joan Jonas, Yoko Ono, Joseph Beuys, Nam June Paik, Wolf Vostell, Vito Acconci, Chris Burden, Dennis Oppenheim, and Yayoi Kusama.

  • Video performance art emerged in the early 1970s and was used by artists like Joan Jonas and Vito Acconci.

  • Nam June Paik was known for his audiovisual installations.

  • Carolee Schneemann and Robert Whitman were pioneers of performance art in the 1960s.

  • Performance art in the 1970s evolved into installations created through performance, video performance, or collective actions in socio-historical and political contexts.A Brief History of Performance Art

  • Performance art emerged in the 1960s and 1970s as a new form of artistic expression that emphasized the process of creation over the final product.

  • Bruce Nauman is an American artist known for his sculptures, videos, and performances that explore the conceptual nature of art and the creative process.

  • Gilbert and George are a duo of Italian and English artists who have developed their work in conceptual art, performance, and body art, often appearing as live sculptures and addressing topics such as sex, race, death, and politics.

  • Endurance performance art, which involves themes of trance, pain, and exhaustion, has been explored by artists such as Chris Burden, who was shot with a firearm and spent twenty-two days in a bed inside an art gallery.

  • Performance art has been used as a form of political critique, especially in Eastern Europe during the mid-1970s, with artists such as Orshi Drozdik exploring feminist and critical perspectives.

  • Ulay and Marina Abramović founded the collective The Other in Amsterdam in the mid-1970s, exploring concepts of ego and artistic identity through their collaborative works.

  • Performance art has been used to explore a range of topics, including rape, shame, and sex exploitation, with contemporary artists such as Clifford Owens, Gillian Walsh, Pat Oleszko, and Rebecca Patek continuing to reimagine these themes.

  • Gina Pane was a French artist known for her self-inflicted pain performances, such as lying on a metal bed spring over lit candles in The Conditioning.

  • In the 1980s, performance art began to incorporate technical brilliance, and performance artists such as Laurie Anderson and Spalding Gray became crossover artists in mainstream entertainment.

  • Performance art has been used as a form of political critique, especially in countries where independent public events were banned, such as the GDR, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Latvia.

  • Performance poetry emerged in 1982, distinguishing text-based vocal performances from performance art and relying more on rhetorical and philosophical expression.

  • Feminist performance art emerged in the 1980s, with artists such as the Guerrilla Girls using political and performance art to denounce discrimination against women in art.A Brief History of Performance Art

  • Judy Chicago is an artist and pioneer of feminist and performance art in the US, known for her collaborative installation pieces that examine women's part in history and culture.

  • Performance art spread to Latin America in the 1990s, mainly developing in Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, and Argentina.

  • Ana Mendieta is a conceptual and performance artist known for her land art and earth-body art.

  • Tania Bruguera is a Cuban artist specialized in performance and political art, who developed concepts such as "conduct art" and "useful art".

  • Regina José Galindo is a Guatemalan artist who uses her own body as a tool of confrontation and social transformation to denounce violence, sexism, and abuse of power in her country.

  • Performance art in the 1990s experienced a peak in Eastern Europe, Asia, and Latin America, and began joining mainstream culture in the Western world.

  • Chinese performance art gained recognition internationally in the late 1990s, and is now part of the fine arts education program.

  • In the 2000s, some artists incorporated technologies such as the World Wide Web, digital video, webcams, and streaming media into performance artworks.

  • Artists such as Pussy Riot, Tania Bruguera, and Petr Pavlensky have been judged for diverse artistic actions, using performance art to raise political issues.

  • Big museums, institutions, and collections have supported performance art since the 2000s, dedicating spaces for performance, film, and installation.

  • The Non-fungible Body? is a discursive festival format presented by the OÖLKG/OK that reflects upon recent developments in institutionalizing performance.

  • The performance art piece Carry That Weight, also known as "the mattress performance", was created in 2014 by Emma Sulkowicz, who carried her own mattress around the Columbia University campus to denounce her rape.

Description

How much do you know about performance art? Test your knowledge with this quiz that covers the history, key artists, and themes of this unique art form. From the Cabaret Voltaire to the emergence of video performance art, this quiz will challenge your understanding of performance art's evolution and impact on contemporary art. Whether you're an art enthusiast or just curious about this fascinating art form, this quiz is sure to offer new insights and inspire further exploration.

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