performance art

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performance art,

multimedia art form originating in the 1970s in which performance is the dominant mode of expression. Perfomance art may incorporate such elements as instrumental or electronic music, song, dance, television, film, sculpture, spoken dialogue, and storytelling. Its roots lie in early 20th-century modernist experiments with mixed media, particularly in DadaDada
or Dadaism
, international nihilistic movement among European artists and writers that lasted from 1916 to 1922. Born of the widespread disillusionment engendered by World War I, it originated in Zürich with a 1916 party at the Cabaret Voltaire and the
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 performances. The direct antecedent of performance art, however, can be found in the happeningshappening,
an artistic event of a theatrical nature, but usually improvised spontaneously without the framework of a plot. The term originated with the creation and performance in 1959 of Allan Kaprow's "18 Happenings in 6 Parts.
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 of the late 1950s and the 1960s. Among the most obvious differences between the two is that the later movement tends to be much less spontaneous in nature than the earlier and that happenings were almost always created by visual artists, whereas performance artists generally have more varied backgrounds, often in theater, writing, or dance.

Primarily an avant-garde form, performance art is often emotional and topical, frequently dealing with political and personal matters and with such issues as race, class, and feminism. Probably the best-known contemporary American performance artist is Laurie AndersonAnderson, Laurie,
1947–, American performance artist, b. Chicago. Originally a sculptor, she was influenced by Philip Glass and other avant-garde composers in the early 1970s and soon turned to the creation of multimedia performance art.
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; others include Nam June PaikPaik, Nam June
, 1932–2006, Korean-American artist, widely considered the founder of video art, b. Seoul, studied art and music at Tokyo Univ. and in Germany. A performance and conceptual artist, Paik worked beginning in the 1960s mainly with video, integrating visual
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 (also involved earlier with happenings), cellist Charlotte Moorman (whose avant-garde performances began in the 1960s), Michael Smith, Vito Acconci, Carolee Schneeman, Martha Wilson, and Marina Abramovic. Often classified as performance artists are such monologist-writers Eric Bogosian, Spalding Gray, Karen Finley, Anna Deavere Smith, and John Leguizamo. The form enjoyed a widespread revival in the early 21st cent., with museums and galleries restaging works originally created in the 1970s and also presenting new examples of the art.


See G. Battcock and R. Nickas ed., The Art of Performance (1983); M. Roth ed., The Amazing Decade: Women and Performance Art in America, 1970–1980 (1983); R. Goldberg, Performance Art: From Futurism to the Present (1988); H. M. Sayre, The Object of Performance (1989); C. Carr, On Edge: Performance at the End of the Twentieth Century (1993); P. Phelan, Unmarked: The Politics of Performance (1993); and E. Diamond, ed., Performance and Cultural Politics (1996).

References in periodicals archive ?
A street concert by Satin Love Orchestra will be held during that time.
Fans scrambled to get tickets which sold out in seconds and one said: "I am raging that the Vicar Street concert has been cancelled.
The street concert at Mayfair Stores, in Heath, Cardiff, saw the Lewis Merthyr band, children from the Playpen nursery, and local carol singers get the whole community into the spirit of Christmas.
Christy Moore will be joined for the Vicar Street concert on November 10 by his good friends Donal Lunny, Declan Sinnott and Damien Dempsey.
Although he had periodically recorded and toured both solo and with backup musicians throughout the decade, longtime Bruce followers longed for the joy of his E Street concert marathons, shows sparked by the larger-than-life personalities of such players as saxophonist/Springsteen foil Clarence Clemons (``The Big Man''), pianist Roy Bittan (``The Professor'') and the ``Boss'' himself.
Special tickets costing pounds 12 for the Princes Street concert sold like hot cakes.
the food fair will also feature a street concert at sunset and a fireworks display at midnight to commemorate the city's inauguration.
The festival continues today with a street concert, a farewell parade and then the festival will conclude with a fireworks display at 10pm.
The chart-topping Liverpool musician will be playing a career retrospective at the Hope Street concert hall next month.
From hosting a free street concert in the downtown to a media-exclusive barbecue at the new RiverBend Medical Center in Springfield's Gateway area, the city is hoping to show the rest of the country and the world the meaning of Springfield's new slogan, "Proud Past, Bright Future.
Fiorillo said the waiver of his stake in the Main Street concert hall was contingent on his former business partners giving him ownership of the now-defunct Crystal Palace, which he says never happened.
But it is his Vicar Street concert that will be the talk of the showbiz world.