Recently in Performance Art Category

Marina Abramovic's Rhythm 0

In Abramovic's Rhythm 0, she lays out a series of objects within the gallery for those in attendance to use on her body as they chose. Among those objects was a gun with a single bullet. Audience members cut the performance short three hours in when the gun was held to her head. Here, much like John Cage's 4' 33' piece, the work is determined by the audience.


Dan Graham's Two Consciousness Projection

In Two Consciousness Projection (1973), Dan Graham has begun to explore the active viewer vs. the passive viewer. Two people are asked to speak about the other while being videotaped in front of an audience. Their faces are projected on live video screens. While one speaks of the other, the other's reaction is shown, and vice-versa. They create the performance, while simultaneously view the performance (Goldberg 162).

Vito Acconci Claim

In his piece, Claim, Acconci sits in the basement of a gallery, blindfolded with a crowbar, while he is being recorded on a live feed to the gallery above. He recites, "I don't want anybody to come down here, I want to believe this, I have to believe this." He must defend the space and himself, while at the same time, he cannot, as his eyes are obstructed. Like Abramovic and John Cage, he places the piece in the viewers' hands.


Guy Debord/The Situationists

Guy Debord was one of the founders of the Situationists, and published The Society of Spectacle in 1967, describing the state of influence that media and pop culture had taken over the general populace. The Situationists looked to blur the lines between art and life and construct situations within the everyday placing value in interaction.


The Fluxus movement was interested in the exchange of information and making that information accessible to all, however, the movement was also interested in redefining art, like its predecessors, the Futurists and Dadaists. George Macuinas wrote the "Fluxus Manifesto" in 1963, defining the term "Fluxus," which resulted in "the cadres of cultural, social, and political revolutionaries into united front and action." Fluxus artists include John Cage and Nam June Paik.

Nam June Paik's Random Access

Nam June Paik has been called "the founding father of video art" after purchasing the first available Sony Portapak (Meigh-Andrews 16). His work investigates the formal quality of the medium of video and sound recording, dissecting it piece by piece, in order to reassemble it in new ways.
In Paik's piece, Random Access, he takes cassette tapes apart, places them flat against a wall, and provides the spool for listeners to rub against on the tape and listen to what these fragments sound like.


Robert Rauschenberg's Pelican

In 1963, Rauschenberg, Alex Hay, and dancer Carolyn Brown performed at a skating rink. Brown wore ballet shoes, while Hay and Rauschenberg skated around her, donning parachutes on their backs, which restricted their movement. As seen in Oskar Schlemmer's Glass Dance, Rauschenberg is restricting the body and objectifying it, as it becomes a restriction upon the dancer, Carolyn Brown. However, here, Rauschenberg is also concerned with the environment in which the performance takes place.


The Judson Dance Group

The Judson Dance Group formed in New York City in 1962. It was influenced by the Dancers' Workshop Company which formed in 1955. The founding members were Ann Halprin, Simone Forti, Trisha Brown, Yvonne Rainer, and Steve Paxton. They viewed "dance as a way of life, that use[d] everyday activities such as walking, eating, bathing and touching" (Goldberg 139). Performances were often improvised, and dancers were encouraged to allow their senses to respond to their surrounding environment.

John Cage's 4' 33'

In 1952, Cage would perform his piece 4' 33', in which a performer, in this case, David Tudor, sat at a piano for four minutes and thirty three seconds. Those in attendance come to understand that any noises they make come to create the composition within that time limit and all "noise" was considered music.

Allan Kaprow's 18 Happenings in 6 Parts

In 1959, Allan Kapprow, like John Cage, wished to place more responsibility on the observer. He sent invitations stating, "you will become a part of the happenings; you will simultaneously experience them." This paralleling the simultaneity of the Dada movement. Upon arrival to this mysterious event, "some guests received envelopes containing paper, photos, wood, and other media." There were three rooms in which events were to take place, including some acting. Chairs were placed facing each other, forcing a sort of dialogue. Each happening in each of the rooms was begin and end with the sounding of a bell, and each group would rotate from room to room with some direction. The performance piece was placed on the observers. Kaprow warned, "the actions will mean nothing clearly formulable so far as the artist is concerned." This early happening would influence future events of this nature.


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