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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
, 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
..... Click the link for more information. 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.
..... Click the link for more information. 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.
..... Click the link for more information. ; 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
..... Click the link for more information. (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 (who worked in Europe until 1988 with fellow artist Ulay). 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).