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 (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).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Q Tell us about your exhibition A "Steakhouse" is a piece of performance art taking place at the site of the original Plas Bodfa Steakhouse dining room.
At the same time, one must acknowledge the fact that the installations and performance art are there for the public to see.
The talk took place in the backdrop of a recent exhibition of performance art that took place last week titled "Body Becoming".
Rahman has been at the forefront of new media and performance art in Bangladesh since completing his MFA in painting and drawing at the University of Dhaka in 1993.
Tan said the festival sought to develop the talent of the youths in the arts: 'It is our day to develop skills in the arts.' Prominent social realist Edgar Fernandez, head of the NCCA's Visual Arts Committee, declared that art is for all and, addressing the students, said: 'This is your story which will go beyond visual art and include theater and music.' He defined performance art as 'visual art in time and motion.'
The installations reveal Penaso's more humorous side as he presents a miniature version of his performance art persona from the Stripewalker series, through a toy previously showcased at an earlier exhibit in Secret Fresh.
It was during his time in Paris that Ahmed discovered his love of performance art.
This seven-day intensive workshop is designed to stimulate the creation of new performance art works, and also gives the artists time to connect with one another so they can create a united front.
Le musee national du Bardo, Alger, a abrite, mardi dernier, la 3e edition de l'evenement [beaucoup moins que] Al-Tiba9 [beaucoup plus grand que], devant un public nombreux conquis par cette exposition qui comprend des œuvres de peinture, photographies, urban art, net art, performance art et video-art.
what performance art was; I answered it was pure presence, in real time, without artifice ...
Performing the East: Performance Art in Russia, Latvia and Poland Since 1980

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